• A male ruby-throated hummingbird. (Photo: Michelle Lynn Reynolds)

Spring is on its way, and that means excitement for Canada's hummingbird enthusiasts. The ruby-throated hummingbird is heading north. How far north? Well according to a crowd-sourced tracking map the birds have just begun dipping into southern Ontario.

Volunteer-run hummingbirds.net collects 'first bird reports' from birders all across the hummingbird's northern migration, so that it's possible to follow the birds as they move through their breeding range (from southern Canada to Florida.)

The sightings are submitted online with the help of a quick and to-the-point form. The end result is a clear monthly breakdown of sightings, with yearly data going back to 1996.

The ruby-throated hummingbird is one of our smallest hummingbirds, and intensely inquisitive. The species' name is more appropriate for the male; the female has a white breast instead of a red patch. Most spend winters around Mexico, Central America, and the Caribbean islands, after a non-stop, 18-20 hour crossing of the Gulf of Mexico.

Want to add your hummingbird observations to the map? This article provides some tips on attracting ruby-throated hummingbirds.