March 2024

Hummingbirds depend on flower nectar, a food resource that is highly variable in time and space, as their main source of energy. In the rugged topography of the Andes Mountains, movement across elevations and between ecosystem types could enable hummingbirds to follow flowering pulses. However, the difficulty of tracking hummingbirds has so far resulted in scarce knowledge about their movement patterns, limiting management to effectively protect landscapes for these key pollinators. In this study, we used two decades of citizen science records to predict monthly species distributions. Our findings reveal widespread intra-annual shifts in elevation and ecosystem type by hummingbirds in the region. This, taken together with a positive association between ecosystem seasonality and decreasing populations, highlights the need to ensure ecological connectivity across mountainous ecosystems to protect animal movement. Photo by Cristina Rueda-Uribe.

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