The Hummingbird Journey

We’re eager for the arrival of our ruby-throated hummingbirds in New Hampshire and we are keeping a close eye on the hummingbird spring migration map online.  Each week citizen scientists log in to the site and record their sightings that are reflected with dates on the map each week in a different color. The little birds have a long way to go before they reach our home in New Hampshire. But we are ready. Our feeders are clean and ready to be hung outdoors. Nectar rich flowers will fill the gardens… plus a variety of insects (NO  pesticides in our gardens). Have you seen a hummingbird chase down and eat a mosquito? I have.

Hummingbird Journey North 2017

In New Hampshire we attract just 4-6 hummingbirds over the summer. I like that number. In Virginia, that number was much more impressive, so much so that it was more economical for me to buy sugar from Costco in 25-lb. bags. Was it a full-time job keeping feeders clean, making nectar and keeping them well-fed with 8 feeders?  Almost!  Would I do it again?  In a heartbeat! They are the most entertaining little visitors in the garden.

Here is a feeding frenzy of females and young males (yes…with white throats!) on our nectar the morning after a hurricane passed through our Virginia property. It took a hurricane to bring them all to the feeders at one time. It was the end of August and most of the adult males with their red throats had migrated.

We do not add red dye to the nectar. It is not needed. The base of feeders are red enough and, besides, why mix in a chemical additive that may affect the tiny birds?

We wash our feeders regularly and make sure nectar is fresh… especially when temperatures are very hot or a feeder may be in the sun. It’s a bit work but the perks of enjoying these birds in the garden outweigh the small amount of energy it takes to maintain the almost perfect hummingbird habitat.

Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 thoughts on “The Hummingbird Journey

  1. Love the map. Now I’d like some advice. Where do you have the best luck in putting your feeder? We see them once in a while, but I’d certainly be willing to do the work if I could figure out where is the right place to put the feeder. I’ve tried on an arbor in direct sun and sometimes that works. I’ve tried on a hanger in some shade, and that didn’t work at all. So, tell me what works for you? Please. 🙂

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    • Honestly, I find location really doesn’t matter too much. Once a hummer finds your feeder, it will return. I do keep the nectar very fresh to avoid mold. And it seems to stay fresher in shade or filtered shade. Just make sure you can see the feeders from your window for maximum enjoyment!

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  2. Sure hope they wait a bit for the snow to be gone! Usually they show up at my feeders by the end of April. And I have read that putting the feeders above nectar rich flowers helps draw them in. But mine seem to remember where the feeders have been and if i move one they scold me when they first arrive.

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    • Yes, our first feeder will be hung by then. The first summer in Exeter, I was outdoors misting my house plants with the hose when our first visitor flew into the mist for a little shower. It was then I hung the feeder. Food and water. He decided to stay.

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  3. Great little video of the hummingbird “swarm”! I have not yet taken photos of hummingbirds, but my friend has regular visitors – so pretty soon I intend to get some shots of these amazing little ones.

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