Monday, March 16, 2015

Hang out your feeders--spring hummingbird migration is on!

Male black-chinned hummingbird.
For the last four years, our first Spring hummers flew in March 10th



Black-chinned males first, always. The guys want an early start to stake out territory. They know that the boys with the best turf get the girls.




We might have seen the front-runners a little earlier than other folks in our south-central Texas range because hummingbirds return to places they've found food in the past. 




Our feeders stayed out through the cold season, catering to over-wintering rufous hummers.

Rufous hummingbird.

And our gardens included hummingbird-habitat with early blooms such as native Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens).



Black-chinned females follow later, usually by at least two weeks.



The feeders do more than offer a rest-stop; quick energy can be the difference between life and death for early arrivers encountering wet and cold.

Copyright 2009-2015 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.

8 comments:

  1. I put out 2 feeders today and I live in Cedar Park.

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  2. Do you have any trouble with ants and the feeders? Would it be better to just use hummingbird plants or use both to attract the little fliers?

    Thanks

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  3. Rochelletx--congratulations! Would love to know when you see your first hummer.

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  4. Crybrug--we use ant-cups. Red plastic cups with a hook at the top and one at the bottom, fill with water and hang between your post and your feeder. The ants crawl down the hook but can't cross the water.

    You'll attract more birds if you combine feeders and habitat plants. A mister is a bonus to bringing in birds. Here's a post with some plants that work in Central TX plus a link to an article with many more: http://www.hillcountrymysteries.com/2012/07/creating-hummingbird-hotspot.html

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  5. This is so GREAT! Mine have not shown up yet--I can always hear them--but perhaps I'll put the feeder up this weekend!

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  6. This is what reading local blogs can be all about. I haven't heard any hummers but reading that three different spots all around me are claiming first visitors for the year I know to put my feeders out anyway.

    Cart/horse with feeders and sightings. We're going ahead with the buffet and see what happens!

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  7. Wow Kathleen, I love your photos!

    I had planted one of those native honeysuckles a while back and it really didn't do anything.

    I didn't know it was an early bloomer and was surprised when it started blooming a few weeks ago.

    Haven't seen any hummers yet though -- think I'll mix up some sugar water and hanger a feeder or two as well.

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  8. I had a few in March and now nothing. It is a very strange year. Other friends in San Antonio say they are wondering where they are?!

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My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.