From Spring-Fall, we're flocked with Black-chinned and Ruby-throated hummingbirds. The Black-chinned begin arriving in March. A generous number stay through summer to breed and rear young, sometimes as many as three clutches. Many linger into fall to tank up for flights to Mexico and Central America.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds pause in the Hill Country in spring and fall on the way to and from distant breeding and wintering grounds.
But in the last decade, a noticeable number of Rufous hummingbirds have begun to overwinter in our region. For four years running a young male would arrive at our flowers and feeders in mid-December.
Why? Maybe the young guys couldn't migrate without more bulk, or wanted to be first in line to get back to far-away breeding grounds. Maybe our winters have been warmer than average. And maybe more people are creating gardens and keeping feeders out for hummingbirds.
|Adult Rufous hummingbird|
This year we abandoned the scorch of Texas summer sun for some time in Colorado. Pagosa Springs--a cute historical town on the San Juan River among the San Juan Mountains. I knew I'd miss my Black-chinned hummingbirds at home...but the chance for cool days and mountain air was too enticing.
What I didn't know was that we'd arrive during Rufous hummingbird migration. We'd see males and females, juveniles and adults flocking to the feeder hanging on our deck. We were privy to diving and chattering and aerial wars of ownership. One female perched above the feeder, claiming it as private property.
It was so much fun, I'm sharing a few seconds of pure winged happiness with you too.
Copyright 2009-2017 Kathleen Scott, for Hill Country Mysteries. Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.