Flowers are beginning to bloom and hummingbirds are starting to return. Here is an excellent article from Audubon.org as well as resources to be able to identify bird-friendly plants to grow. If you want to put out feeders, mix your own nectar recipe:
1 part plain, white sugar to 4 parts water. Don’t add any dyes or artificial ingredients. Use boiling water and shake it up until the sugar is completely dissolved. Once cooled, if you fill it, they will come!
By Geoff LeBaron, audubon.org; As warmer weather approaches, multitudes of migrant birds are on track for arrival in North America. Among them are those favorite avian gems, hummingbirds. The spring arrival—or year-round presence—of hummingbirds in yards varies across the country, but current studies point out some new potential challenges to migrating hummingbirds, such as changing bloom times of nectar plants and an earlier arrival of spring on their wintering and breeding grounds. Here we’ve’ gathered general guidelines to current hummingbird migration patterns for various sections of the country, as well some tips on the different feeding strategies you can use to attract them to your yard. Additionally, you can also learn more about how to help hummingbirds below.
Over most of the eastern two-thirds of North America, from central Canada southward, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird reigns supreme. Predominantly a neotropical migrant, it winters from southern Mexico to Costa Rica. Each spring, this species arrives in numbers along the Gulf Coast by early March, filtering northward over the next two months until arriving in northern states and southern provinces by late April or early May. Migrating males usually arrive a week or so before females at any given location. Climate change is affecting the migration of Ruby-throats, though. As conditions warm on the wintering grounds, data indicate that they leave their winter homes earlier on their way to the Gulf Coast. Interestingly, it also appears that hummingbirds then hang around in the Gulf Coast for longer than normal, perhaps to recuperate from their trip across the Gulf of Mexico.
Not sure which hummingbird you have? Download our free Audubon field guide app to find out.
Migrating hummingbirds start to visit flowering plants and nectar feeders in March and usually stick around through May. To have resources ready for northward migrants in regions where hummingbirds are absent in the winter, it’s best to put nectar out by early March if you live in the Southeast, and by late April if you live in the Northeast.
Cover Photo by Friend’s Member, Paula Lomasney