You know how I love my hummingbirds, so I’d begun to get concerned. I put my feeders out in the spring and looked forward to sighting my “usual suspects” enjoying the lovingly prepared nectar. Alas, nothing. No visitors. Some time passed, I changed the food out faithfully, and, finally, one of the precious little ruby-throats showed up. Hooray!!!
Days turned into weeks, and, still, just my one little friend came by, and only occasionally. I had gotten used to at least several of the little charmers flitting and fluttering and chasing each other around. “How do I know it was the same and only one?” you may ask. I dunno how I know. I just do. After several years of hosting, I feel I can tell one from another, and this teeny one kept coming back all by itself. I’m sure having no competition was nice for a while, but it had to get kinda lonely and I was getting nervous. After all, with the changes in the environment, climate and the like, not to mention the Coronavirus, well…
I got busy and did some research. I found an article at the Perkypet website. They’ve been making bird houses and doing the bird thing since 1958:
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology in Ithaca, NY, is a terrific reference on all things birding, and they had this to say about the hummingbirds, “As you know, bird populations can fluctuate considerably from year to year. Only if this trend were to persist on a much wider scale for multiple years would it likely indicate a larger problem for the species. It is also true that what is happening in one location isn’t necessarily indicative for the species overall.”
Made me feel better.
According to Emily Gonzalez, UT/TSU Extension and Marcia L. Davis, UT/TSU Extension Master Gardener in their publication, Hummingbird Gardening In Tennessee:
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Calendar
Typically, you will attract the most hummers into your yard during midsummer after young hummingbirds fledge and during fall migration when people see large numbers of ruby-throats at nectar-bearing flowers and hummingbird feeders. Fewer hummers are seen in spring.
By understanding the annual activity cycle of ruby-throats, you can create a flower garden emphasizing nectar-bearing hummingbird plants that bloom and attract the most hummers during the two migration periods: spring and midsummer through early fall. These are the two periods when the most hummingbirds will visit your yard, and providing an abundance of nectar during these times will help keep them well fed.
SPRING MIGRATION: Late March Through Mid-May
The earliest spring migrants arrive in Tennessee by late March. Though many people may not see their first hummingbird until about the second week in April, the migrants will continue to pass through until approximately mid-May. The timing of migration is why it is important to put hummingbird feeders up by April 1 each year.
So, it seems I’ve been doing the right things. Maybe I’ve just been a bit overanxious. I have actually seen another ruby-throat buzzing around. They chase each other around and I sometimes wonder how either gets sufficient nourishment, but the feeders do empty out. All of this information made me think, however. The maintenance crew at my condo has been doing some major “pruning” and, even, in my opinion, indiscriminate tree removal. They’ve been adjusting for the internet the association put into service last year and some condos have had problems using it. So sad. I don’t use that service so it’s not an issue for me, but the crew has been doing some major tree hacking.
More from Hummingbird Gardening In Tennessee:
Fall migration is when you will see the most hummingbirds. The population is greatest in late summer because of the addition of recently hatched young birds. Each successful nest usually produces two young hummers.
Hummingbirds must constantly replenish their fat reserves during migration. They feed heavily on flower nectar and sugar water from feeders as they continue on their journey. Planting a garden with lots of nectar rich hummingbird favorites that bloom during this period will attract migrants.
In contrast to spring when migrating hummers pass through an area quickly because they’re in a hurry to get to the breeding grounds, fall migration is more leisurely and stretched out over a longer period of time. This means better hummingbird watching with more birds. Migrant hummer numbers often peak between mid-August and early September in Tennessee.
Jan is a singer, a songwriter, a licensed body worker specializing in CranioSacral Therapy, and a teacher. She is an advocate for the ethical treatment of ALL animals and a volunteer with several animal advocacy organizations. She is also a staunch believer in the need to promote environmental responsibility.
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