The fall hummingbird migration still has feeders popping! With most of the male Ruby Throats already in tow, females and babies are seeing less competition for nectar. They’re looking a bit plumper too as they prepare for the southward journey.
It’s pretty wild that even juveniles who’ve never made the trip, instinctively know to move south for winter – because they don’t follow mama and they don’t fly in flocks! The dwindling hours of daylight is their signal.
Nectar can be a little stronger this time of year as extra calories serve the birds well… they’re literally on a mission! So leave your window hummingbird feeder up, even if you don’t see anymore birds at the moment. Stragglers from the north may find an oasis at your place if fresh food is available for re-fueling.
To get an idea of the September-October migration, head on over to fall hummingbird migration (learner.org) and click the map to left. You can even submit your own comments about hummingbird activity at your place. Considered Citizen Science, the data greatly helps in tracking the tiny sprite’s movement.
If by chance you have a basin style window feeder, consider using it year-round for resident birds. Not filled with nectar, but mealworms, shelled peanuts, suet crumbles or similar. Remove the lid and your left with an ideal feeding tray!
We took an old plastic hummingbird feeder that started to leak (after a run through the dishwasher) and placed dried meal worms inside and hung from a branch. It was an instant hit with bluebirds, chickadees, titmice and warblers! Sure beats tossing a perfectly good feeder in the trash, huh? 🙂
Above all, leave at least one hummingbird feeder up for stragglers. There’s even documentation that some hummers stay year-round… in NC and even further north in MA. It’s a total myth that leaving feeders up will keep the birds from leaving… Mother Nature provides them with keen instincts far and beyond that of any two-legged creature!