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where are the hummingbirds?

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  • where are the hummingbirds?

    I had a very active hummingbird presence last year, and couldn't wait for the same to occur this year. I have a vast garden with many plants known to attract these birds... Columbine, Phlox, Penstemon, Trumpet Vine, Cardinal Vine, Cypress Vine, Monarda, Pentas, Lobelia, etc. I started hanging my hummingbird feeder in April .( I live in zone 6 and wanted to be sure not to miss them.) I keep it meticulously clean, and change the food every 2-3 days... EVERY day when it is extremely hot! My recipe is 4:1 , water to sugar. I have seen them several times since I hung the feeder; actually, I saw the first one in late April. But now, I do not see them for periods of time... and only infrequently. It is now July 11th, and I haven't spotted one for days!! I am able to observe my feeders/garden a lot during the day, since I have a great view of it. What is happening to them? Where are they this year? Anybody have any knowledge or explanation of this? I really am a "bird person" and am sooo disappointed in their absence! It really makes my day when I see them. Looking forward to some feedback.

  • #2
    I have found that some years 'my' hummers don't seem to be around much.* This year they appeared very late.* I usually put up my feeders on April 1st and they appear by the 10th.* I didn't see any hummers until mid May this year.* The year after Katrina many folks were saying that they didn't see any or just a few or they were late to appear.*

    Another thought that comes to mind is they eat insects and feed them to their young.* If you or your neighbors are spraying and killing the insects, they will go elsewhere even when there are nectar sources like your feeders and flowers.* This site has some interesting facts about hummers, especially the ruby throated one.
    http://www.rubythroat.org/default2.html

    You might also find these sites interesting.
    http://www.hummingbirdworld.com/h/migrate.htm#by-state
    http://www.hummingbirds.net/
    http://www.learner.org/jnorth/unpave/hummer.html

    Newt

    Newt


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    • #3
      Thank you Newt,
      I got a lot of information from you and the links you recommended. Maybe they WILL return more frequently after their fledglings leave the nest. I hope so...
      Blanche

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      • #4
        Blanche, you are so very welcome!* I do hope they return.*

        Newt

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        • #5
          Hello, I am new to this site, but I have been around for a long time.* I live in zone 9 and have had hummers every year.* This year I have mainly had only 1 pair, but recently have had 6, 8, or 10 for just a day or 2 and then I am back to my pair.* Could it be that some have started the migration earlier than usual?*

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          • #6
            KDG, there are several reasons you may not be seeing your hummers on a regular basis.* I suspect that something is in bloom that attracts them more then the feeders.* It could also be a situation of the parents showing their young other sources of food.* Males tend to migrate first so the males may have started their journey already. To see if migration has started in your area (you don't say where you live) you can check the link I gave to bjames for what are the patterns in your state or Canada at the bottom of the page.

            This site about their migration should also be helpful.
            http://www.hummingbirds.net/migration.html

            Newt

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            • #7
              Where we are i dont believe that humming birds have been around for a while,atleast,not in any significant numbers but the reasons could be that there is too much noise from the highway and the admission (polution) coming off vehicles passing by with condensed or heavier traffic in the area and/or chemicals being used on avian attracting plants and/or a combination of known or unknown scenarios.

              Insects (nice ones) are not in any significant numbers ether. :(

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              • #8
                Natural Cat, it saddens me to read this.* You must be near a busy road or highway.* Planting a diversity of plants will attract more insects.* Planting plants that have 'landing pads' will attract beneficial insects.* Those would be plants with flat tops to their blooms and simple flowers, not the doubles.* Tubular shaped flowers and red or purple flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

                Newt

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                • #9
                  Newt wrote:
                  Natural Cat, it saddens me to read this.* You must be near a busy road or highway.* Planting a diversity of plants will attract more insects.* Planting plants that have 'landing pads' will attract beneficial insects.* Those would be plants with flat tops to their blooms and simple flowers, not the doubles.* Tubular shaped flowers and red or purple flowers will attract butterflies and hummingbirds.

                  Newt
                  Thank You,newt, for the suggestions on the types of plants for bug and hummingbirds,the information will be helpful on the next planting.

                  I ordered some ladybugs/lacewings/mantis for release and that should up the insect diversity somewhat. :D

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                  • #10
                    Natural Cat, you are so very welcome!* If you scroll down about halfway on this page you will see a list of plants that will attract beneficials and pics of the insects.
                    http://habitat.ms11.net/bee/beneficial.htm

                    Spined solder bugs are also good predators even though they look like they wouldn't be a friend in the garden.
                    http://www.ent.iastate.edu/imagegal/...ldier_bug.html

                    Here's pics of more beneficials.* Be sure to look at the larval stages too.* I found a ladybeetle aka lady bug larvae on my arm yesterday.* I tenderly put it on a plant.* :)
                    http://www.uidaho.edu/so-id/entomolo...al_Insects.htm

                    Newt

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                    • #11
                      I saw hummingbirds last year about every day in my garden in Ohio. I tried my best to get a good photo but was not successful. They were too fast for me! I'm going to try again this year.

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                      • #12
                        I live in Baja California Norte about an hour south of San Diego in a small village. Between my garden, and my next door neighbors hummingbird feeders we have dozens of hummingbirds almost all the time. They do thin out a bit in the winter, but are with us pretty much year round. They are extremely territorial, and I have one that has staked out my one and only feeder. His name is Mr. Meany, or just His Meaness for short. Even when he's not feeding he won't let another hummingbird get close. If one tries then there's a squabble, and a chase scene. I've practically stopped watching TV in the day, and spend allot of time on the deck just watching the dog fights. It's very easy to become attached to these guys, and I want to make my garden even more hummingbird friendly. My daughter came to visit me recently and took some photos of the hummingbirds feeding and fighting. Here's a few feeding shots.
                        Attached Files
                        Last edited by Deepwater805; 09-17-2010, 02:06 AM.

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