Sipping On That Sweet Nectar
Put out a feeder and they will come. Hummingbirds remember a reliable food source—even from year to year. That results in having some very loyal returning pollinators. And, who doesn’t love the beauty of the hummingbird. My feeder was host to 2-4 hummingbirds this fall and early winter.
Hummingbirds can be found in some parts of North America all year long. You might have heard that leaving a feeder up year-round will prevent hummingbirds from migrating in the fall. This is a myth.
Hummingbirds migrate in response to hormonal changes, which are triggered by decreasing length of daylight; nothing you can do will make them stay too long, so it’s not necessary to stop feeding them to force them to go south. In fact, they will need to fatten up to nearly double normal body weight to survive the journey, so they will appreciate that backyard feeder up until literally the last minute.
Sometimes an individual bird can’t migrate on schedule, due to illness or injury: these late migrants in particular will appreciate having a reliable source of food at a time when few natural flowers are still in bloom.
Next up, what, where, when and how.