About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Where have my Hummingbirds gone?

Every year I normally just see 1 humming bird but this year she has been coming to the feeder regularly. My father in law passed away on May 16, she was coming to the feeder every hour during that week, on that Thursday my father in law was cremated, and she appeared at the feeder at 1 pm and stayed for a long time. This was also the exact same time my father in law was being cremated. She has never been back since. ~ Diane

I’m sorry for your loss. I hope the hummingbird gave you some comfort.

It’s not unusual to have hummingbirds disappear from your feeders for a time. After their long migration, hummers are hungry and appreciate an easy meal to rebuild their energy fast. Feeders become very handy in the spring when natural resources are scarce. However soon a lot more food sources become available and the females begin to nest.

If a Ruby-throat nests near your feeder she may appreciate quick bites to eat while incubating eggs but hummingbirds’ visits to distant feeders may become less frequent. If the activity at your feeder has stopped, however, you should still continue to clean your hummingbird feeders twice a week and change the nectar.

When the chicks hatch, they need lots of protein, so their mother spends a lot time foraging for small insects and spiders. But after the chicks leave the nest, mommas will bring these newly fledged hummers to feeders and you can watch them check out everything to see if it is food.

July, August, Sept and Oct are actually the best months to watch hummingbirds at feeders just as natural food sources begin to decline. Also in the middle of July, males begin to wander widely, and some are already heading south. So, before you know it you'll have hungry southbound migrants to feed!

Hummingbirds have to bulk up for the journey south by feasting on aphids, spiders and especially nectar. To survive the long flight, they need to increase their weight to about 2 pennies or about 1/5 of an ounce. Migration continues through the middle of October so there are plenty of opportunities to see hummers feeding.

The migration south is a more leisurely trip than the race north. So you may see new hummers at your feeder for a couple weeks before they catch a good wind to move further south.

So please be patient and keep your feeders clean and fresh.


Anonymous said...

we live neer Anderson,sc. We had a few hummers eariy on,they stayed for two weeks and then they were gone. what do we have to do to get them baqck?

Humingbirds said...

Not a city dweller but we have a couple of hummers this year. They're still feeding daily. More like ten or twelve summered at our house last year. Numbers are down this year because of the really dry summer last year. That decimated the flying insect population. According to a bird man much more knowledgeable than me- No bugs to eat, equals no hummers for Henry's Thanksgiving Day feast.

Mary Lindaman said...

This is comforting. we had a busy time at our feeders for a while and now have seen little of the hummers. Figured they were nesting. I have kept the feeders clean and have fresh nectar in them to am hoping they will show up again.