I was shocked last week when the migration maps showed the hummingbirds had arrived five weeks earlier than normal in Michigan. The good weather encouraged some males to race ahead to claim the best breeding territories. Now the cold weather has stopped the birds in their tracks.
However, the early birds should be alright. Healthy Ruby-throated hummingbirds can tolerate nights in the teens easily as long as there are bugs, blooms and feeders available. During the night, hummers will enter into a state of torpor to save energy. Similar to a type of short-term hibernation, torpor reduces their metabolic activity and drops their heart rate from 1,200 beats per minute to 50 beats per minute.
What can you do to help the early hummers? Don't wait to hang your feeders until after you see hummingbirds. I have had many customers report that the ruby-throats are in the area. The standard 1:4 white sugar and water solution won't start to freeze unless nights drop below about 27 degrees Fahrenheit, and even a slushy feeder is better than none at all.
You can also leave all the spider webs you see outside alone for the hummers to pick clean and encourage fruit flys to your garden by tossing in old banana peels. The banana peels break down rapidly and fertilize the garden with important macro-nutrients plants need and attract small flys for the hummers to eat.
- How Many Species of Hummingbirds are There in Michigan? http://bit.ly/GYGEVB
- Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder? http://bit.ly/FQ9kxU
- What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://bit.ly/H7xvp3
- How to Stop Your Hummingbird Feeder from Dripping. http://bit.ly/yROgU5
- How Do I Keep Bees Off My Hummingbird Feeder? http://bit.ly/Aj07oq