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.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

How to Feed Hummingbirds After Labor Day

We had lots of questions on feeding hummingbirds this week: ..

Am I supposed to take down my feeder on Labor Day?
Male Ruby-Throated hummingbird (Archilochus co...Image via WikipediaI would leave hummingbird feeders up until at least the end of September. In mid-Michigan, you can leave your feeder up until mid-October weather permitting.
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The rule of thumb is if you haven't seen a hummingbird for two weeks in the fall it's safe to take your feeder down. Depending on where you live it is usually at the end of September to the middle of October. The hummingbirds aren't in as big a rush to go down south as they were to find nesting grounds in the spring but they will leave us whether there is a feeder up or not.
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Do I make the nectar recipe stronger to give them more energy?
It's not necessary to make your sugar solution stronger. The 4:1 ratio is the closest to the favorite flowers that hummingbirds visit. That would be four parts water to one part plain white sugar.
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Male Ruby-throated HummingbirdImage by VonShawn via FlickrDo I make the sugar solution weaker to encourage them to leave?
I would continue to feed the hummingbirds the same nectar solution until they are fat enough to move further south. Don't rush them. Let them leave when they have enough energy and the weather is favorable.
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Where do they spend the winters?
Most Ruby-throated Hummingbirds winter in southern Mexico, Central America, South America, and the West Indies. A few remain along the Gulf coast and on the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
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5 comments:

Simon said...

Very timely info. Thanks!
Si

naturalgrrl said...

Thanks for sharing. I saw a female rubythroat today at my folks' cottage in the Bruce Peninsula, Ontario, Canada. She came to the feeder I had just refilled!

Dee said...

I've had one (or maybe two) at my feeder today in Oxford, MI.

Dee said...

I know this is the michigan site, but do any hummingbirds stay in Texas through the winter?

Wild Birds Unlimited Mid-Michigan said...

Texas is a huge state with a variety of climates. The local Audubon society can tell you specifically what birds are found in a certain areas.

Black-chinned Hummingbirds and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds can nest in central Texas and overwinter in certain areas.

Species that don’t nest in Texas but spend time there are:

Calliope Hummingbird form July - January
Broad-tailed Hummingbird from July - October, rare November - May
Lucifer Hummingbird is more likely seen in western counties from June - October
Buff-bellied Hummingbird is rare
Blue-throated Hummingbird is found more likely in western counties from April, May, and July - November
Rufous Hummingbird is seen more frequently from late August through early March
Anna's Hummingbird is a winter nester in west Texas

Hummingbirds that are rarely seen in Texas are:

Green Violet-ear from May - September
Violet-crowned Hummingbird in October
Broad-billed Hummingbird in April and July
White-eared Hummingbird in July and August
Costa's Hummingbird in February and March
Allen's Hummingbird from July - February