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, July 20, 2013

Fewer hummingbirds this year

As summer heats up, young birds are all around us, some already making their own way in the world beyond their nests, others still learning from their parents the skills they’ll need to survive.

Several customers at Wild Birds Unlimited - East Lansing have inquired about a perceived lack of hummingbirds this season. This can be either good news or bad.

Last year we had an early spring, then a freeze and then a drought and the hummingbirds really found the feeders useful when the wild flowers were dying and the bugs just weren’t available in the heat. Then in 2013 we had a wet spring in mid-Michigan with lots of flowers and bugs available. Hopefully the hummingbirds in the areas where people are reporting lower numbers have just found lots of reliable natural resources and are not frequenting the feeders as much this year.

Hummingbirds need food, shelter and water to survive. Less visits may mean they are finding plenty of food available naturally. However, make sure you don’t use pesticides in your gardens. And remember to change your nectar solution of one part sugar to four parts water with no other additives at least once a week. Plant lots of native flowers to provide nectar and compost your old banana peels and apple cores to attract fruit flies for the hummingbirds to consume. Then keep an eye out for these jewels in your garden.

In July most of the female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have finished nesting and adult males that have defended territories since early spring, leave their hard won territories and female, males and juveniles are all starting their pre-migratory wandering.

Counting the juvenile hummingbirds, numbers in our area should increase and continue to increase through August and September as birds from more northern breeding grounds make their way southward through our area. I usually see my last hummingbird mid-October and take down the feeder Halloween.

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Anonymous said...

Hummingbirds have been visiting my feeder in Laingsburg every day.

Anonymous said...

Not many at feeders but see several taking in the nectar of flowers here in kcmo