Hummingbird Season

Bee Hummingbird

Hummingbirds are native to the Americas and are the smallest of birds with the smallest species being the bee hummingbird, only 2.0 inches in length, and weighs less than 0.07 oz. They are known as hummingbirds because of the humming sound created by their flapping wings. They hover in mid-air at rapid wing-flapping rates, which vary from around 12 per second in the largest species to over 80 in some of the smallest birds. Some can fly in excess of 49 mph.

Many male hummingbirds have bright colors on the head, breast, back, and wings. When the sun hits these feathers they reflect many degrees of intensity. By shifting position, feathers can instantly become bright red or vivid green. In courtship, some males orient their bodies and feathers toward the sun to enhance the display value of their plumage to attract the female.

Rufous Hummingbird

Most North American hummingbirds migrate southward in fall to Central America, Mexico, or the Caribbean. A few are year-round residents of California, Florida, the southwestern desert area of the US. The rufous species breeds farther north than any other hummingbird, breeding in North America and wintering in Florida or the Gulf of Mexico. Some migrate as far north as the Yukon in Canada or southern Alaska, they can tolerate occasional temperatures below freezing.

Hummingbirds eat many insects like mosquitoes, fruit flies, gnats, and spiders. The lower beak of hummingbirds is flexible and can bend up to 25 degrees, making a larger surface for catching insects. Hummingbirds do not spend all day flying, the majority of their activity consists of sitting or perching. Hummingbirds each day eat many small meals and consume around half their weight in nectar or double their weight if the nectar is 25% sugar. Hummingbirds spend an average of 10 to 15% of their time feeding and 75 to 80% sitting.

Hummingbirds visit flowers for food, extracting nectar, which is 55% sucrose, 24% glucose, and 21% fructose. Hummingbirds also take sugar-water from bird feeders providing the birds with a reliable source of energy, especially when flower blossoms are less abundant. White granulated sugar is the best sweetener to use in hummingbird feeders. A ratio of 1-part sugar to 4 parts water, or 25% concentration, is a common recipe.

Organic or “raw” sugar contains iron and can be harmful. Brown sugar, agave syrup, molasses, and artificial sweeteners also should not be used. Honey is made by bees, but it is not good to use in feeders because when it is diluted with water, organisms easily grow in it, causing it to spoil rapidly. Red food dye is unnecessary, and there is no point in adding it to the nectar.

Hummingbirds have exceptional visual acuity giving them very good discrimination of food sources. It is commonly believed that hummingbirds are attracted to color while seeking food, such as red flowers or artificial feeders, but experiments indicate that Hummingbirds depend little on visual cues of flower color, but rather they use surrounding landmarks to find the nectar.

We hope you liked these tidbits about hummingbirds. You might consider putting up a few feeders at your home so you can have fun watching all the varieties that come by for a drink. We have found that when looking for a feeder make sure you get something that is easy to clean. Some have to small of an opening so its hard to clean the bottle. Below are a few of our top picks.

15 thoughts on “Hummingbird Season”

  1. I have four hummingbird feeders out now for them and each year. Sometimes I get “buzzed” by a bird when out where the feeders always hang in the warm months. then I know it is time to put them out. It does make me wonder if the same birds return from the previous year. I don’t know what their life span is but they seem to know the feeders “will be there” for them.

    1. That is so special for u! They are very interesting! I have a nest outside my front door in a small tree! I’m s
      Excited for her! I think she know me by now! Could be anyday! Can’t wait!🐦

  2. The Ruby Throated Humming bird is the only one in our neck of the woods, they are quite territorial and cause quite a stir at my feeders. A very rare Pileated Woodpecker once came by to see what all the fuss was about, she just scratched her red capped crown and flew off, looked back once and gave me a wink!

    1. Little lady Woodpecker decided to visit the feeder, liked the sugar water and became an addict. Sometimes she hangs there so long, the poor Hummingbirds are circling around her and she ignores them.

      1. I have several kinds of hummingbirds in my garden. One built a nest 3 years ago and has added to it when she returns each year. I believe she raised 2 families one year. She built the best in a moving mobile artwork. It’s fascinating to watch mom and dad hurrying back and forth feeding the babies. As she has refreshed the nest, it gets deeper each year and you can see the growth lines – like a tree growing

  3. We were visited by our first hummingbird on May and their meal was waiting. We have seen a good amount now and they continue to enjoy the homemade meal.

  4. I absolutely love watching my Hummingbirds. I call them my babies. I have two feeders. I saw my first one on May 5th, but did not have a feeder up so it settled for my lilac bush. The next day I hung my feeders,, but it did not feed that day as far as I know. I saw it again at my lilac bush. Finally, I now have two. They do not sit as long as they used to and do not come as many times a day. Not sure why – I have blamed it on the Pandemic. LOL Hopefully, they will settle into their normal routine soon as I love watching them,

  5. I have five Hummingbirds and the five feeders are outside my kitchen window. I love when it is time for them to come, I could watch them all the time.

  6. I live in Central NY. Hummers come back here by mid May. I have 2 feeders & the Hummers i have frequent both. One feeder is right outside my kitchen window. When i bring in the feeders to clean & refill, those smart little Hummers get right up in the kitchen window where they can see me & hover as if to say “Hurry Up…I’m waiting!” Cracks me up!

  7. I live in NW Arkansas where we live in the country we have the smallest hummingbirds. They dive boom each other for the feeder. I’m having an issue here in September with bees taking over the feeder! Any remedies to get them to go away?

  8. I have at least 4 that return year after year. I live in Folsom, Louisiana. I have 2 feeders set up …one in back yard and one in the front so they won”t fight over them. Yesterday I was filling one of the feeders and one of the hummingbirds just stayed right beside me humming as I filled it. It did not fear me at all and soon fed from the feeder when I put it back up.
    Ruth W.

  9. I live in San Diego and have 4 feeders. I can have as many as 7 around one feeder at a time. Many varieties of colors. Last year we had a nest with 2 babies. Awesome to watch!!!

  10. I had about 25. All but four left at the end of August. Then two more left and now there is one lone tiny hummer, and it is getting cold. I live in Va. please tell me he will leave.

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