Last of the hummers

alabamanicole(7b)October 2, 2012

Just a few weeks ago, there were hordes of hummers fighting over my feeders and sneaking in while the dominant hummer was chasing someone else away.

This past week or so there seem to be just a few left hanging around and instead of guarding from a nearby tree they just sit on the feeder when they aren't hunting, getting fatter and more tolerant (or lazy) about sharing. The one who "owns" the feeder out back right now looks like a barge and isn't flying very fast.

I'm sure it won't be long now before the last ones take off for the tropics. I'll miss their little chirps as they flirt around, and even the occasional buzzing and scolding for taking too long cleaning and refilling the feeders.

To my surprise, the luffa gourds I planted were a *huge* hit with the hummingbirds this fall. (And the bumble/carpenter bees.) If you like hummers, you might want to find a spot along a fence for some vines.

But the chickadees and titmice are back. I don't know where they go all summer, but their cheerful antics and hungry appetites for insects are welcome.

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catbird(z7 AL)

I heard more than saw a little hummer chirping among my salvias this afternoon. They'll be on their way soon and we'll all miss them.

    Bookmark   October 2, 2012 at 11:56PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Oh I will miss them too. They are one of my fav things about moving to the south. Still getting used to that buzzing noise and am trying to stop yanking my head to look and scaring them away. The plants they like that I have are Lantana, butterfly bush, Zinnias, Cannas, Basil, Coleus, and they often inspect the potted Tradescantia zebrinas on my front porch but, of course, don't find anything there for them.

I'm hesitant to do feeders because there are several weekends per summer when we are not home, and likely anyone who I'd ask do this for us is WITH us. I don't want to artificially increase the available food if I can't reliably provide it every day. Being able to see them at my leisure, my chosen location, and for my amusement doesn't seem like a fair thing to do. Also seems like if they are here anyway, feeders are not needed. Other family members really want to get one though and it's kind of an ongoing discussion, erratic responsibility vs. "it would be so cool!" What are your thoughts about this?

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 11:53AM
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I think real plant nectar is best, but since we've artificially restricted the food supply with habitat destruction, I don't have a problem artificially increasing the food supply. My place still needs a lot more natural nectar sources, but it takes time. They also enjoyed my lantana this year, and by next year my crossvine should be blooming, too. I planted a podded radish in my garden this fall and I was surprised to see one the other day very deliberately hitting each of the blooms.

Personally, I only put out feeders in the fall when they are gearing up for their migration and need it most. I don't know that I would be so faithful cleaning and refilling every 3-4 days if I did it all summer. But they are the best mosquito cure; this is the 2nd year in a row when I've had NO mosquitoes once the feeders go out.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 5:39PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

"NO mosquitoes once the feeders go out. " Hey, that's quite a testimonial! I need to learn more about these cute little birds, thought they only ingested nectar. Thanks for the food for thought.

    Bookmark   October 3, 2012 at 7:51PM
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jcalhoun(8b Mobile County AL)

I had a lot of hummers this year. They went nuts with coral honeysuckle that I have on my iron work.

    Bookmark   October 4, 2012 at 12:53PM
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I know! I still have a few and I will miss them when they disappear for a while. But I still have a lot of stuff, besides the feeders, they are enjoying. Lantana, B&B Salvia, basil, and Navajo Red Salvia. Lots of other stuff I see them flitting around too, but mostly I can spot them at the feeders for sure.

OT, but I have seen other birds apparently in migration, especially a spectacular male rose-breasted grosbeak hanging out at the feeder and birdbath.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 8:55AM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL(8B AL)

Interesting. Wish I knew what the stream of black birds was that flew over my son's soccer game on a recent evening. Packs of 5-100 birds in a steady stream, headed southeast. Took about 5 minutes for the whole "train" to pass. What a cool thing to see!

Do hummers migrate individually or in groups?

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 12:19PM
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Hummingbirds migrate individually, some go over the Gulf and some go the long way around. Such a long way for such a tiny bird.

I see some fun stuff at my birdbath, too, especially when in the middle of summer I see birds waiting in line on the fence to take their turn. But I never felt guiltier than when I was out in the garden after letting it dry out one day and seeing the bees and wasps hover and land in confusion, searching for the water.

I haven't let it dry out since!

    Bookmark   October 5, 2012 at 5:01PM
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I think they are gone... I haven't seen or heard any in days and the levels in the hummingbird feeders aren't dropping more than what seems like evaporation.

Anyone in N AL still seeing any, or is it time to put away the feeders?

    Bookmark   October 19, 2012 at 9:26AM
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I think they are gone too. I filled up my feeders over a week ago. Wasn't home last weekend to really notice but I haven't seen any activity this week. I'm going to leave them out another week just to make sure since the weather has been nice. I still have some things blooming that attract them as well so even if I pull the feeders they will have something to eat.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2012 at 9:20AM
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