where have the hummers gone?

shannynilJune 1, 2009

I've been feeding hummers successfully for 8-10 years. I maintain the feeders religiously. This year the hummers arrived pretty much on schedule - about 6 weeks ago. I've seen 10 or 12 birds at a time at the feeders daily UNTIL 2 days ago. Now they have simply disappeared. The feeders are clean, water is fresh, no ants, no spider webs, no cats, no chemicals. This has never happened before. I am totally without a clue as to what could have happened. Any ideas out there?

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I live in PA. I have had the same problem. I started out with 5 hummers, and now I'm down to 1 little one. I thought this to be a little strange. I cleaned feeder and put fresh water in it again. Still only have the 1. I'm looking for an answer also!! Anyone?

    Bookmark   June 1, 2009 at 11:00PM
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I live in PA - near Hershey and mine are nesting right now so I have a decrease in activity at the feeders except in the morning and evening.

Wild honeysuckle is blooming in PA and they are enjoying that rather than coming to the feeders.

By mid-June they should be returning to you. Keep doing what you are doing and they will return.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 5:26AM
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I had a few semi regulars by me but I think they spend most of their time at the open air nursery a mile away. I will have to wait for their inventory to go down I guess.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2009 at 8:52AM
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Hi, I'm new to Garden Web but came online for the same reason........my hummers have vanished! I am in CA and this began about 2 weeks ago. I have had probably around 50 since early spring at two feeders filling sometimes three times a day. Suddenly......it is just sitting there. I cleaned and changed and still nothing. I hear a few birds chirping up in the trees and see maybe two visiting occasionally but basically they are gone. I remember a reduction last year too but not this dramatic.
I do have honeysuckle blooming now but don't see them there either. A few more flowers in the garden too but ????
Thanks for the notes, makes me feel better, guess I'll just have to be patient and wait until they return....I miss them !!!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 11:56AM
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The hummers could be nesting. They could also be enjoying the food from flowers and trees blooming in the wild. Mimosa trees are dripping nectar here in southeast Alabama and my flowers and feeders can't compete with these trees. Give it some time and you hummingbirds will show up again.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:18PM
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joepyeweed(5b IL)

They are nesting and feeding babies. Hummingbirds actually eat more insects than they do nectar. Right now they need more bugs (protein) than they need nectar.

If you plant flowers that attract insects, you feed the hummers that way also. I see hummers feeding off the coneflowers (which is picking bugs) more than I see them feeding off the nectar plants.

I only have one feeder, but I have tons of insect attracting and nectar producing plants.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2009 at 5:48PM
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We are in Northeast OH and have had very active feeders in the past. This year we saw a decline in the activity around mid-May. For the last three weeks we have not seen one hummingbird. We are at a loss to explain it. Seems to be too long to be sitting on nests.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:49AM
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I think their absence has more to do with natural nectar sources than it does with nesting. The males have no part in nesting, yet I see neither them nor the females while my Tulip Popular trees are blooming.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2009 at 9:51PM
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ctnchpr, I hadn't thought of tulip poplars being nectar sources...have you seen hummers use them? That would be very neat indeed (because I am surrounded by 80-100' tulip poplars!).

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 9:03PM
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I agree with ctnchpr. Before June, my hummers were more interested in the feeders, even though I had blooming Salvia and Honeysuckle available for them. But in June they want my blooming plants as much as the feeders. The hummers didn't go away because we have been in drought for years here, and my blooming plants beat what they can find in nature.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2009 at 10:40PM
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mb, I've never seen hummers at the Tulip Poplar blooms (mine are 80-100' too, with dense crowns), but the TP is listed under "Shrubs and Trees for a Hummingbird Garden" in the booklet Enjoying Hummingbirds More published by Bird Watchers Digest. The rest is Sherlock Holmes deduction: the hummers' disappearance/reappearance coincides with the TP bloom, and there's nothing else blooming in the woods during that period that could sustain a large group of hummers.

This is a pic of the lower trunk of a Tulip Poplar sapling in my creek bottom, with a 5 gallon bucket to lend scale. It's about a 100 footer, probably 60' to the lowest limb. How much nectar can that thing put out!!? It my baby, I hug it often...

    Bookmark   June 21, 2009 at 11:12PM
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I can pretty much tell the same story as others, had a few hummers early and then it seemed late may early june I didnt see any for a couple of weeks which was odd for my territory. Right now I have nice collection of hummers in my yard every day. I truly wonder if its the same hummers that come back to your yard every year or is it always a different group.

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 1:12AM
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anita55(zone 6 NY)

I wasn't aware that my Tulip Poplar would be good for the hummingbirds. That is wonderful news since I had some on my property as well. I had read that they are not sturdy trees and may not be long-lived. Do you have information about that? Thanks

    Bookmark   June 22, 2009 at 11:15AM
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