Hummingbirds in Florida? Part 2

beckygardener(9b/10a)September 15, 2012

The original thread has gotten quite long, so thought I would start a new thread. This thread is a continuation of:

I wanted to post some information about hummingbirds in Florida on this new thread:

There have been 11 different species of hummingbird sightings confirmed in Florida: Ruby-throated (being the most common), Rufous, Allen's, Black-chinned, Calliope, Bahama Woodstar, Buff-bellied, Anna's, Broad-billed, Broad-tailed, and White-eared Hummingbirds.

There are at least two different Ruby-throated hummingbird populations: There are the south-bound hummingbirds migrating into/through the state in the Fall/Winter and the Spring migrating hummingbirds heading north through the state in the Spring. These different populations have been sighted throughout Florida from the east coast to the west coast, from the northern part of the state down to the Keys! There is less data about any of the other hummingbird species sighted in Florida.

There are also some breeding Ruby-throated hummingbird populations during the Spring/Summer months sighted from central Florida up through north Florida. The breeding females and juvenile birds migrate in the Fall/Winter. Sightings info can be reported on the Florida Hummingbird Forum.

This forum was created to collect specifically Florida hummingbird sightings data to provide a better awareness of the possibilities in Florida. Much is still unknown. More reports are needed. It would be great to hear from more folks who see hummers from south Florida and the Keys. ALL reports in Florida are appreciated and it gives all of us a better understanding of what is going on with the birds sighted here in our state!

There has been no proof to suggest that there are any non-migratory, resident Ruby-throated hummingbirds (RTHs) in Florida. So if you seem to have RTHs year round, it is likely different birds in Spring/Summer and Fall/Winter. Over-lap of migrating bird sightings are very possible.

Whether or not you see any hummers anytime during the year in Florida depends on if you have food and shelter to offer them and how long it takes for them to find you. I am a firm believer that if you plant it, they will come! Well-kept feeders are another very enticing way to attract them. Having both feeders and nectar plants as well as large trees for shelter are some of the necessities they will be looking for. If you have a good habitat, you may very well host one or more winter hummers that will hang around your area and frequent your yard for a season or two. The summer breeding birds typically don't nest near homes. Ruby-throated hummers often nest in trees near bodies of water (which offers protection from predators). But there may be exceptions.

For hummingbird feeders, this is the recommended ingredients:

Non-colored sugar water which you can make using the ratio of 4 cups of water to 1 cup of white sugar. (Do NOT use honey, powdered sugar, brown sugar, or any other sweetener!) I personally recommend bottled "spring" water which can be purchased by the gallon at most grocery stores. Feeders should be thoroughly cleaned and fresh sugar water changed out every 2-3 days during the hot months and every 3-4 days during the colder months. Most of the sugar water will be wasted as you will probably only get a few birds using it. Here in Florida, lots of hummers swarming a feeder is rare. If your feeders are not properly maintained, the birds will not use them. It is a commitment to maintain clean and healthy feeders, but well worth it once the birds find you! It took me over 2 years to attract them to my yard all the while maintaining feeders every few days.

I am on the east coast of central Florida (city of Sebastian) and keep my feeders up year round. I have hummers all year except for two weeks/a month during the late summer when the Spring/Summer breeding RTHs leave and the Fall/Winter migrating hummers have yet to arrive. I truly believe it is because I have a good habitat in and around my yard and hang feeders that encourage them to stick around. I believe that the undeveloped woodland river areas in my town also contribute to the presence of breeding birds in summer!

The only species I've seen in my yard has been the Ruby-throated hummingbirds. But just this past week, I had the good fortune to witness a confirmed young female Rufous or Allen's hummingbird. There was no way to confirm for sure which bird species it was because the females of both species are very, very similar in appearance. It would probably require the ID to be made by a certified hummingbird bander, unless I was extremely lucky to get a very good close-up of her spread out tail feathers.

Typically, many of the birds will return to their season sites, so once you start getting them, you'll likely see them the following year unless they don't survive or the habitat changes in your area. (The removal of wooded areas and large trees may have a negative affect on new and returning birds.) Also weather conditions (such as hurricanes) can also affect their return.

If you sincerely want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, persistence and commitment is the key! Provide a good habitat and in time I'm quite sure you will see your first bird! The wait is well worth it!!!! Good luck to all current and future hummingbird hosts!

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Traffic has picked up in the last couple of weeks. I have seen probably 3 different adult males, an immature male, and at least 1 or 2 females. One was even a left leg banded male RT.

In past years I have hosted over winter an immature female Rufous who has returned two more winters. I know this as she was banded in 2010. I had an immature male Rufous spend the winter and I am in hopes he will return this one. I have had several other male/female immature Rufous come through on their way south. They stay a few days to a week then leave. Lots of Ruby-throated come through and I have had some stay the winter. My first year (2010), I had 3 that were around all the time. Joe has as many as a dozen or more at times and he has the record with the Allens in 2010 and he had a Calliope a few years before that.

I wish it were so that we could get some of the summer birds banded so we know if they are the same ones that are in the winter. We are lucky here to have Fred come band in Jan. as we have several in a short distance who have birds and we are near to Steve who hosts the site you mentioned. We have one gal here in Lakeland who has had birds continously for the last two years. She generally has a female, even in the breeding months.

Hope you continue to have good luck with your birds. They are so amazing.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2012 at 9:02PM
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Even though I am new to this forum I have been following it for a few months now. I live in a small condominum complex on the ground floor in Largo which is in Pinellas county in west central Florida. I've lived here for about two and a half years now and decided this past spring to plant a few flowers to give our place some color. Originally I wasn't gardening for hummingbirds, but after talking to one of my neighbors that has been here for some years told me that a few years ago when the bottlebrush tree just off my porch (my complex is full of mature bottlebrushes) bloomed really well in the spring, she witnessed what she said must have been fifty Hummers around it I knew I was switching to gardening for Hummers! Since then I have been doing research and planting flowers to attract the little Hummers! So far I have added both purple and white bleeding hearts, coral honeysuckle, red and yellow shrimp plants, red and yellow mandavillas, an allamanda, bat faced cuphea, red, white and black and blue salvia, Mexican petunias, Brazilian candy corn vine, Chilean glory vine and some red impatients. In addition to that I've hung three feeders out, two commercial and one home made. To date I have not noticed a Hummer around :( My garden is fairly new and from the research that I have done may take a few years before I do see a Hummer. But alas I will continue to add hummingbird attracting plant and continue to change out sugar water till one appears. I just have to be patient. :)

    Bookmark   October 23, 2012 at 5:52PM
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Yes, and I'm installing another feeder for my friend, Diana who took these pictures about 2 days after I installed one for her. The location is Miami, S.W. 117th ave. and Sunset Dr. (S.W. 72nd st).

    Bookmark   November 30, 2012 at 7:23AM
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Hi Becky, which is the better nectar, store bought (red stuff) or the home made sugar solution?

I was able to see the hummingbird in Land O' Lakes, Sunday, 3/3/1/2013 at 8:20 am while watering my veggie patch. I had hung the hummingbird feeders with the store bought nectar, last week. But after seeing me, if flew to a bottle brush tree near by and was there for about 20 seconds.

In the evening, I went and bough a new hummingbird feeder and filled it up with the same store bought nectar. At about 6:10 pm, while hanging, I saw the same ruby throated hummingbird, hovering and before I could realize that it was a hummingbird, it flew away!! And while hanging some petunia and fuchsia baskets, I saw it coming back and shying away after seeing me. I hid behind the patio door and after about a minute, it came back and sipped nectar from my hummingbird feeders and flew away. It was there for less than 20 seconds.

Today, 4/1/2013 at 8:10 am, he came back for his breakfast and stayed at the feeders for about 20 seconds. I prepared the 1:4 sugar water solution, cleaned and refilled the old feeders. I've mexican sage, salvia, penta, petunia and fuchsia plants around the feeders. I've not seen this little fella feeding on any of the flowers. Haven't seen the guy return for his other meals yet.

How many times a day do they usually return to the feeders? How can we ensure that they stay longer at the feeders?

    Bookmark   April 1, 2013 at 2:31PM
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Well, the male RTH came back today 4/1/2013 at 6:20 pm and sipped the home made nectar for less than 10 seconds and flew away. Not sure he was scared away by my little ones trying to open the window blinds to catch a glimpse of this little fella from the window... or my home made sugar solution :( I waited till 7 pm and he didn't come back to have his full meal.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2013 at 7:09AM
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I have lived in West Palm Beach in the same house for over 20 yrs and so far I have not seen any hummingbirds maybe it was because I was working but the week ends? I have flower plants like Plumerias, Hibiscus and other without any luck, I even tried putting a feeder filled with products for them which I purchased at Home Depot, any recommendations by those who resides in this area and have seen Hummingbirds?

    Bookmark   April 11, 2013 at 3:22PM
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I have been gardening since April 2013. We had a Ruby Hummingbird come check out one of my red feeders and ever since I have been planning and gardening for them. Yesterday I had another come to my was only interested in the firespike. I have planted several firebush, salvia, and allamanda, but so far they only like the firespike. I have not put a feeder out in some time(too much cleaning for me), but I've had a little hummer come twice in the last 2 weeks for the firespike. I am located in Winter Garden, FL. Will I continue to see this hummer or will he head South soon.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2013 at 10:05AM
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It has been over a year since my last post so I will post an update. SUCCESS! I am happy to report that all the hard work has paid off! I've had three RTH's vist my garden since the last posting! Two males and a female, the males came in March. They were both migrants and only stayed for a couple days. Both of them showed up on tail ends of cold fronts, feeding only from my feeders. The female showed up around the end of May and stayed until the end of August. She would feed only from my flowers, she would look at my feeders but would not feed from them. She wouldn't stick around all day either, rather she would come and feed and then fly off somewhere else. There was a point where she wasn't seen for two to three weeks. I assume she was sitting on a nest? The flowers she seemed to favor was coral honeysuckle, black and blue salvia, batfaced and matchless cuphea. Was a little sad to see her go for the winter. But I'm hoping I can get some winter birds to spend some time with me this winter....we'll have to wait and see!

This post was edited by TroyinLargo on Mon, Oct 28, 13 at 13:48

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 1:41PM
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Male Ruby throat at my feeder!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 4:08PM
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Male Ruby throat at my feeder!

    Bookmark   October 28, 2013 at 4:15PM
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Picture my wife took this September at my parents house in the north Georgia mountians. My parents have had hummers for five years now, my mom won't put the feeders out until she sees them in the spring. The little hummers go to the exact spot where the feeders hung the year before, that's how she knows it's time to put the feeders out.

    Bookmark   October 29, 2013 at 3:15PM
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marilyn_fl(zone 9 Florida)

I decided to plant things to attract hummers. Wasn't sure if it would work or not. Have a very large firespike in bloom and have 3 hummingbirds loving it. I put a feeder right next to the plant but they are ignoring the feeder and just going to the flowers. I have also seen them at my Mexican salvia and my pineapple salvia. Trying to decide if I should just take the feeder down since it's kind of in the sun.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 12:32PM
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shillanorth Z4 AB

This year my hummers seem to have favoured the flowers over the feeders but I still kept some feeders up and they did get some use.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2013 at 7:56PM
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Suggestions on ways to keep raccoons from my feeders? At first I thought I had a bear (I have all kinds of wildlife) but caught the raccoon in the act.

    Bookmark   November 17, 2013 at 7:01PM
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Spring has sprung here in west central Florida and so have the hummingbirds! The little girl that spent last summer with me returned 4-1-14. She was witnessed feeding from her favorite flowers and has yet to be seen since. Hoping she is sitting on a nest since it is that time of year. She wasn't spotted last year until the middle of May, so she may show back up then. But a couple days ago in the afternoon I was sitting on my porch going through my phone and happen to look at the feeder and there was a male hovering feeding from it! I hope he decides to stick around for a while, but I think he may be a migrating bird. Will have to wait and see!

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 2:17PM
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