Hummingbird Spring Migration 2014

claireplymouth z6b coastal MAFebruary 25, 2014

The little sticky note in my calendar says to check in late February - I just did and the hummers are already in Florida! Six sightings, the first on February 21! This is about the same time as last year. I realize it will take a long long time for the hummers to get to New England but it's a pleasure to know they're on the way.

These maps should automatically update so anyone who is interested can watch the progress (and get the feeder out of the cellar and find the nectar recipe when the sightings are getting close to you). To see the maps larger, click on the Spring 2014 Migration of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds link.

The maps are linked to, and produced by, the hummingbirds.net website where there's lots of useful and interesting information about the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Feb 27, 14 at 19:44

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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Ooooh, how nice! Between the dripping maple sap and the hummingbird map, I know spring is on its way, despite all the snow still around.

    Bookmark   February 25, 2014 at 7:26PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

There's a sighting today, Sunday, March 9, in Georgia! It's the beginning of the journey north on the East Coast (we'll ignore those hummers spreading out along the Gulf Coast to Texas).

Claire

    Bookmark   March 9, 2014 at 12:04PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I do believe a hummer was seen today in South Carolina. Granted, it's the southernmost tip of South Carolina but it's not Georgia. It looks like it's around Hilton Head Island.

For a history of the area see Wikipedia.

The migration continues.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Mar 14, 14 at 14:16

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 2:14PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I'm guessing they have another 2 months before landing here. May have to hang a heat lamp over the feeder this year. sigh...

Tell me again why we're here and not there?

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 4:46PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Well, someone has to be here to greet the hummingbirds when they arrive exhausted and famished - and New England summers are easier to live with than southern summers.

Claire (grasping at straws after looking at the Hilton Head sites)

    Bookmark   March 14, 2014 at 8:10PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Two days ago on March 16 there were two sightings in North Carolina on the coastal plain. The hummers were just short of some dramatic coastline and beaches - maybe they're there already today.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:21PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Wow. That's faster than last year - as far as I can tell on the 2013 map. For a spring that is forecast to be long, cold and wet, seems as though those sightings in NC are early. Could there be food enough already in those areas that have had such cold? Just wondering aloud. Jane

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 5:49PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I checked eBird and the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers are also moving up the coast. Lots in South Carolina but also some farther north along the NC coast. Hummingbirds follow the sapsuckers and drink the sap from the holes that the sapsuckers drill. The sap composition is very similar to flower nectar so they can get a good meal before the flowers bloom.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Wed, Mar 19, 14 at 9:44

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 6:13PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Now that is simply amazing. I did not know that, thanks.
Jane

    Bookmark   March 18, 2014 at 8:27PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's getting crowded there in the southern end of the NC coast. The winds are forecast to be favorable for hummer flight today so maybe they'll start moving north again.

Wind map from Wunderground.com

Claire

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 4:45PM
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mjc_molie(z6 CT)

Egads! Have the hummers heard about the possible nor'easter for next week? The track is not specific yet, I don't believe.

Molie

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 5:13PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Wunderground.com is talking about a track up the coast but don't know yet how close to shore.

East Coast Winter Storm Next Week?

Hopefully the hummers will stay far enough south so they'll just get rain and some wind in their little faces.

Stay put, hummers!

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Mar 23, 14 at 15:34

    Bookmark   March 21, 2014 at 8:21PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Well, they didn't listen to me (they never do) - there was a sighting today near, or in, the Cape Lookout National Seashore in North Carolina.

Claire

    Bookmark   March 22, 2014 at 1:48PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Since nothing has been happening in the mid-Atlantic for an unconscionably long time, I thought I'd post some screen shots of hummingbird.net that I took on April 1, 2010.

The Ivory-billed Hummingbird is migrating!
"Little is known about the elusive Ivory-billed Hummingbird, which hibernates for 364 days, then appears on April 1 each year."

Claire

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 11:54AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Isn't the same guy from last year? I sent him your way! He should be there by tea time.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 1:20PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Cute little fella! The sun is sinking though, and I fear the Ivory-bills are going to fade away.....until next year.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 5:56PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Finally some progress! Yesterday, April 1, a hummer was seen just north of Cape Hatteras in North Carolina, and today another hummer (or maybe the same one with a fierce tail wind) was seen close to Baltimore in Maryland.

Hopefully it will know to pronounce the name of the city "Bawlmer" or "Bawl-ah-mur" as the native hummers do. But I hope it doesn't stay there too long, we need hummingbirds here in New England.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 4:19PM
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edlincoln(6A)

When do they usually reach Massachusetts? What flowers can I plant that will be in bloom about then?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2014 at 9:09PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

hummingbird.net has an archive of previous years' migration data; this is the 2013 Migration Map. Usually they appear in Massachusetts in mid to late April depending on where you are. They come late to the coast; I usually see the first male in the last week in April, and the first female a week or ten days later.

That site also has a page on Attracting Hummingbirdsthat gives a list of plants, but most of these will not be in bloom that early.

pixie_lou's "Show us your gardens" thread give an idea of what's in bloom in April 2013, part 1 and April 2013, part 2.

What I've seen here in Plymouth on the coast is that the hummers always appear when the first azaleas start blooming. The wild honeysuckles bloom at about the same time and also the Pieris japonica. The hummers feed on all of these.

Bleeding hearts (Dicentra) and columbines (Aquilegia) come into bloom around then too.

Others here probably have more suggestions.

The most important thing is to have your feeder up and filled a week or two before you expect the hummingbirds to arrive! They're too hungry to wait around if there's not much else in your yard for them to eat right now, and they'll move on to a better area.

Claire (who will probably have a feeder up by Tax Day just in case)

This post was edited by claire on Thu, Apr 3, 14 at 10:22

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 10:16AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

My earliest plants that the hummingbirds like are native columbine/Aquilegia canadensis, Lupine, and coral bells/Heuchera (mine is an old-fashioned red-flowered variety.) I also plant out Salvia 'Black and Blue' as soon as danger of frost is past since they like that. I don't put out a feeder as we have bears, but I get hummingbirds every summer regardless.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 11:41AM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Another "vote" for bleeding hearts -- that's almost all that's in bloom in my garden when they arrive in northwest-central Connecticut, and I've watched them making their way along a bleeding heart stem, punching at each little hanging "heart." I do plant salvia (Black and Blue in particular but others as well), but those aren't even available in my nursery yet when the little guys first arrive.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2014 at 9:23PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

As nhbabs says, bears can be a problem with birdfeeders, so if you have bears, then you might forget the advice to put the feeder up soon. If you don't have bears, and you don't have extensive plantings, then a hummingbird feeder will help ensure that the hummers stay around where you can see them.

In my yard hummers love phlox and hosta flowers, although these bloom later on.

Claire (who doesn't have bears)

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 5:02PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Hummingbird(s) spotted on the Delaware Coast!

Getting closer to New England.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 9, 2014 at 10:09AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

And today a sighting in Eastern Pennsylvania! It looks to be around Philadelphia, just a short flight from New Jersey.

Of course, this could be one of the hummers who head up the Hudson instead of moving on into New England. Only time will tell.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Apr 11, 14 at 17:40

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 8:31PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

They're closing in on New Jersey. One hummer around Atlantic City, N.J. coming up the coast, and another just across the river (Delaware River I think) from Trenton. Maybe it's reenacting the crossing of the Delaware by George Washington. Or maybe not, I'm not sure if hummingbirds care all that much about history.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 5:39PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Hmmm.... the hummers in Pennsylvania seem to be heading up the Delaware River rather than heading to New England. These hummingbirds may be from the Canadian community.

Claire

edit note: I hope no one thinks I have any particular knowledge about what I'm saying - this is all speculation along with a little exploration of geography, while waiting for my hummers to come home.

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Apr 13, 14 at 11:43

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 11:39AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

WHAT ?? no particular knowledge? Well, there's another bubble burst. Have to wonder how they know to veer a little left in Delaware. If distinctive behaviour is telltale, then Buddy is the same hummer here for the past few years. We'll see this year - usually by May 10th. Wonder how many hummers actually achieve a 12 year life span? So few answers.
Jane

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:48PM
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ellenr22

thanks.
this is a cool thread to follow, altho I have no feeders up.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 3:56PM
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pixie_lou

Hmmm - according to the map, a hummer was sighted on Cape Ann yesterday. The pessimist in me is doubting it. Though it's really the jealousy.

I did move the feeders this week. I still don't plan to put the hummingbird feeder out until 1 May.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:33PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane said: " Have to wonder how they know to veer a little left in Delaware." Good memories plus copious notes and awareness of magnetic fields (this worked last year so I'll try it again...).

ellenr: Hummingbird migration is definitely cool. Referring to the state maps makes me wonder about the effect of the Appalachian Mountains (don't fly over, fly around) and how the rivers provide a nice flat thoroughfare that may be a little warmer than the surrounding uplands. Speculation again.

pixie_lou: I was replying to the other posts when you posted, and then I looked at the map again. Several new sightings just appeared, dated 4/12, one in SW Connecticut near the Hudson and ONE ON THE NORTH SHORE OF MA! (pixie_lou said Cape Ann, and that's reasonable)

I never see hummers until they've already reached Canada so I'm not panicking, but I can get a feeder up and filled in five minutes. The hummer feeder is halfway up from the cellar, I have concentrated sugar solution in the refrigerator, and I've set up the oriole feeder with suet so it's ready when the orioles show up (they usually appear here within a few days after the hummers)

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Mon, Apr 14, 14 at 9:26

    Bookmark   April 13, 2014 at 5:48PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Now there's one sighted today on Cape Cod! It looks like around Orleans where the Birdwatcher's General Store offers all sorts of birding advice as well as merchandise.

I think my feeder will go up tomorrow, even though I don't expect hummers for another few weeks when the azaleas start blooming. On second thought, I'll wait until Wednesday after the rain stops. I don't want the nectar diluted so I have to replace it the next day.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 14, 2014 at 5:50PM
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j.bush(6)

I live here in ct and now we are are in April. When should I put out my hummingbird feeder. The two years they been coming May 8

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 7:33AM
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pixie_lou

J.bush - Before May 8th! I would put it up 1-2 weeks ahead do time.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 9:58AM
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j.bush(6)

thank you. I will put up the hummingbird feeder this Friday because its going down in the 30 the next 3 days.

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 10:28AM
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thedogsLL(6B)

Hi, everyone. I'm new to this forum and to hummingbirds. I just figured out over the winter that I've been putting my feeder out way too late. When I found this a week or so ago, and read that they were close to MA, I got my feeder out and put it on the back porch. How close is too close to the house? Second floor, hanging in mid-air from an abandoned clothesline. It's about 4 ft away from the window. I'm actually about 8-10 miles N of Boston on the North Shore.
Lynn T

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 3:09PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Lynn T: hummingbirds.net has a secton on Hummingbird feeders and they say:

"Location, Location, Location
Where to hang your feeder? A new one may be found sooner if hung over or near a garden of hummingbird plants. My feeders are near windows, where I can watch and enjoy them: one is in a living room window, another outside the kitchen, and a third hangs a foot or so from my office window."

Your feeder should be fine, although I don't know if there's a problem with hummingbirds finding a feeder on the second floor. Maybe someone here knows the answer.

I did find a thread on the GW Hummingbird Garden Forum where people talk about hummers going up to the fourth floor and higher. I guess if you think about tall trees the second floor doesn't seem so unreasonable to a hummingbird.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Tue, Apr 15, 14 at 17:45

    Bookmark   April 15, 2014 at 5:43PM
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j.bush(6)

Has anyone in CT seen any hummingbirds yet this year? I do not have my feeder out yet but i will have it out Friday. It is going to be cold the next two night so i do not want the feeder to frezze.

    Bookmark   April 16, 2014 at 4:22PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Sightings in MA near Worcester and New Bedford. I don't expect any hummer here in Plymouth for another week or 10 days, but I don't want to worry about it so I put a feeder up yesterday (and took it inside last night so it wouldn't freeze). It went back out this morning.

I did see an early rhododendron in bloom in inland Plymouth yesterday, but none in my neighborhood. That's a marker for me.

The hummers always appear in Canada before I see them, which annoys me each year.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 17, 2014 at 10:10AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Multiple sightings now in southern New England (CT, RI, and MA). Nothing yet in northern New England (ME, NH, and VT) or in Canada.

That doesn't mean they're in your particular area, just that someone has reported one somewhere along the way. These may be migrating males heading farther north and they stopped at a popular way station.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Fri, Apr 18, 14 at 18:09

    Bookmark   April 18, 2014 at 6:08PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

There are sightings now in Ontario, Canada. At least they're not in New Brunswick or Nova Scotia or Quebec before they're in Plymouth, MA.

My feeder is up and waiting. Soon.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 21, 2014 at 1:05PM
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vermontgirl(4)

I put out my hummingbird feeder! I'm ready!

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 9:21AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Good move, vermontgirl! Doesn't it feel good not to have to worry about a hungry hummer appearing and find nothing to eat?

Claire (who had a plumber visit a few days ago and mention he didn't have his hummingbird feeder up yet. I nudged him a bit, politely)

    Bookmark   April 23, 2014 at 3:16PM
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j.bush(6)

Hummingbird was seen in old Lyme ct today. My feed went up on Good Friday. But I have seen only yet.

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:49PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, j.bush! I assume you're the person in Old Lyme who saw the hummer. It's always a relief when someone on the forum actually sees a hummingbird.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 3:57PM
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j.bush(6)

No I saw it online. WWW. Learner .org/jnorth. I Colchester ct no hummingbirds yet

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:35PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's a disappointment. Sooner or later they have to show up, they always do.

Claire

    Bookmark   April 24, 2014 at 5:49PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Well, a hummer was seen today in New Brunswick, Canada - it looks like it's somewhere along the Saint John River Valley.

I always feel a bit snubbed when the hummers flit past Plymouth, MA and head for the Canadian Maritime Provinces.

Any day now, but no azaleas or rhododendrons blooming here. I am seeing PJM rhodies blooming a few miles inland so the hummers have a trail to follow if they're so inclined.

A cowbird just landed on the hook holding the hummer feeder.

Claire (sighing)

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 2:06PM
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j.bush(6)

Two people in Colchester spotted hummingbirds this Saturday and Sunday. I just got back from the Cape hopefully I'll see one soon

    Bookmark   April 27, 2014 at 7:08PM
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j.bush(6)

I have my feeder up for two weeks but no hummingbirds. Two people in colchester have alreay have seen tthem. Why haven't i seen any?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 11:17AM
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pixie_lou

J.bush - you said earlier in the thread that the hummers have appeared at your house on May 8th the past 2 years. So you most likely won't see them for another week to 10 days. We all wish that the hummers would appear as soon as we put the feeders up. But the hummers have there set routes and time frames.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 4:50PM
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j.bush(6)

ok wait for may 8. But mean while maybe I see one.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 5:28PM
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j.bush(6)

I saw a male here at 6:30pm. They come early this year for me. Saw the hummingbird four times today at my feeder

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 6:58PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Woo-hoo! He must have been hungry after the long trip to your yard. Keep the feeder filled!

You're the first member of the forum to report seeing a hummingbird this season, j.bush. Congratulations!

The rest of us keep waiting.

Claire (sighing)

    Bookmark   April 30, 2014 at 7:48PM
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j.bush(6)

I have well water for nector I always boil it. Do you have to boil well water?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2014 at 10:32PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

If you boil it to make it safe for humans to drink, then you should probably boil it for the hummingbirds as well. It depends on how safe your well water is. Have you had it tested for contamination?

Claire

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 8:57AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

And here's my first hummingbird of 2014! I saw him at about 5:45 PM, but he may have been here earlier. The orioles showed up today too.

Claire

Edit note: I just added another picture when he came back.

This post was edited by claire on Fri, May 2, 14 at 20:06

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:04PM
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singleton165(z5 NH Seacoast)

We just spotted one at our feeder, must be a hungry little thing because he's been by every few minutes.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 7:56PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, singleton165! Same here, he keeps coming back for more sips. It's hard work migrating.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 8:08PM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

Two hummingbirds in New England! I haven't seen any yet, but I think it will be a few more weeks until we see them.

    Bookmark   May 2, 2014 at 9:06PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I haven't seen him again today - he may have been a transient stopping by for dinner and a bed and early breakfast before moving on to NH or wherever he summers. That's fine with me, I'm happy to give the buzz-bird a good meal and send him along his way.

I don't usually see hummers regularly until the females show up a week or ten days after the males.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 10:20AM
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j.bush(6)

I have been lots of hummingbirds and some wear females. They been very hungry sense the first day I spotted them.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 11:21AM
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singleton165(z5 NH Seacoast)

Our little guy was back mid morning...I wonder if he's sticking around or just filling up for his trek northward.

"I don't usually see hummers regularly until the females show up a week or ten days after the males."

Good to know, Claire. This is my first season getting serious about putting the feeders out. We didn't see them regularly until the end of summer last year, but then again that's probably when I put the feeders out. :)

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 12:07PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I saw another male in the early afternoon today, but I don't know if it's the same one as yesterday.

The hummingbirds will probably disappear for a while when they start nesting. They feed the babies insects and don't much visit the feeders then. This is always worrisome but they come back when the babies fledge.

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sun, May 4, 14 at 9:52

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 1:34PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Just this minute was coming around the side of the house and saw the first one at the feeder this season! Halifax ma.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 6:58PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Just this minute was coming around the side of the house and saw the first one at the feeder this season! Halifax ma.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 6:59PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Just came back and after drinking is now hanging out in bush 4 ft from me out side window.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:11PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Just came back and after drinking is now hanging out in bush 4 ft from me out side window.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:12PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

In middle of bush

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:16PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Closer up. Making fresh batch of food now to put out tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:19PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Closer up. Making fresh batch of food now to put out tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 7:22PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Closer up. Making fresh batch of food now to put out tomorrow.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:03PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, skippyz71! The little buzzers really get to you, don't they. Mine is still sticking around and I keep looking out the window to see if he's there.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 3, 2014 at 8:18PM
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Valerie427(6)

I just put out a feeder yesterday (Sat) and had a visitor within a few hours - I'm in the Hudson Valley of New York

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 5:24AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Well done, Valerie427! Often the hummingbirds are around in your neighborhood but they have no incentive to pop into view until they see a feeder.

That happened next door a number of years ago. My sister-in-law put out a feeder and we wondered how long it would take for a hummingbird to appear, if there were any there at all. It took about 20 minutes.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:21AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Hummer here this morning at feeder. Not sure if it's Buddy, we'll see.
Jane

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:28AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, Jane! The hummers are really getting serious now about showing up in actual yards, instead of making cameo appearances on hummingbird.net. (I don't mean to disparage hummingbird.net, it's a fantastic resource, but the sightings always seem a little mythical until someone on the forums see them).

Claire

    Bookmark   May 4, 2014 at 9:48AM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Confirmed sighting this morning - I'll have to be faster.
Jane

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 10:52AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It almost looks like a Ruby-throated Bumblebee, Jane.

I saw a hummer again this morning and I noticed for the first time he was hovering above the feeder to sip, even though there's perches for him to rest on. He just bounced up and down as if he had limitless energy, rather than sitting and trying to refuel the empty tank. It was good to see.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 2:22PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

I think it's Buddy. He is staying, flying in every few minutes after cruising through the flowering pear, plum, quinces. I planted 14 sweet flowering ornamental trees which are now blooming or beginning to. Serviceberry is a big draw as well as thundercloud plum. Kwanzan cherry and Eastern red bud now in bud form.

Jane - every male hummer will always be 'Buddy', but I think it's the same guy.

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:09PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Sure looks like Buddy to me! It sounds like you planted a banquet for him.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 5, 2014 at 3:48PM
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dawngirl.athol

Mine are here too in Athol,Ma. 1st time I saw him was Monday the 5th, early evening . Then Tuesday and yesterday. The past few years they came on May 8th. I tried to capture a picture but every time I waited for him it was like forever, I would turn my back for a few second to go in the house, and their he was sitting on the perch drinking. My hands and camera where not fast enough. I will try to get a picture to post it up. Boy did I miss these little buggers!!! Welcome back.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 2:21PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Welcome back, indeed, dawngirl! There's always a little hole in the yard when the hummers are gone.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 3:45PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Has anyone had a squirrel get addicted to the sugar water? Had one that started last year. Caught him hanging from hook with back feet and pushing feeder with front feet to tip it sideways to drink fluid coming out. Started last year now he's back. Find feeder knocked off on ground every couple days. LOL. Sugar high squirrel!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:46PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Has anyone had a squirrel get addicted to the sugar water? Had one that started last year. Caught him hanging from hook with back feet and pushing feeder with front feet to tip it sideways to drink fluid coming out. Started last year now he's back. Find feeder knocked off on ground every couple days. LOL. Sugar high squirrel!

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 7:47PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

That's hilarious, skippyz71! Maybe you should put a squirrel baffle on top of the hummer feeder (or on the pole). That's not why I did this, and I know those are orioles, not squirrels, but I took this photo today and it's the easiest pic to access right now after dark.

FYI: 1. The black metal baffle is on the pole because I use the pole for a suet feeder in the winter and squirrels love suet.

2. The clear plastic baffle on top is partly to keep rain from diluting the nectar, but mostly because I can easily attach the hummer feeder to the little hook under the clear baffle, but I have to tilt the feeder to get it onto the big hook on top.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 8, 2014 at 8:30PM
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pixie_lou

Just saw my first hummingbird! My dad and I were sitting out on my patio for about an hour this afternoon. I was telling him that I haven't seen a hummer yet this year. As soon as we went inside, as I was closing the back door I saw hummy zip up to the feeder and take a couple sips! Obviously he didn't wait for me to grab my camera (He probably knows there is a 30x or 50x zoom camera all wrapped up for me for mothers day tomorrow! So he'll come back and pose tomorrow!)

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 6:59PM
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flo9

One of mine ( I believe ) returned from last year a couple weeks ago. It flew up to me. I went straight to store to buy a brand new feeder since I threw the old one away last winter. 2 species I've noticed coming over last year.

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:09PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Happy Hummer Home-coming, pixie_lou and flo9!

pixie_lou: You definitely deserve a new camera to record (and post) pics of all the wildlife in your yard.

flo9: I can easily imagine your hummer demanding a new feeder - they have good memories and remember where food is. What was the other species that returned?

Claire

    Bookmark   May 10, 2014 at 7:43PM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

As I'm taking this picture with my cell phone from about a ft away in the bush next to the feeder real slowly I hear this intense "humming" right behind my head and can feal the breeze from it on the back of my neck. My wife from the window says there's two more right behind me with one going to the feeder! Wow. The reason I snuck up on the bush is that noticed 3 or 4 coming at the same time and this one took a rest.

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 7:30PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

One foot away? You lucky duck! Wonderful shot and I'm glad you have even more hummers. Keep shooting. What kind of cell phone?
Jane

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:21PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Great picture, skippyz71! I've been buzzed twice this season also - once when I was close to the feeder. I don't know if it was a warning or if the hummer was amused by it.

I'm amazed that you saw three or four hummers at one time. Do you know if any of these are females? Maybe there's some pairing activity going on.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 11, 2014 at 8:38PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Someone sent this article to me - just passing it along.

Here is a link that might be useful: BirdsandBlooms, Female Hummingbirds

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 11:37AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I saw my first female hummer of the season today!

I also saw several hummers zipping around near the feeder, too fast for me to identify them. I don't know if this was the male checking out the female or two males being territorial. Maybe it's time to put the second feeder up.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:17PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Jane: You posted while I was preparing my post so I didn't see it until I submitted.

That's a great link with the history of the female hummingbirds. The nest construction is fascinating.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 12:25PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I put up the second hummingbird feeder on the deck on the other side of the house and the female visited it while I was sitting there, maybe half an hour ago. She must have been here last year because she didn't seem afraid of me.

She just came again!

Claire

    Bookmark   May 12, 2014 at 6:07PM
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silvergirl426_gw

They're back in the Litchfield Hills too! The first one came on Friday -- I was gone,but on Sunday there were the two of them zipping around the feeder above the ajuga. I have my two feeders up -- one is nearer the big honeysuckle bush behind the stone fence where they always make their nest. Now I can really say I'm ready for the spring/summer gardening season. I feel so loved that they return to my yard the second week of May every spring. And I love them in return.
lucia

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 5:28PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, Lucia! Let the summer begin! (if we can just get this "Spring" back on track).

Claire

    Bookmark   May 13, 2014 at 6:02PM
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j.bush(6)

Are the females having there babies yet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 6:00AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's probably a little early, depending on when the females arrived in your yard. They have to build the nest first which takes a while, then they'll start laying eggs.

From hummingbirds.net

"Where did my hummers go?

You watched the migration maps and hung your feeder in time to attract the first migrants. You kept the feeder clean and the syrup fresh, and were rewarded by lots of visits from migrants, then the activity settled down to regular appearances by the resident birds. Pretty cool hobby, eh? Then, perhaps in early May (depending on your latitude)...

NO MORE HUMMERS! Where'd they all go? This didn't happen last year! Or did it?

Welcome to the nesting season, folks. I'll discuss Ruby-throats in particular, but similar principles probably apply to most other species. Shortly after arriving, the females establish a nesting territory. Ruby-throats prefer secluded wetlands for nesting, if available, and proximity to your feeder is not an issue; in fact, females don't like to build nests in a male's feeding territory, and your feeder is probably part of one. Visits to distant feeders take too much time away from the eggs. When the chicks hatch, they need protein to grow, not sugar, so their mother spends most of her time catching small insects and spiders for them.

During this period, I personally still see a male or two at my feeders, but typically only early or late in the day. I suspect that once their breeding duties are over, males tend to abandon territories and forage more widely to fatten up for migration.

After the chicks fledge (leave the nest), expect the number of hummers at your feeder to be double what it was before the "disappearance." As summer progresses, there will be fewer natural hummingbird food sources available in many parts of the continent; feeders can have a real positive impact on the number of birds that survive, especially in the dry Midwestern U.S., so please keep them clean and fresh.

And keep notes on your tiny visitors, if you like, so you can verify for yourself that this is a normal, annual process."

Claire

This post was edited by claire on Sat, May 24, 14 at 9:34

    Bookmark   May 16, 2014 at 10:00AM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Claire - to answer your question from earlier there were males and females all at once. It was almost as if there was a feeding frenzy going on for a little while. Sometimes they weren't bothered by each other, other times chasing each other all over the place like the one I got a close up off was chased into the bush by another. The activity has slowed a lot since this past weekend.

Corunum - it was a Samsung S3 cellphone. Took about 7 pictures as I got closer. Luckily the one I posted earlier came out perfectly focused.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:36AM
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skippyz71(6 south eastern ma)

Claire - to answer your question from earlier there were males and females all at once. It was almost as if there was a feeding frenzy going on for a little while. Sometimes they weren't bothered by each other, other times chasing each other all over the place like the one I got a close up off was chased into the bush by another. The activity has slowed a lot since this past weekend.

Corunum - it was a Samsung S3 cellphone. Took about 7 pictures as I got closer. Luckily the one I posted earlier came out perfectly focused.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2014 at 8:37AM
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j.bush(6)

were did all the hummingbirds go?

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 7:27AM
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pixie_lou

J.bush - reread the post from Claire when she answered your question about the females. It's just 3 posts back.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 8:27AM
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NHBabs(4b-5aNH)

We are now seeing hummers. I spotted my first one a few days ago (the columbine are now blooming, a favorite of the hummers) and my MIL rescued one about a week and a half ago which had hit the window. She set it in the shade on the picnic table and placed the feeder right next to it. It stayed a while and did some sipping from the feeder and then took off. Since then she has seen more visitors at her feeder which is now hanging up.

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 2:01PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Congratulations, nhbabs, to you and to your MIL who carried out a nice rescue operation!

I'm not seeing much in the way of hummers now, just an occasional male, so I assume the females are nesting and the males are busy elsewhere. Lots of nectar plants blooming now and insects everywhere so the birds are not so dependent on the sugar solution in the feeders.

They should be back when the new generation fledges.

Claire

    Bookmark   May 24, 2014 at 3:50PM
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j.bush(6)

I was seeing a lot of hummingbirds in July and the first two weeks of Aug. But now the numbers are droping. Are they starting to go back yet?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 6:41AM
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vmr423

Yes, we're starting to see hummers here in our yard in SC, and I'm expecting that some will hang out hereabouts until the weather gets cool.

I think some hummers overwinter here- I saw two in our yard on New Year's Day checking out the camellias.

Virginia

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 7:01AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

It's nice to know, Virginia, that there's someone to welcome our hummers on their long trip south!

I'm still seeing hummers at my feeders here in Plymouth, MA, but some of them seem suspicious of me sitting on the deck so I may be seeing migrants passing through from farther north.

I just noticed the level of solution in the feeder on the deck railing is way low again - I think a raccoon comes some nights and tilts the feeder to drink the solution. It was full yesterday.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 11:39AM
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spedigrees z4VT

Enjoy my little hummers too, Virginia! They're a feisty and entertaining bunch, and on their way to you!

The hummingbirds here now are flighty and easily frightened, so I assume they are northern birds on their way down from Canada.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2014 at 3:36PM
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tkln

I finally got a hummingbird feeder this summer and we had it placed somewhere I couldn't really see it - just moved it a few weeks ago and now have been seeing tons of them. I'm guessing they've started moving south to us from Canada and will continue on...they are so fascinating!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 5:05PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

We had a lot of hummingbirds this year. Normally we only see a couple females and one male throughout the season and even then they're not around too often. This summer they were all over. And what a show they have been putting on. They're feisty little devils and have been really tormenting all the other small birds on a regular basis, chasing them around and around and not giving up! We put out an oriole feeder early in the season, and luckily since we didn't get any orioles, the hummers have been enjoying it. Ours are not skittish at all yet. They barely fly away when we come outside and very frequently while I'm working in the garden they'll hang out in the same border with me and we chat. We really have enjoyed them so much this year!

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 7:04PM
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daffodil33

I wish I had them in the yard. I did see one however by the river, humming around a swath of lobelia cardinallis. He was just about 2 ft from me, wish I had my camera handy.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2014 at 11:04PM
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j.bush(6)

I am only seeing one or two hummingbirds a day. I have three feeders up. There are two feeders on my back deck and one hanging over the pic window. Should I leave all of them up or take one or two down?

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 2:41PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Definitely leave one up for the stragglers, but it's really up to you as to how many to keep up with frequent refilling. I like to have two feeders available when there's more than one hummer around so there isn't a battle over one. When I only see one per day or less, then I usually take one down (the one on the deck) and leave the one by the window that's easy for me to see and probably also easier for a migrating bird to notice.

As it gets cooler you won't have to refill as often but it's really important to keep clean solution in the feeder as long as it's there. When you don't see hummers sometimes you (and I) forget to refill.

Claire

    Bookmark   August 30, 2014 at 4:28PM
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spedigrees z4VT

I think my hummers have been gone for some time now, but I filled the feeder today for a last time just in case.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 12:34PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

There is still one male, Buddy, and I think his wife and or daughters - 2 females here. Here's one this morning seemingly embracing last night's rain.
Jane

    Bookmark   September 1, 2014 at 4:03PM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

A couple of photos taken last week. Our friends are still around today, but I couldnâÂÂt tell you if they are summer residents or transients. Best I can do is differentiate between male and female! We have had a small group this year, but there seemed to be a few enjoying the bee balm when the 2nd pic was taken.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2014 at 7:28PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Lovely photos, Jane and homegrowninthe603. I particularly like the hummer dancing over the bee balm.

I feel a bout of nostalgia coming on as I contemplate a soon-to-be-empty feeder. This hummer today seemed to be basking in the late summer sun - enjoying a relaxed day before heading south on the almost incomprehensible migration flight.

Claire

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 4:59PM
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spedigrees z4VT

Nice photos of your hummingbirds, Homegrown! The bee balm photo makes me think I should add some red bee balm to my existing purple. I wonder if the hummers ever visit my purple monarda. I've never seen them, but by all accounts and your pictures, they are said to like these flowers.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 6:13PM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Thank you Claire and Spedigrees, I have a purple bee balm that's been around for many years and the hummingbirds do enjoy it. This year I added "Raspberry Wine" and they have taken to it. It's in a better spot for photo ops, thus the pic. There were several around when this was taken. Last year, I think they left us around Labor Day, but we are still seeing them around today. Susan

    Bookmark   September 4, 2014 at 6:51PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

This hummer - and many other happy hummers - were in the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens last Tuesday, Sept. 2nd. Have to write a note to remember to plant honeysuckle again and I like those purple and wine monardas, homegrown. My Jacob Cline was not happy this year. Making more hummer notes.
Jane

P.S. The hummers are still north of us - do not take your feeders down.

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 10:07AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Nice heads-up, Jane, reminding us that there are still hummers lolling around to the north that will need sustenance when they get around to heading south.

The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens must be a wonderful way station for them (as well as a wonderful place for people to visit).

I still have hummers at my two feeders, probably mostly migrants since they seem a little unfamiliar with the setup.

Claire

edit note: A hummer just buzzed over and stared at me (I'm sitting on the deck), hovering almost in my face.

This post was edited by claire on Sun, Sep 7, 14 at 18:35

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 6:30PM
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arkansas_girl(5A)

I'm in NE Ohio and I haven't seen one in a couple weeks! BOOHOO! :(

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 6:41PM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Another lovely picture Jane! We haven't seen any since last Tuesday, but I will fill one feeder again just in case.

Susan

    Bookmark   September 7, 2014 at 6:54PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

We still have them here in the Manchester area. Love the last round of photos.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2014 at 8:26PM
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nekobus(6)

Great shot, Jane. I can't wait to visit that garden.

Our two female hummingbirds in eastern MA are still feeding (and fighting) in the garden, which makes me happy.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 6:05PM
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Persimmons(6b Southern Mass)

Same here nekobus. I've got a hummingbird that continues to feed on my scarlet runner beans, and then stares at me through the window once he's had his fill.

    Bookmark   September 9, 2014 at 9:24PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

A lady traveler here today!
Jane

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 4:47PM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

Nice. We haven't seen one for 2 weeks so I'm thinking about taking the feeder down.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 5:12PM
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corunum z6 CT(6)

Like this little one here today, more may come from the northern areas. Do what you have to, but I leave mine up till the end of Sept. Not hurting anything to leave it in place.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2014 at 5:23PM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

I wasn't home that much today and didn't see my girls at the feeder or in the garden. Hoping to see them tomorrow, but perhaps they have moved on. We had such a fun time with the hummingbirds this year.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2014 at 8:06PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I'm still seeing one or two hummers every day so I've kept both feeders up. They seem to arrive in late afternoon and then I see one or two again in the morning. I'm assuming these are all migrants now.

I was staked out with my camera at the window watching one feeder today after two of them were buzzing around, but the hummers kept flying up to the rugosa rose flowers. At first I thought they were going for insects (I regularly see bees on the rugosas) but I googled and it turns out that rugosa roses have nectar, unlike most roses. This was a shock to me - I had no idea that rugosas are hummingbird plants. Luckily my big old Yankee Lady rugosa blooms sporadically into the fall so I've been inadvertently feeding the hummingbirds.

One of the feeders is conveniently right by the rugosa so the hummers can snack while they're guarding the feeder.

Claire

    Bookmark   September 18, 2014 at 7:34PM
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j.bush(6)

I was seeing hummingbirds on sept 15 in the morning but i been away. So how long should i leave my feeder up. I don't see any this thurday in the morning.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 7:33AM
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j.bush(6)

I keep the one feeder up I just some at the feeder this mornings. They are still around. They usually leave my yard at September 15.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 9:53AM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

I would keep the feeder up until the end of September in case there are still late migrants coming through.

Two hummingbirds seen again this morning. I wonder if the same two have been here for a couple of days fueling up. This one looks nice and plump.

Claire

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 12:21PM
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dbarron(z7_Arkansas)

I seem to be missing my guard hummingbird as of today.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2014 at 12:27PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

dbarron: What type of hummingbirds do you get in Oklahoma? We have primarily Ruby-throats here in New England, although some people have reported Rufous Hummingbirds.

Claire

    Bookmark   September 21, 2014 at 7:31PM
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j.bush(6)

Still seeing hummingbird today. They been here at 7 then back 10 this morning.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 10:08AM
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Thyme2dig NH Zone 5

Had a female show up briefly yesterday morning.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2014 at 7:51PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Two days now without a hummer. They had been showing up one or two every day and even three on one day a week ago. I'll still keep at least one feeder up but it looks like the coastal crew has mostly passed through.

Claire (sigh)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2014 at 5:59PM
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claireplymouth z6b coastal MA

Sept. 27: A juvenile male hummingbird stopped by! This is the feeder on my deck. I was sitting out there and the hummer was OK with me being there but got spooked when I pulled out the camera so I didn't get a good shot of the whole head and throat. You can see the mottled gorget. Typical teenager - waited to the last minute before migrating.

Claire

    Bookmark   September 27, 2014 at 11:17AM
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homegrowninthe603 6a SE NH

No visitors to my feeders for a month (that I know of), so I have taken them down. This thread is very informative, however, so I will be putting them up earlier next spring based on the sightings!

Susan

    Bookmark   October 1, 2014 at 3:26PM
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