Migration Update: September 21, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!

Week #5: Still Seeing Hummingbirds? Let Us Know!
Cooler temps are moving in as fall officially arrives. "Warm nectar is appreciated, and popular on chilly mornings," shared a Michigan hummer observer. "We will continue to serve nectar for at least 2 weeks after the last winged wonder departs." Why is your feeder so important now?

Report weekly as long as hummers are present. ("Hummingbird Sighting" and "Adult Male") Photos are always welcome!

Migration Map
Hummingbird fall sightings
Animation | Live Map
Highlights from the Migration Trail

Several observers, both north and south, reported cooler temperatures this week. "Eating all the time!" and "fighting at the feeders" are still the headlines as hummingbirds continue their journey south.

Autumn's Arrival
"I am so surprised to still see a few after all this cool weather and torrential rains. This morning, we saw one hovering near the back patio where I had placed a near-empty feeder on a table thinking I would clean it out for next season. Obviously, I will leave it for her to drink from! Will be sad to see them leave, but they know best when to depart," commented Susan in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Elizabeth in Connecticut had not seen a hummer for over a week, but was "glad she kept the feeders out and nectar fresh as a lone female or juvenile was on it yesterday. "I'll keep the feeders out at least two more weeks now — until a minimum of 14 days with no sightings has passed."

Keep Feeders UP!
Widespread drought this summer means hummingbirds have fewer natural options—insects and nectar—for feeding.

You can read all of the observations here.

Images of the Week

Hummingbird feeding at flowers
Garden Visitors
Twenty Hummingbirds at a feeder
Rush-Hour Traffic!
Questions and Answers

Will leaving feeders up keep hummers too long in the north?

"The feeders do not entice  them," states ornithologist Laura Erickson. The birds have an instinct to move with the maximum availability of food. If migrating birds could be easily enticed to stay for food, none of them would get anywhere because they would have the maximum food available right up until fall's first killing frost—when it would be too late for so many hummingbirds to be moving.  Any stragglers are just not in condition to move when they should. They need your feeders in order to have the best chance at catching up.

Why so few sightings mid day?

They are migrating by day. They land while it’s still afternoon if they see a good place to “fuel up” for a few hours. When they find a safe place to sleep, they must also do a lot of feeding again in the morning before they take off. It's different for the local hummingbirds not yet on the move: Midday is when they can get the most insects and when most flowers are open so they can get natural foods. But locals also do the quick-energy pig-out when they first awaken and before sleeping. 

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds at feeder
Migrants Moving In
Hummingbirds at feeders
Seeing More Hummers
Hummingbird Send-Off: How About a Haiku?

Nature inspires! Claudia from Southbury, CT sent her thoughtful observation as a Haiku this week:

September Haiku
One day you notice the Hummingbird no longer Comes to the feeder.

Create a poem to celebrate your garden visitors, give them a special send-off, or wish them safe travels. Share and inspire!

Hummingbird feeds at flowers
Photo: Dawn Vezina
The next "Still Seeing Hummingbirds?" reminder will be posted on September 28.