Migration is building as more hummers head south. Summer residents are moving on and new visitors are stopping briefly at flowers and feeders.
Time to Go
The push south continues in earnest as days become shorter, temperatures fall, and blooms fade. By mid-September, the hummingbirds you see are likely migrants on the move, not your familiar summer residents.
Notice how steadily they are nectaring at flowers and feeders. Feeding intensely is a clear sign that your hummers are getting ready to leave.
“For the past week, hummers have been feeding heavily at our 3 feeders as well as flowers that are still blooming. Females and juveniles. Hummingbird “wars” are standard happenings around our feeders,” reported Peter from Church Point, Nova Scotia on September 4th.
Hurricane Harvey reminds us about one of the perils of fall migration. During intense conditions, hummingbirds must hunker down in sheltered places. Once the high winds and battering rains pass, they need to find food resources to rebuild fuel energy. Food availability is essential for weathering a storm and surviving the aftermath. According to one account published on BirdWatchingDaily:
“Hummingbirds are frantically searching for flowers along the Gulf Coast of Texas and finding none where Hurricane Harvey destroyed most flowers and flowering plants…. I have heard from friends who can’t keep their feeders full due to the high drive-thru demand.” More…
Where possible, keep fresh feeders up.