By Wild Birds Unlimited
Photograph courtesy of Wild Birds Unlimited
In early spring your hummingbird feeders are busy with recently returned local hummingbirds and migrants that are passing through your area. Natural nectar sources are still scarce, so feeder activity can be abundant and you couldn’t be happier for the return of hummingbird season.
However, by mid spring, feeder activity can slow down as migration wraps up and male hummingbirds start to aggressively defend feeders in their territory. Natural nectar sources and insect populations are increasing. Favorable weather conditions will produce an abundant crop of nectar-bearing wildflowers and this will reduce the number of visits that hummingbirds make to your feeders. Also, the popularity of feeding and watching hummingbirds has grown rapidly in the past few decades. There are more hummingbird feeders in use than ever before. More feeders in your neighborhood means the potential for fewer hummingbirds at your feeders.
Early summer feeder activity can be the slowest of the season. After the initial flurry, female hummingbirds settle down to nest and raise their two broods of youngsters. Once the eggs hatch, females spend a large amount of their time gathering insects to feed their nestlings, so they probably aren’t spending a lot of time at your feeders. Males continue to dominate feeders. Natural nectar sources and insects are peaking, providing hummingbirds with abundant natural food.
But not to worry, by mid-summer, activity increases as the first juvenile hummingbirds begin to visit feeders. Natural nectar sources are starting to wane. And by late summer another brood of youngsters can be expected to arrive at your feeders and migrant hummingbirds will begin to pass through fueling up to head south once again.