The county and state fairs are over, kids are going back to school and life is busy as ever… sure signs that another summer has flown by as usual. Especially during this busy time of the year, sometimes it’s hard to remember to “stop and smell the roses,” but this weekend I remembered my summer friends who always have time to do this… hummingbirds!
Since we are nearing the end of summer, I wanted to address a common misconception about hummingbirds and their feeders – one I often wondered about and was guilty of until a couple of years ago when I decided to research into it a bit! I’d heard you need to take your feeders down at the end of summer so you’re hummingbirds will leave the food to migrate before it gets too cold for them here. However, that is FALSE.
Leave your hummingbird feeders up until at least a week after you see your last hummingbird. Leaving feeders up will NOT influence when healthy hummingbirds migrate south as their departure (and spring arrival) depends on more than just food, such as photoperiod. If anything, it is important to have a feeder available before they migrate so they have that extra source of energy before their big take off.
Just like when deer know it’s time to start rutting and breeding, hummingbirds also know when it is time to start moving from more factors than just weather and food. Plus, a hummingbird feeder is actually just a supplement, not a main food source, as hummingbirds get their protein and other nutrients from other food such as soft-bodied insects and spiders. Similar again to how deer might come to your feeder or mineral lick but it is just a supplement, not their main food source.
So today, I once again cleaned my hummingbird feeder and filled it up with some fresh sugar water and plan to enjoy the hummingbirds as long as I still can. I always hate to see the day they officially disappear, but it is well worth it that spring day I find they’re back!
For more information about hummingbirds, I really like www.hummingbirds.net – check it out!