A very common question that I get asked is - If I haven't seen a hummingbird until now should I continue with my feeders?
Short answer: Absolutely, yes! First of all, who's to say you haven't had any hummingbirds at your feeders, and you just didn't see them? Those that presume they haven't got any hummingbirds probably look at their feeders or feeder once a day. They are under the impression that just because they're looking at their feeder a hummingbird should be there. If you looked at your feeders once a day, the odds of seeing that one sighting a day would be about one in 2000. Just assume you've had hummingbirds at your feeders. From now to the time that they migrate they will increase their visits substantially. Secondly, the amount of hummingbirds that will go south will be more than double the amount that went north. For every female there will be at least one brood, typically consisting of two young. Many females will do a second brood, and possibly a third, especially the further you go south. The adult male and female are far more structured and stick to a pattern, but the young will become far more adventurous and the curious about the new world they've inherited. They will search out every flower and every garden. That is why this time of year provides the greatest opportunities to see hummingbirds. Don't be too quick to put away those feeders. Change them regularly, and spread them around your yard to gain the greatest visibility. In future years remember this with feeders and flowers. Make every location of your yard a target from every direction around. Their eyesight is spectacular, and food is their mission. Give them every reason to choose your garden over everyone else's, and they will!
Right now I have five or six adult males that refuse to leave the yard. Spreading of feeders has given each one of them the opportunity to dominate their own little region within the yard(it's far different in Spring with mating season). It's difficult and time consuming for one male to control all feeders. The intensity of the dominant Male's anger is lessened this time of year. There is still fighting, but they will slow down as they try to gain calories for that southern trip in the near future.
With the increase of Males in the last week, it's becoming very difficult to tell which one Ziggy is. It's male vs male in so many chases, but they are coming to an agreement as to which feeder belongs to each male. The increase in young birds will cause more chaos over the next few weeks. Some young will compete until they gain a region of the garden. As the adult males start to leave for the south, more young males will take control of the different regions of the garden. Until that time, They'll have to compete with the big boys.
Adult Male Ruby-throat hummingbirds. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. July 23, 2018.
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