My hummingbird season is now three weeks over and I can't wait for next Spring. We even had our first frost a couple days ago and I don't like it one bit. Other than planning a few new projects for our garden next Spring, all I can do now is sit back and wait, and perhaps write a few blog posts to fill my appetite.
I would love to hear how others did this year and I will let you know now how my season began and finished.
It started off a bit slower. The Males showed up on time, but the females were very sporadic early on. We did end up getting about the same number of females, if not the few more by the 20th of June. The Spring birds were just spread out more so than other years. Our first young showed up three days earlier than last year, but three days later than 2015. It appeared to me as though the migrant population was down even though we had about nine adult Males stick around to fatten up. Even they didn't show up at the same time. As some would leave others would show up. 2014 was an incredible year. 2015 the numbers dropped slightly. 2016 the numbers were even lower, however the peak time was spread out over a longer time(which could have resulted in higher numbers), and this year a few less. This has been a very common pattern throughout the decades. The numbers in all species fluctuate, but I really have no concerns about these numbers. After all, anytime you have over 50 hummingbirds flying in and out of your yard, it's a good year. I can say that the number of adult Males we've had over the last four years has been consistent. The number of females seem to be up a bit, with about 12 of them bringing their young to our garden. What seemed to be down this year was the migrant population. There are too many variables to draw any kind of conclusion as to why this may be. The peak of our southern migration is always August 8 - 10th. This year we peaked between August 12 and 14th(the latest I've seen). It may appear as though the migration was a little bit later, but our last bird left right on par with the past couple years. I know many people were thinking it was an early migration, but when I compared all numbers for my yard over the last several years, it was very consistent. We did have a few horrible days of wind storms and I thought it would affect our local population, but the outcome didn't reflect it. Perhaps the winds and storms were worse around me and that affected the migrant population, but again it's difficult to draw any kind of concrete conclusions. Over all, the year appeared to be much like the past, but with a slight decline in the population. Whether or not the drastic weather will affect all of our populations is yet to be seen. I know from past environmental disasters that birds have been given tools to read, avoid or weather the storms.
Here is a young Ruby throated hummingbird that couldn't get enough of these training flowers. Zinnias are always a great attractor for young hummingbirds. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 2017
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