Many people just like myself, I'm sure, are glad to see winter on the way out . Already being up to two weeks behind schedule has made the anticipation even greater for the arrival of our fearless little friends. 1ft. of snow still covers the majority of the Canadian Plains and much of the eastern provinces, and more is on the way, but this is certainly no time to just sit back and wait for their return. Many things can be accomplished over the next couple of months to prepare ourselves and our yards for the arrival of our hummingbirds. Now is definitely the time to be starting your indoor seeds and planning out the structure of your gardens. Hummingbird feeders should be pulled out, cleaned thoroughly, and in my case lined up on the shelf like little soldiers ready for duty. Eastern Canada will start receiving their sightings first, especially in southern Ontario, and the prairie provinces will have to wait till sometime in May to start getting their first sightings. This information is all very critical in receiving the largest number of hummingbirds to our yards. It is crucial to place your feeders up about one week before the approximate time of your first arrival. These dates can vary greatly if you take an average over the last ten years. I will usually place feeders out at my place about one week before the earliest sighting over the last ten years. If you just wait to see your first hummingbird before you place your feeders out, you may miss several early migrating males. And if this is the case, they may avoid your yard as their territory for the remainder of the year. This makes a huge difference in attracting the females to your yard which ultimately will affect the number of juveniles that return later in summer. What is the harm of putting out feeders one week before hand, other than the small amount of nectar that will go to waste. There's no possible way that we could monitor the activity in our yard for 24 hours a day until the time of our first sighting, so it is important to use a proper guide in knowing when to put out our hummingbird feeders to catch the first arrivals. The information on arrival dates across Canada, can be found at www.therubythroat.com. When you first see your perennials starting to flower, this is a very good indication to keep your eyes on the feeders. Hummingbirds will migrate only as far as their food source allows. So if there are no flowers blooming in your region, more than likely the hummingbirds will not be there yet.
This is a time of year that can pass by so quickly, so make sure you take in all the beauty that Spring has to offer. Make sure you soak in the smells, sights, and everything that goes along with it. The lilacs only bloom for a very short time, and the fragrance is out of this world, so don't miss out on what nature has to offer. Enjoy the blue sky, the flowers, and the warm temperatures because these things won't last for long. Most importantly, keep alert, and stay focused on your flowers and feeders, and remember to report your hummingbird sightings at www.therubythroat.com.
Author of Jewel of the North. Please post your comments and questions.