This is an overview of the 2019 hummingbird season in my garden. This probably seems strange giving an overview of my garden while many of you are seeing increased numbers of them in your gardens to the South. My season is very short, only lasting about 100 days. It was another fantastic season but here's how things changed or remained from previous years. It was a dry Spring which allowed us to do plenty of work out in the garden without being pestered by hordes of mosquitoes. Then the rains came. It was wetter than average, and I'm sure it played a major part in the nesting process for the hummingbirds. Then the mosquitoes showed up, hatch after hatch, to the point where it kept us out of the garden for the next couple of months. I Anticipated having the young show up later than normal due to many days of rain keeping the mothers on the nest longer than usual. This proved to be the case as the first young showed up about 7 days later than the usual time. We also ended up getting young later than usual. Numerous pairs of young showed up spanning over a four week stretch. I would say the adult male numbers were very close to average, if not down by just a couple. The number of young birds seemed to be average or up just a slight bit. What I did notice that was quite different from previous years is the number of migrant females that stopped in, fed, and continued on through. That's one thing I was quite pleased about. My calculation of sightings was down a bit, peaking out at just over 10 sightings per minute, but I'm sure I played a part in that as I added some extra feeders in quieter locations to ease the pressure and allow some of the new younger birds a chance to feed. I didn't spot any rare Rufous or Calliope this year. On average I have between 6 and 8 adult males sticking around until they migrate. This year I'm guessing 5 or 6. It may not be completely accurate because there's an area towards the back of the garden that is now being blocked from my view due plant growth, but we definitely didn't peak out near our highest male numbers between 12 and 15 during the migration. I would say the number of young was up, which would mean the female numbers were also. The number of migrating females also seemed to be up. I would say overall we ended up in the positive, and considering the amount of rain we had, it’s good news. The time they arrived was average to slightly later than average, and the time they left was slightly later than normal, more than likely due to all the rain we had. So the overall look at the 2019 season in our garden was very close to average or even the higher end of average. There was no major noticeable decline or increase in the population, just a shift in the numbers at different times. No decline means no need to be alarmed. The weather was on the cooler side this year, with more rain than normal.
This is the last capture I have of Ziggy, my adult male Ruby-throat. He lost all desire to chase, but continued to sit over his feeder and protect it. He's in full molt as you can see by his porcupine face. August 8, 2019. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
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