When planning out your feeder locations, is it for you or is it for the birds?
Every year I place numerous feeders in strategic locations to attract the largest number of hummingbirds I possibly can. Sometimes feeders get placed in locations where I'll get very little personal reward, and some feeders are placed right near my favorite lounge chair. Ultimately, we all want to see every hummingbird that shows up in our garden, but are we restricting the amount of hummingbirds that show up in doing so?
A lot of people refuse to put feeders in sunny locations, but these can be some of the most productive feeders at certain times of the day and definitely certain times of the year. Many people will place feeders only in a location where they can see it all the time, but are we restricting our potential? I believe we are.
A dominant male will ultimately seek out every feeder that you've got in your yard, but still choose his favorite. The shy female will oftentimes feed at your quietest feeder. It may be the one hidden on the back side of the house, or maybe the one furthest in the field. I try and cater to every bird in every situation in order to accommodate as many hummingbirds as possible. Females can be very finicky during nesting season, and I'm comforted in knowing this. They are responsible for their young. They take far fewer risks and are far more aware of the dangers around them. So in knowing this, we should do a little bit more to accommodate each and every one according to their situation. Sure, we may miss several sightings of hummingbirds in the first half of the season, but the rewards will be far greater when every male, female and juvenile return to the five star accommodations after nesting.
The image is of a female that flew in from a distant location every 4-6 hours. She traveled through all conditions, including this foggy morning, to stock up on nectar. This feeder was used far less by the dominant male(Ziggy), and was precisely the reason she returned to it so often. Please click on the image to see a larger view.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta. July 2016