Every year the question arises about whether to keep your feeders up, or pull them down to encourage birds to go south.
This year has been more unusual for me that any other year in the past. Spring was almost nonexistent, while we went from Winter right into Summer. Many of our perennials had a really late start and only flowered 2 to 3 weeks later than normal, although it worked out perfectly with having many perennials bloom at exactly the time the young hummingbirds were leaving the nest. Let me tell you, it's incredibly difficult trying to keep an eye on every island of flowers spread out over 1 1/2 acres. At no point in the day could you walk through the garden, or around the yard, without scaring several hummingbirds out of the clusters of flowers that are growing everywhere. I'm saying this because normally at this time, many of the perennials are finishing, and the annuals are the only things left in full bloom. I have 10 hummingbird feeders also spread across the yard. So right now things are more colorful than you can imagine, and the hummingbird food is so great, that it's only something hummingbirds dream of. So the question becomes, why aren't the hummingbirds staying in our garden. Well, the answer is both simple and complex. Simple answer, they do what they're instructed to do. The more complex answer simplified is that hummingbirds have a drive and desire and purpose so much greater than their love of nectar. They were fighting in our garden like their lives depended on it, for days, but by 7:00 AM the next morning half the hummingbirds had cleared out. That pull is so powerful, the desire is so great, and their purpose is so much bigger than the food they leave behind. Their lives and the species are 100% dependent on the obedience of their calling.
I believe the worst thing you could do is pull down feeders while they are in their peak feeding time to fatten up for the long journey south. Some females have late broods, and some are forced to start over after their nest has been robbed, and this produces young that are oftentimes lagging behind many of the others that have already gone. So let them feed until their heart's content, and until they get the call to move on. Otherwise, you're stripping them of a valuable source of food just at the time they they need it most.
Neither one of these birds owned the feeder, but were content to share until the owner got back from chasing another hummingbird. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 6th, 2020.