I stepped outside to walk the dogs this morning and saw my first hummingbird of the year. If I had been watching the hummingbird migration map, I wouldn’t have been surprised. It shows that folks as far north as the Hannibal area reported their first hummer sightings more than a week ago.
That makes sense. In an average year, ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in central Missouri around April 15. Furthermore, the temperature has cracked 80 degrees four times over the past week, which is springy by any standard. But while temperatures have often been balmy, spring has not quite sprung in some other important ways.
Most significant from a hummingbird’s point of view is the appearance – or lack of appearance – of nectar-producing flowers. Trout lilies were several weeks late making their appearance in my woods, and we are still looking at spring beauties, rue anemone and Dutchman’s breeches. In our garden, daffodils and forsythia still are the dominant theme. None of these strike me as being big dietary staples for hummingbirds.
So I’m glad I put my nectar feeders out two weeks ago. After March when, the temperature fell below freezing 21 out of 31 days, I felt a little silly hanging the big red feeders. That lone hummer hanging around my feeders is more than sufficient compensation for feeling foolish.