As I watched the birds gather and dive bomb each other at my hummingbird feeder yesterday, I noticed that they actually looked pudgy. Good thing they’re fattening up since Missouri’s hummers may have to fly more than 600 miles of open water in the Gulf of Mexico to get to their winter haunts in Central America. The hummingbirds are beginning to migrate and by late September most will be gone. (Some people think leaving the hummingbird feeder up late into the year will keep the birds from leaving, but that’s not a concern. The good thing about having one up longer is that you might see a later, rarer visitor like a rufous hummingbird.)
While the hummers are getting ready to leave, the first of the ducks are beginning to arrive. Blue-winged teal are among the earliest.
I checked with MDC conservation biologist Andy Forbes on fall migration. “Eagle Bluffs, Bob Brown and other conservation wetland areas are good places to see ducks and also shorebirds in the fall. I just saw about 100 pectoral sandpipers at Eagle Bluffs last week.” Andy noted that autumn is a good time to see rarer shorebirds, mainly because there simply are more birds due to the addition of the young ones. The only down side is that the birds are duller since they’re not in breeding plumage.