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First Hummingbird of the Year!

Apr 18, 2013

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.

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Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight
Ruby-Throated Hummingbird
Ruby-throated hummingbird in flight

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hummingbird feeder photo illustration
Homemade Hummingbird Feeder
You can make a hummingbird feeder such as this one out of a small jar, such as a babyfood jar.

Comments

To keep squirrels, raccoons, etc. from the hummingbird feeders, hang them with fishing line in an area where they are too far off the ground and too far from any perches for squirrels to jump onto them. They won't be able to climb down to them on the fishing line.

I love feeding the Hummingbirds and also enjoy seeing the Orioles come drink the sugar water. I have a fair number of trees at the back of my house which creates a slight, (or not so slight), problem. SQUIRRELS! Two years ago I chose a new location for hanging my Hummingbird feeder. It hung on the light attached to the house just outside the back door onto the deck. I thought I had out smarted those pesky squirrels. But, this spring they have once again proved me wrong. Twice this week I have filled the feeder in the morning and come home to find it nearly empty with evidence of the contents on the deck floor. Any suggestions on how to beat these clever little guys?

First hummer at our house Thurs. 18th

Thanks, Jim, for your vote of confidence! and for your encouragement. Determined to be ready before the little beauties arrived, we put our feeders out mid-March as well. So glad you have espied a grateful diner; we'll be looking for ours in Kansas City soon!

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