The Hummies are BACK!!
Spring is my favorite time of year. The world re-invents itself with every little green bud poking up out of the ground or from a tree limb. One of my most favorite things about this time of year is the hummingbirds return. Hummingbirds are wonderful little creatures ... I maintain three feeders scattered around the yard and I have noticed the little guys are very territorial and protective of their food source(s). The dominate one(s) will chase away competitors during the day but between dusk and dark they seem to form a truce and I have counted up to four and at times more flocked around each of the feeder(s). On more than one occasion I’ve seen two hummers perched side-by-side, shoulder-to-shoulder on a single station taking turns dipping into the sugar water. I have found that having more than one feeder eliminates some of the territorial issues. There seems to be an urgency to receive adequate nourishment before “bedding” down for the night. Hummingbirds are aeronautical wonders. I find it fascinating to contemplate these are the only birds that can (also) fly backwards!
The "mother-in-law" philosophy..... When my mother-in-law was here with us at the end of last summer she saw my feeders and told me that it was time for me to take them down. She said that if I didn't and continued to feed them they would not know it was time for them to leave for the winter. So off to the internet I went to do some research and here is what I found. Hummingbirds do not migrate south to follow the food source. Hummingbirds instinctively know when it is time to migrate due to the shortening of the days. Natural food supplies were around long before feeders ever came into play. They can exist quite well without our feeders as they don’t depend on nectar alone. Once their young have fledged the nest and they have put on sufficient fat to sustain them for longer periods they know it is time to start their southward journey. You can leave a feeder up all year long and they will not stay once the instinct to leave sets in. They know exactly when they are supposed to leave.
Now did I share my internet findings with my mother-in-law? Of course NOT! But I did share it with my mom and here was her comical philosophy... Hummingbirds won't stay and freeze. They hitch a ride on the backs of geese and ducks when they fly south for the winter. WHAT?? So back off to the internet I went. Here is what I found. No they don't hitch rides, they migrate on their own. This myth dates back to the 1300's when people thought that the hummingbirds were too small. They believed that the only way for these little birds to make it so far was to hitch a ride on the larger birds.
My philosophy, put those feeders out and enjoy these little guys. THEY'RE BACK...... Until next time thank you for letting me share "A lil' slice of my PK life"