I have been getting a lot of questions from concerned backyard birders about a perceived shortage of hummingbirds right now. The concern is that most of the folks have been enjoying good numbers of birds in past years but not this year.
Don't worry, there is no decline or crash in the ruby-throated hummingbird population, either locally or nationally.
I suspect those I am hearing from are remembering when seemingly dozens of birds were fighting over the feeders and providing entertaining aerial and chase sequences. You can expect the same thing in just a few weeks. Remember hummingbirds are territorial and will not tolerate intruders during the nesting season. Feeders may get periodic visits from a pair of birds if it is located in their territory but the constant activity of August and September will have to wait.
By late July nesting is pretty much over and the business of fattening up for the fall journey begins in earnest. Young and mature birds disperse and start to inundate feeders, providing non-stop activity. Nectar and sugar water becomes the major food source for fat gain instead of the protein dominated diet of the previous months.
So be patient and keep the feeders fresh and stocked, I can virtually guarantee it won't be too long before the feeders will be a-buzz with action.
|Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Phil Fowler|