Page 6 - The Shores of Jupiter - June '18
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Page 6, The Shores

When To Expect                                                  Male and female Anna’s Hummingbirds crowd a feeder to refuel. Photo: Charles Melton/Alamy

Hummingbirds In Your Yard                                                                               747-PALM

This Spring                                                                                                  747-7256

By Geoffrey S. LeBaron                                          561-743-0070                            “Service is our number
	 Flowers are beginning to bloom, and hummingbirds                                                            one priority”
are starting to return from their southern winter sojourns.
Here’s a regional guide for when they should arrive and
the food they’re seeking.
	 As warmer weather approaches, multitudes of migrant
birds are on track for arrival in North America. Among
them are those favorite avian gems, hummingbirds.
The spring arrival—or year-round presence—of
hummingbirds in yards varies across the country, but
current studies point out some new potential challenges to
migrating hummingbirds, such as changing bloom times
of nectar plants and an earlier arrival of spring on their
wintering and breeding grounds. Here we’ve gathered
general guidelines to current hummingbird migration
patterns for various sections of the country, as well as
some tips on the different feeding strategies you can use
to attract them to your yard. Additionally, you can also
learn more about how to help hummingbirds below.

Eastern United States

	 Over most of the eastern two-thirds of North
America, from central Canada southward, the Ruby-
throated Hummingbird reigns supreme. Predominantly a
neotropical migrant, it winters from southern Mexico to
Costa Rica. Each spring, this species arrives in numbers
along the Gulf Coast by early March, filtering northward
over the next two months until arriving in northern
states and southern provinces by late April or early May.
Migrating males usually arrive a week or so before females
at any given location. Climate change is affecting the
migration of Ruby-throats, though. As conditions warm
on the wintering grounds, data indicate that they leave
their winter homes earlier on their way to the Gulf Coast.
Interestingly, it also appears that hummingbirds then hang
around in the Gulf Coast for longer than normal, perhaps
to recuperate from their trip across the Gulf of Mexico.
	 Migrating hummingbirds start to visit flowering plants
and nectar feeders in March and usually stick around
through May. To have resources ready for northward
migrants in regions where hummingbirds are absent in
the winter, it’s best to put nectar out by early March if
you live in the Southeast, and by late April if you live in
the Northeast.

Southeastern United States

	 The Southeastern coast, from Cape Hatteras southward,
in Florida, and especially around the Gulf Coast, is
different from the rest of the eastern United States. Here
hummingbirds are likely to be present year-round, with
both higher diversity and greater numbers of birds present
in winter! As such, supplying nectar sources and insect-
laded gardens is appropriate year-round in these regions.
In coastal Texas and Louisiana, hummingbirds may visit
feeders in the late winter and early spring.

Two Ways To Help Hummingbirds

	 Grow Native Plants: Growing plants that are indigenous
to your area is a great way to both attract and help the
hummingbirds you love. Native plants provide shelter and
food, including a healthy environment for insects, part of the
hummingbird diet important during breeding season. Get a
list of native plants customized for your area by visiting our
handy Plants for Birds database.
	 Become A Community Scientist: You can protect
hummingbirds by helping crowdsource invaluable data using
Audubon’s free Hummingbirds at Home app or website. You
just submit your observations on when hummingbirds feed
on nectar-bearing plants in your yard or community. To get
started, go to hummingbirdsathome.org.
	 Reprinted courtesy of the National Audubon Society.
Audubon protects birds and the places they need, today
and tomorrow.

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