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Hummingbirds,especially Ruby-throats, are heading South to Mexico and Central America to winter.

You may see unusual species east of the Rockies due to forest fires. All of them need your feeders and flowers to put on fat through October for the slow trip to the Gulf and to Yucatan. You have a very good chance to see them now if you missed them in the Spring.

Advertise their favorite color with red rags, shirts, buckets, etc., set out within overhead view. Sprinklers and water misters are a big draw. Keep nectar solution fresh (4 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar, boiled and cooled. No artificial sweeteners. No honey. Easily refrigerated.). Change the feeder like a dog dish -- frequently, every 2-3 days while there's heat, and rinse well. They'll eat half their weight in nectar. Figure their weight is about 3 grams; they are about the size of a knuckle, bare.

Keep a sharp eye. If you've never seen one, they are so small and fast, you may think you saw a large bee, or locust, dragonfly, or moth. Migrating hummingbirds may stay only a few days as the seasons change but may remember you and your neighborhood next year, particularly if you plant flowers along with your feeder(s). Happy chumming!

September, 2002

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