Friday, August 30

A MESSAGE FROM FRED

At this time of the year, summer hummingbirds have departed and smaller numbers of fall migrants are using Ola area feeders.  Most, if not all, are young of the year now, so don't expect to see any colorful males.  All three regular species can still be identified though: Calliope is smallest with shortest bill and mostly black tail, Rufous is redder overall (but still green-backed) with rufous tail and most agressive, and Black-chinned is the "leanest" one with longest bill and tail, all black tail that flops up and down when hovering, and also agressive (especially toward other Black-chins).  Black-chinned are by far the most common now.  The average departure date 11 miles north of Ola is September 6 - 9 (depending on species), but we've hosted a Rufous (the longest migrant) as late as October 2, so you are encouraged to leave feeders up with fresh food (only partially filled to help prevent mold) until at least the middle of September (and later if you are still hosting feeding birds!).  I usually wait 7-10 days after the last bird just to be sure, as hummers will depart when their senses tell them to, and are not delayed due to the presence of feeders.  Each bird memorizes its migration feeding locations and will return to each of them the following year, so if food (flowers and/or feeders) is not available upon their arrival, they will wait around only a little while before being forced to look elsewhere.  And finally, "nectar" is only part of a hummer's diet.. more than half is very small insects.  If you have any questions, please email Fred xylemacres@gmail.com.

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