Ruby-throated Hummingbird at Salvia "Lady in Red" flower
The hummingbirds are coming, will you be ready? Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have been flooding into the Gulf Coast on their return migration since Feb. They have already been spotted as far north as CT, southern MA, PA, OH, IL and even southern MI. Here's a Ruby-throated Hummingbird migration map 2011 where you can report your sightings and see what others have reported.
Get your hummingbird feeders up if you live in those areas and south, and consider putting up feeders soon if you live north of there.
Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. That's because the flowers they favor in nature are mainly red tubular flowers. These flowers have their own adaptations to be attractive to hummingbirds, such as they have just the right nectar concentrations and long tubes so bees cannot access the nectar. Thus they give the hummers nectar and in turn the hummingbirds carry pollen on their foreheads from one flower to another, thus pollinating the flowers.
We roll out the red welcome mat by,
- Putting up lots of hummingbird feeders with red
- Putting up hanging baskets of early red flowers such as hanging fuschia, etc. as most annuals and perennials are not blooming yet. Later we plant those flowers
- Tying red bows to the posts the hummingbird feeders hang from
Get the early hummingbirds and you may have some remain and breed. You will also attract lots of migrants that are passing through on their way to their previous breeding grounds. Even though these do not breed near you, they will remember you as a good stopping place on their next migrations.
If you live in the West, you may have had hummingbirds all year and/or lots of hummingbirds that have returned already, lucky you.