Warm Fall, Slow Migration?

September 25, 2017 by Rita Welch

The first official week of fall brought warm temperatures to many places along the migration trail and observers enjoyed lingering hummingbirds.

“There were hummers moving through this weekend. First year that I’ve had so many around this late in the season. Loving it,” wrote Theresa LeMire from Windsor, Ontario on September 24, 2017

Passing Through

This week observers reported unseasonably warm temperatures, fading flowers, and migrating hummers briefly stopping by flowers and feeders to refuel before moving on. In places where sightings are diminishing, people were on the lookout for stragglers. 

Oakdale, Minnesota
“Observed 5 female or juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds this evening. Very warm today with high of 94°F.” 
- Mike, September 22, 2017 

Newburgh, Indiana
“I was surprised to see an adult male at the feeders tonight. He must be passing through as I haven’t seen one in awhile.” 
- Amy, September 21, 2017 

Monticello, Indiana
“At least one still feeding from feeder. VERY HOT this week. Over 90°F. I expect them to be here two more weeks if history holds true.” 
- Robin, September 24, 2017

When do hummingbirds typically leave from your area each year? Are this year’s visitors leaving when they normally do? earlier? later? 

Nectar — and Protein

In addition to nectar, hummers need protein. 

“The hummingbird in this photo was really trying hard to get all the gnats that were flying around,” wrote Denise Salvatore from New York.

Hummingbirds will eat most any soft-bodied bugs they can swallow whole: fruit flies, gnats, aphids, and tiny spiders, plus their eggs and larvae. If you have an insecticide-free lawn and garden, you’ll be helping hummers find bugs for protein.

Spotlight: How Do Hummingbirds Drink Nectar?