Roly-Poly, Fat and Fluffy

October 2, 2018 by Elizabeth Howard

With temperatures falling and daylight dropping, hummers are fluffing their feathers to stay warm and fattening up for the journey south.

“They were feeding non stop the past few days, literally at feeders every 10 to 15 minutes. I knew they would leave soon,” noted Kate Parker in Elkridge, MD

Going, Going…

The number of sightings dropped by 25% this week. Still, people reported 20 hummingbirds or more from 4 states: South Carolina, Alabama, Louisiana, and Texas including a surprise sighting in Bogata, Texas:

“Nearly 20 years viewing migrations of hummingbirds, and this is a first for us….A faint sound, like a mass of bees moving.  Small dark spots appear high over the oaks along our north fence line, about 100 yards up.  Suddenly, hummingbirds are literally dropping vertically into our feeders. Dozens of them!” 10/2/18 More...

Fattening Up, Fluffing Out

Where hummingbirds remain they were eating voraciously and - in the north - trying to cope with cold.

“They look like little puffed up feather balls this morning.” Algonquin, Illinois 9/30/18

“They looked like water balloons about to pop.” Woodbridge, Virginia 9/27/18 

“A seemingly round (!) hummingbird seemed quite happy to sit at the feeder for prolonged periods between feedings.”  Winner, South Dakota 9/25/18    

What does a fat hummingbird feel like?

Hummingbird bander, Lanny Chambers, explains:

“Handling these birds is amazing. There’s SO much fat all over, they feel squishy in the hand. When they perch, rolls of flab bulge from their necks as they move their heads, and the fat store on the back looks like a dowager’s hump.” More…

Keep Feeders Up

Keep your feeder up for the stragglers. Don’t be concerned: Your feeder will not cause hummingbirds to stay longer than they should.

How Do Hummingbirds Eat?