I told you several weeks ago that the first Ruby-throated Hummingbirds had arrived at the Gulf Coast from their southern wintering grounds, but by now they are as far north as northern Virginia, so it’s only a matter of a few weeks until we begin to see them in our northeastern wildlife gardens.

You can track their progress in several places:

  • at Journey North, which also tracks the arrival of Monarch butterflies and other birds.
  • at Hummingbirds.net, which tracks all hummingbirds in the US

Remember, it is not necessary (and may even be dangerous) to purchase that red-dyed hummingbird “nectar” that you often see in pet food stores and groceries. Simply boil one cup of sugar in 4 cups of water until the sugar is dissolved.

Change the nectar and clean your feeders every few days, and keep the extra nectar in your refrigerator as nectar can ferment, and the last thing you want is a drunk hummingbird :)

In addition to making sure your hummingbird feeders are clean and ready to go, please plant some native plants in your wildlife garden to attract hummingbirds. They seem to prefer red flowers with a tubular shape, such as Coral Honeysuckle, Columbines, Salvias, and Trumpet Flower.

It is quite easy to create a welcoming habitat for hummingbirds in your wildlife garden by planting large masses of these plants and by making sure that you have something blooming that they enjoy from April through October. Check with your local native plant nursery or nature center to find out which plants are best for these beautiful birds in your area.

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