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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Ecosystem Gardening
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 5 reviews
 by Sherry
Front Royal VA

Beginning yesterday I have seen a bunch of hummingbirds at my feeder. I also had seen only one this year. But enjoying them right now.

 by Ingrid
Where are they this year?

Like Richard Watson, I have only seen a single hummingbird maybe two or three times since I put the feeders out in mid-April, and I, too, am wondering what is going on this year. Last year, I had several at my feeder multiple times a day. It makes me so sad, I look forward to them arriving every year, and this year, nothing. Other friends in Northern Virginia have reported the same thing.

 by Richard Watson
Where did they go!!??

Great info..my first ruby throated arrived in March..then with a cold spell and a bad storm they disappeared and I havent seen them in several weeks...a single now and then...normally we have too many to count and have for years...is something going on this year

 by Bird Nerd
Thanks for the article

This was refreshing to see I saw a Beautiful female Ruby throated Rufous yesterday morning in Stafford,Va she lingered for a while in my backyard.

 by Amy Richwine
arrival of hummingbirds

I live in Southern Virginia and we have seen only transient hummers. We typically have 3 or 4 that hang out at our feeder and we haven't had any as of July 13. We have lots of things they should love. What's wrong?