2014 Ruby Throat Migration

Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

Any getting ready for the hummers?

I didn't keep out feeders this winter - but some of the folks at Georgia Hummers did with great success -- See https://www.facebook.com/Georgia.Hummers

Looking forward to seeing my feathered friends in Atlanta soon. See http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html

Glen Burnie, MD

Yahoo!! They're into northern Florida. Much as I'm looking forward to them, after this bitterly cold winter, the little ones need to stay south till it at least gets a lot warmer. And just curious - is there such a thing as a heated hummingbird feeder? Or did I dream that up?

Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

On the Georgia Hummers FB page, they showed a picture of a feeder on top of a crock pot - I think water was in the crock pot and it kept the feeder water warm.....I've also seen folks put socks around the sugar water.

I put one of my feeders out in Atlanta, but haven't seen any yet.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I can't wait to see them this year.

( Pam ) Portland, OR

Hi from Oregon,

Regarding keeping feeders available during freezing, it's going to depend on each persons location and daily schedule as to what works best.

Here we have Anna's hummers all year round, which includes snow and ice at times. I keep at least two main feeders thawed any time it's cold enough to freeze. First they recommend a slightly sweeter food, 2 cups water to 3/4 cup sugar ( rather than the normal 1/2 cup). The birds easily use the addition, plus it helps prevent the inevitable re-freeze just a tiny bit. Enough it does help. As long as you can see the feeders from a window, it's easy to see when they begin freezing, which give you a bit of time before they freeze badly enough the birds can't feed. The first slush is a simple warning sign when the birds are still feeding easily. Save the extra sugar for only the coldest of days, since excess sugar could affect their liver if given long term.

Keeping spare feeders filled and indoors is the easiest way to go out to replace when the ones outside freeze. This may be every couple hours during a really cold day, or it may only be each dawn and dusk you'll need to go out. Right at dawn and dusk is the most important time, as the little guys do that huge fuel up.
Anna's Hummingbirds are the only hummingbirds to spend the winter in northern climates; they are able to do this as there are enough winter flowers and feeders to support them. During cold temperatures, Anna's Hummingbirds gradually gain weight during the day as they convert sugar to fat.[15][16] In addition, hummingbirds with inadequate stores of body fat or insufficient plumage are able to survive periods of sub-freezing weather by lowering their metabolic rate and entering a state of torpor.[17]


I've seen everything from an old coffee can with a light bulb, to xmas lights being used to keep feeders thawed, but not me. Nothing is worth the risk of burning the house down. Priorities, I has them. LOL

Over the years I have several neighbors feeding now, so between the group of us, when we get a freeze, at least one of us is scheduled to be home. Hummers that normally have joining territories will find food next door and at least be able to sneak in for enough to get by. I've watched for so many years and seen so many variations on this, I no longer worry if it turns out I need to be gone, which is not often with a freeze. I've built this feeding hummers during a freeze into my schedule for so long now, it's no big deal. I am the starter of this project and feel I'm the one that needs to be sure they are being fed, so if I'm gone I do double check the neighbors availability first.

And that's how one crazy lady in Oregon spends freezing days at home. It's a great excuse to stay here and let the others slip and slide on the roads. :)

This message was edited Mar 9, 2014 8:15 AM

This message was edited Mar 9, 2014 8:30 AM

Macon, GA(Zone 8a)

I got my feeders out today - not heated, of course! There's been a sighting in south Georgia posted to the map so if I'm very lucky I'll get one by the weekend. Maybe. We'll see! We're going to have another chilly snap on Wednesday that may slow them down.

I can't wait!

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

I put up 2 feeders since I saw there was a sighting in Knoxville, which is only 45 mins from me. I really enjoy these tiny fliers and must credit them with turning me from a planter of whatever looks pretty to an eager native gardener. ( I do use non-natives here and there). Now I have lots of hummer plants and a butterfly garden that work with nature to give the wildlife I enjoy so much the things they need to stick around, raise their young and maybe come back next year.
I cannot wait to see my first hummingbird of the season at my feeders. As soon as we get some flowering going on around here, I hope to watch them til fall. I don't think there are any ruby throats ( the only hummer in my area) who stay here for winter. I keep the feeders up late for the stragglers but I believe it is just too cold here in winter. Especially this past winter. It was a doozie! However those who work to keep the hums in nectar thru the freezes have my thanks ( and envy of being able to see them all year round) Post some pics Citybusgardener!

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

wow! thanks memays for posting the link

looks like they are making good headway

I'm going to put out a feeder this weekend for any early birds

I took a look at last years map too and it looks like there were some early sightings in Jersey

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I see they've been sighted in my area now. I'll definitely be on the lookout. For a couple of years, one would come to the window here where I sit at the computer and look right at me to get my attention. I haven't seen him the last two or three years. They have been very late arriving in my particular location. But they'll be here, I know. :)

Hillsborough, NC

I saw my first one yesterday afternoon while relaxing on our back porch. What a lovely sight! :-)

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

I can't wait to see our first too! enjoy your porch view!!

Glen Burnie, MD

Yeah! A sighting posted for southern Maryland near the Chesapeake! Guess I better get a feeder out, just in case. Only thing I have blooming are some hyacinths. Can't wait. I have these big ole aluminum awnings over all my windows. I hang 2 feeders - one in front & one in back. It's beyond cool to see the hummers only 3ft from my face. And several times I've had a hummer land on a feeder as I unhook it to bring it in to clean. What a wonderful experience!

Provo, UT(Zone 5a)

i was thinking of getting my feeders cleaned up just the other day..
i havent seen any hummers ..yet.. but.. i think just in case theres some that
are show up really early i'll get them out this week..

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

wow, according to the migration map they've passed us by already. I did get one feeder up, but haven't seen any hummers yet. guess they are here somewhere lol.

I have more hummer favorite plants, including salvias, growing now under grow lights indoors. I hope to plant them outside after danger of frost, which for us is usually around Mother's Day.

Hummingbirds bring such joy to our gardens ^_^

these pics were taken last August

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Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

I haven't seen them here yet but they are beyond this point on the map. For some reason they arrive later here than others see them.

(Chris), IA(Zone 5a)

Wow - not even into Iowa yet! I did see on another map that April 4th, a teacher rescued a hummer from one of her barn cats mouth - said it appeared to be ok :) I had one feeder up as last year the first true sighting was 4/20 for central Iowa, but the snowstorm yesterday blew it down LOL... guess the hummers know better than me :)

Not that I'm impatient or anything!

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

I just saw my first hummer a few minutes ago. I feel sure it was a ruby-throated one. I hope the poor thing doesn't freeze tonight. We are supposed to get down to 31 F and the wind has been strong from the north all day, 15-25 mph.

Ken, in NE Mississippi

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

memays, extra nesting material is never a bad thing for birds. I've always put out our dog hair in a suet feeder for nesting material for any bird that wanted it. Now that our dog has passed our neighbor has been kind enough to give us horse hair!! I think the birds liked our German Shepherds hair better though because the horse hair doesn't disappear as fast. We have some old trees with lichen that I know the hummers like to use for nesting material. Get what you want and enjoy your hummers this season!

Ken, yay!! I'm sure they will survive. they go into that low energy state, torpor, to conserve energy when it gets really cold. We're getting a freeze here too in Jersey tonight, but I haven't seen a hummer yet at our house. They could be out there though


This message was edited Apr 15, 2014 6:53 PM

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

memays, I think each of those items are cute. I use a suet cage and put the milkweed fluff when i collect seeds, and the fluff from cattails along with dog, cat and my own hair from the brushes into it for nesting materials. Hummers are pretty secretive about their nests, so I doubt I will see one, but I did consider the forked branch thingee the first year I got into hummingbirds. I have trees in the yard and I imagine they will use those first.
Boy! what a cold night, 30 degrees! I covered as much as possible, and my Major Wheeler honeysuckle is loaded with buds, so I hope all is ok. I am looking forward to hums on the honeysuckle this year, as it only gave 2 or three flowers last year.

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

never thought of milkweed fluff - good idea! one of my neighbors posted a pic on FB with a sparrow holding a mouthful of dryer lint. I hadn't thought of using lint either

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Good Morning! I had my first hummer this morning! He was right in front of my face (2 feet)!!! He only sipped from the feeder for a minute, but thats ok!!! I just changed the nectar last night, so he got the fresh stuff.
All my plants made it thru the frost and the major wheeler honeysuckle is doing fine. Also, the biggest surprise for me, my Black and Blue salvia guarnitica ( a hummingbird magnet) came back this year! I can't believe it. We had such a cold winter and I only covered with some leaves. I really like this salvia's true blue flowers and lime green leaves.Did I mention it is a Hummer magnet?! they are all over it as soon as it blooms. It goes on til late fall, I pair it with pineapple sage and it never disappoints.
Over the winter I did lose my passion vine and hope the seeds I planted from it will bloom. I planted it primarily for buttrflies, but hummers come too.
I'd love to chat longer, but I need to go stare at the hummingbird feeder!!

Starkville, MS(Zone 8a)

Saw my first male ruby-throat yesterday and since I had previously seen a female, it appears there may be a pair (mating?). Perhaps they have a nest close-by.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Yay! I'm still waiting.

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

We're still waiting too! In fact I have to change the nectar already...

Pueblo, CO(Zone 5b)

To help keep feeders from freezing:
Put it under the eaves near a window or even use one that suction cups to the glass - this takes advantage of heat loss from the house. For fall, I am probably going to mount a little roost in the window frame for the birds themselves.
The sugar in the water lowers the freezing point anyway. You can lower it further if you Increase the sugar to water content further - say maybe 1 to 3.5 instead of 4.

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

It will be 80 here today and in the 70s all week. I'm hoping "my" hummers will be along soon. :)

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Cville, I'm sending them your way.....as soon as i see another one.

(Chris), IA(Zone 5a)

I see on the migration map that a couple have been spotted in mid Iowa - I've got my feeder up and ready, just hope I see one before hubby does! lol - it never works that way :)

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Thanks, scarletbean. Should be any day now. :)

Chris, sounds like they are getting close. Good luck in spotting one first. :-D

Alexandria, IN(Zone 6a)

My hummer showed up today. It came up really close in front of me in the swing and hovered there to let me know she was back

(Chris), IA(Zone 5a)

Our first one showed up on May 14th - DH spotted it first, but I did get to see it before it flew off, so I'm happy with that. To make it even more exciting - the same day, we had a Baltimore Oriole come to the hummer feeder! That's a first for us, so we now have the orange 'juice', grape jelly and orange halves outside for them - they come to see us several times a day along with the hummer! Yay! :)

Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

I spotted an Oriole today!! I never thought of the hummer feeders... just thought maybe they sensed that we just planted 2 cherry trees lol

Newport, TN(Zone 7a)

Gee whiz! I haven't seen a hummer for over a week! I heard some chittering in one of the pecan trees so I am pretty sure they are here, just being elusive. I just keep changing my nectar, and waiting for my black and blue salvia to bloom, since that always draws them. And it is right by the window, so I see them often.
Cville, that is a mighty good looking cat in your picture!

Wind & dragonflys, I wish I had orioles here. They are so pretty! Lucky ducks!

Clarksville, TN(Zone 7a)

Thanks, scarletbean. That cat has been missing for about 10 days now. :-(... I put that photo on Craigslist and someone about a mile away reported a possible sighting. We're going over in a few minutes to look and call behind their house. Unfortunately they have barking dogs that may be a hindrance. But we have to at least try.

I haven't seen my hummers yet. They are usually late in arriving here, but it's getting later and later. I haven't been too focused on them though.

Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

Love to see a picture of the Orioles. Good hummingbird activity here in Atlanta. Best time to see them is right before sundown for me.

(Chris), IA(Zone 5a)

Here's a few that I've taken so far of our different visitors - some not so good as we still had the screen on our windows :) The one kind of dark one is the female oriole.

We've seen the downy woodpecker just that one time, but now have suet up in hopes of getting him back. My sister in law has red-headed woodpeckers! I'm so jealous lol.

The one picture shows a goldfinch with a male and female house finch. I've discovered that the house finches LOVE grape jelly and oranges :)

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Algonquin, IL(Zone 5a)

I haven't taken any decent shots of our Hummers yet, but here's a pic of a male Oriole in one of our River Birch trees. We have tons of Orioles right now. They LOVE grape jelly and oranges.

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Mount Laurel, NJ(Zone 7a)

great photos! I can envision putting out sliced oranges, but how do you put out grape jelly? I have visions of an ant invasion

Atlanta, GA(Zone 8a)

Thanks for sharing the pictures! I'm inspired to add to my feeders- have suet, black sunflower, and 4 hummer feeders but I've not seen Orioles nor have I tried the sack feeder! Very fun!

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