Rufous hummingbird. (Oregon Dept. of Transportation/Wikimedia Common)

The Nature Nut

Now is the time to take the hummingbird feeders down

All up and down Highway 16, birders are reporting that rufous and calliope hummingbirds are not coming to the feeders and most hummers have disappeared.

A few juveniles are hanging around in my garden enjoying the wide variety of flowers that I have growing for them and the native bumblebees. I have been watching the hummers feeding in my garden for several weeks now and my feeder has hardly been touched all week.

Where did they go? Well, we assume that they have left in their migration south. However, the timing suggests that some of them have probably gone up the mountain to enjoy the flowers in the subalpine and alpine meadows which are just reaching their peak.

There is certainly an abundance of nectar up there to stock up on for their southward flight.

Now is the time to take the feeders down, empty them and clean them thoroughly. Even the few hummers that are left know how to feed themselves without the feeders. No, they will not starve.

After all, hummingbirds have been coming up here to breed long before we were here providing fast food feeders for them. Even juveniles know what to do instinctively once the sources of nectar decline or are gone. Go south young birds.

If some Anna’s hummingbirds show up in the fall, then you can always put the feeders out again, but please, for their sake, take the feeders down before it gets so cold that they cannot survive the night.

Again, they know what to do.