Thursday, September 3, 2015

Ruby-throated Season Coming to a Close

Now that we're into September, the ruby-throated migration is in full swing. Males head for their southern territory first, leaving females and juveniles better access to feeding resources in the breeding territories. All the hummers try to double their body weight in preparation for the long journey back to the semi-tropics. Then the females will head home. Last to leave will be the ones born this summer. Amazingly, the birds fly individually. Adult hummers do not show the new birds where to go - they just follow their instincts. Leaving feeders up will NOT delay the migration. In fact, leaving feeders up will provide much needed energy for the migrating birds that are passing through from further north. Most of the ruby-throats will be completely out of Missouri by mid-October. but there's a chance to spot a straggler or two even later.

Here at the Lake of the Ozarks, there is a least one male still hanging around. Feeder activity has definitely slowed down though. Surprisingly. we still are seeing Baltimore orioles, although we haven't noticed any orchard orioles for a few days. The orioles usually depart earlier than the hummingbirds.

We had another fantastic summer of hummers. There must have been 50-70 hanging around at the height of the season. They are such fun to watch! Keeping up with the feeders is a daily chore, but a chore with wonderful rewards.

We want to thank the Board Members and all of the very special volunteers who work so hard to make the Sedona Hummingbird Festival THE premier hummingbird festival in the US. For us, it's a time to reconnect with friends who share our passion. We love seeing the fabulous and creative hummingbird art by our fellow vendors, and of course we always come home with more to add to our collection. It doesn't hurt that the festival is always a successful show for us. This year we again put out some Ozarklake feeders, and the Arizona hummers loved them as much as our Missouri hummers do! Thanks to Laura Osteen for these amazing pictures.

We're been homebodies since the Hummingbird Festival in Sedona. But later this month we will head out to Council Bluffs, IA, for the International Master Gardener Conference. Right after that we will head to the Wings and Wildflowers Festival in Leesburg, FL. And since we have grandkids living in St. Petersburg, we'll be hanging around in sunny Florida for a few days before returning to Missouri and awaiting the arrival of Old Man Winter,

Hummingbird fact for today: Cats, both domestic and feral, are probably the most common predator of hummingbirds. Cats should be indoor pets!