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This Morning Outside

by Diane Porter

Oct.8, 2014
Birdwatching Dot Com
Fairfield, Iowa

Although I hadn't seen a hummingbird for five days, this female Rubythroat appeared at 7:45 this morning. She drank and drank. Hungry!

She's still got to reach the Gulf Coast and then fly nonstop over 600 miles of ocean to the Yucatan Peninsula.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Some folks think they should take down their hummingbird feeders, for fear they'll keep hummingbirds from migrating. Not so. Hummingbirds go south when ordered by their internal clocks, which are kept in time by the shortening days.

Your feeder cannot hold them when the clock strikes GO. But long after you think the hummingbirds are all gone, a single bird may whiz in and light up your porch on a cold October morning. Maybe it's coming from far to the north, and maybe it got a bit of a late start for some reason. The long, sweet drink you offer might help it survive, to return and stop by your place on its way north next spring. Hummingbirds remember where they found food the previous year, and they do come back to check it out again.

This is why I keep making new sugar water and replenishing the hummingbird feeder with clean nectar until the solution freezes. The chance for a visit like the one I enjoyed this morning is well worth throwing out a few cups of unused sweet water.


© 2014 Diane Porter

—Diane Porter

Chickadee on hand

See more pictures
from This Morning Outside

 



Dr. JB's
Clean Feeder


Watch hummingbirds up close...