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What happened to the hummingbirds this year? I don’t see any around my feeder.

Ben Steelman
StarNews

Hummingbirds are around Southeastern North Carolina right now, according to James F. Parnell, noted ornithologist and professor emeritus of biological sciences at UNCW, and local naturalist Andy Wood. Both have spotted hummers in their backyard.

There may be a couple of reasons why hummingbirds don’t seem to be as common now, in mid-summer, according to Wood, who used to be education director for Audubon North Carolina.

First, with the recent extreme temperatures, some hummingbirds might have flown off for cooler climes.

Second, and more likely, it might have to do with the hummingbirds’ nesting season. While feeding hatchlings, hummingbirds need high protein diets. This means they’re likely to avoid the sugar-rich feeders and instead to go after small insects and spiders.

This second explanation tallies with what hummingbird expert Lanny Chambers says at his website (www.hummingbirds.net). Chambers says that with ruby-throated hummingbirds in particular, the females nest in wetland areas and are likely to avoid the territories of male hummers while nesting.

After the baby birds leave the nest, expect hummingbird visits to double at your feeder, Chambers writes. Fewer natural food sources are available later in the summer, he adds, so it’s a good time to put up a hummingbird feeder, if you haven’t already.

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One Response to “ What happened to the hummingbirds this year? I don’t see any around my feeder.”

  1. On July 12, 2012 at 6:10 pm Justin wrote:

    We’ve had more hummingbirds this year than ever here in Leland. So much so, we’re refilling three 12-ounce bottles for them at least twice a week.