Hummingbirds

 

I assume many of you have been busy getting yard work done.  There are lots of things to do around the yard this time of year, but make sure you don’t forget your bird feeders and bird houses.  If, by chance, you don’t have any: Go get some!

I have our wren houses cleaned out and are ready for inspection by Mr. and Mrs. Wren.  As some of you know, when the males arrive back in our area they will let us know right away.  Although the females might be rather quiet the males are quite vocal during the mating season.  The males will typically wine and dine Ms. Wren by showing her several potential homes, and let her pick the one that she likes best.  She then proceeds to make the house a home.  Sound familiar?

I also recently put out the hummingbird and oriole feeders, even though I have not seen either species yet.  If you haven’t put yours out, you might want to do it soon.  It is always good to get them out before the birds return.  Maybe it is just my observations, but it seems that when I put the feeders out late, which occasionally happens, the birds don’t frequent them nearly as often.

I recently discovered a website dedicated to hummingbirds you might want to visit.  The website is run by a graphic designer in St. Louis that is also a bird bander specializing in hummingbirds.  Among the many interesting aspects of his website is a map of the ruby throated hummingbird migration.  You can even post your first spring observation of a ruby throat on his website.

By the way, hummingbird identification is rather easy in North Dakota because the ruby throated is the only species that breeds in our state.  From what I have heard and read, there is not even much of a chance that some other species will come through our area.

You may not have given it much if any consideration, but hummingbirds must eat something other than just sugar water.  They also need a source of protein.  So in addition to nectar, hummingbirds also consume lots of small insects and pollen grains for protein.  They have even been known to rob spider webs of small insects.  Apparently they can be quite opportunistic little feeders.

Chuck Lura

Natural North Dakota is supported by NDSU Central Grasslands Research Extension Center and Minot State University-Bottineau, and by the members of Prairie Public. Thanks to Sunny 101.9 in Bottineau for their recording services.

 



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