[CT Birds] from Massbirds RE: Humminngbird

martin swanhall mswanhall at earthlink.net
Sat Mar 24 17:42:44 EDT 2012


As a follow-up to my rather skeptical hummingbird post, here is an idea for an experiment that we -- as a connected community of a large number of bird-lovers -- could conduct right now. Let's try to find an early hummingbird!

If you have a hummingbird feeder, clean it, fill it up (1:4 ratio of water to sugar), and put it out in your yard. If you don't have a feeder, they are only $15 or so. Let's see what happens. Maybe nothing will visit it until 25 April, when we expect hummingbirds back. But maybe we will help to document a movement that the hummingbird map website folks already know about. If you get one, please do try to document it with a photo or at least a description of what field marks you saw.

One thing that is true of hummingbirds, is that they can occur pretty widely without being seen, unless there is a feeder to attract them. The rather recent (last 25 years) discovery that western hummingbirds are regular in the East in October and November is due almost exclusively to people having late-blooming flowers and leaving feeders out late. Without those two behaviors, we would have no concept of how regular Rufous, Calliope, Black-chinned, and Allen's Hummingbirds reach the East (very rarely, but still more regularly than anyone suspected 30 years ago!).

So, in this early spring, why not put your feeder out now and try to prove Marshall wrong! 


Marshall Iliff
eBird Project Leader

PS - Among the private responses to my post was this from Craig Taylor, our eBird reviewer in Illinois. 

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