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Thursday, January 5, 2012

Over-wintering hummingbirds

One of my Facebook Friends reported recently that he had a hummingbird visiting his yard last week. I replied that the last one I had seen in my yard had been on December 2. My friend is located quite a bit farther south than me, so a hummingbird in late December is not all that unusual in his area and we know that more and more hummingbirds are over-wintering here. They've even been reported in the Magnolia area, not that far from where I live, but I certainly wouldn't EXPECT to see one in my yard at this time of year.

Surprise, surprise!

I was sitting in my backyard today, idly watching the birds feeding and planning my next chore in the garden when a tiny, tiny bird crossed my field of vision. I blinked and looked again. Sure enough - it was a hummingbird!

The bird was flitting around the shrubbery along my back fence. I did not have my binoculars on me and he was too far away for me to identify the species. My guess would be a Rufous since I did have a few visiting my yard in late summer and autumn and they are the most likely species to spend the winter here.

There are very few blooms in my garden to sustain a nectar sipper at the moment, so I immediately went inside and mixed up some sugar water and rehung one of my feeders in the backyard. It seems that I've spent the autumn taking these feeders in and putting them out again.

I haven't seen the little bird at the feeder since I put it out - or anywhere else in the yard, for that matter. But now that I know he's around, I'll be keeping an eye out for him. I'll keep the feeder out for him, too.


  1. How exciting. I'm sure if he finds the feeder he will be back. I've always read to take the feeders down as not to encourage birds to stick around and help them migrate. I wonder how many birds I missed seeing since it looks like they are sticking around and not going further south now.

  2. I'm hoping he'll be back and that I'll be able to get a better look at him, Rambling Wren.

    I've read that bit about taking down the feeders so you don't encourage the birds to stay, but I'm not so sure there is any truth to that. If a bird feels the urge to migrate, I believe he's going to go, regardless of the incentive of sugar water. But the climate is changing and, with it, the ranges of birds. Who knows? In coming years, hummers may be common here in winter.

  3. How exciting - I hope you manage to snap a photo of him.

  4. My feeders are pretty busy these day, but no hummingbirds yet. A fellow garden blogger here is Austin blogged about seeing a hummingbird on Jan 2nd. Here's the post if you're interested:

  5. I did actually manage to get some pictures today, Jayne. Not sure how good they are, but as soon as I have a chance to upload them I'll post one or two.

  6. Thanks for the heads-up, Ally. I'll check out Gardening in Austin.