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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Are Arriving! Here's How to Welcome Them!

First arrival Ruby-throated Hummingbird this morning at the Sanibel lighthouse, Sanibel, FL. So great to see that it made it across the Gulf of Mexico. It found some nice red flowers to feed on to refuel. It needs to stay in the South for a while, there is bad weather up north.

Rubythroats have been arriving in the South since Feb. but they do not reach northern areas until mid to end of April. Will you be ready? Here's how to attract them.

Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. That's because the flowers they favor in nature are mainly red tubular flowers. These flowers have their own adaptations to be attractive to hummingbirds, such as they have just the right nectar concentrations and long tubes so bees cannot access the nectar. Thus they give the hummers nectar and in turn the hummingbirds carry pollen on their foreheads from one flower to another, thus pollinating the flowers.

We roll out the red welcome mat by,

- Putting up lots of hummingbird feeders with red 
- Putting up hanging baskets of early red flowers such as hanging fuschia, etc. as most annuals and perennials are not blooming yet. Later we plant those flowers
- Tying red bows to the posts the hummingbird feeders hang from
- Keep feeders filled with fresh hummingbird nectar, change nectar every 2 days in hot weather.

Get the early hummingbirds and you may have some remain and breed. You will also attract lots of migrants that are passing through on their way to their previous breeding grounds. Even though these do not breed near you, they will remember you as a good stopping place on their next migrations.
If you live in the West, you may have had hummingbirds all year and/or lots of hummingbirds that have returned already, lucky you.

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