For days, our attention has been focused on Hurricane Irma and its unbelievably strong winds. During the last few days as we have been awaiting the arrival of this terrible storm, the wind has increased significantly. This has made flying difficult for the hummingbirds gorging themselves at our feeders. Although wind gusts have already exceeded 20 mph, they will dramatically increase as the storm races toward Georgia. With that in mind, have you ever wondered how strong the wind has to be to ground these tiny aerialists? The answer may surprise you.
Obviously, they cannot fly in hurricane-force winds. The truth of the matter is when biologist placed hummingbirds in a wind tunnel; they found they could not sustain flight against headwinds that exceed 27 mph. When the wind soars above this threshold, hummingbirds seek the cover provided by the thick foliage of a shrub or tree.
We pulled in our birdfeeders this morning in anticipation of wind this afternoon (Monday). Within minutes I noticed a hummingbird looking for the feeder!! Now I feel guilty. Should I leave them out?!!
I wish I had received your request on the 11th, but as you can see from my most recent blog, our power was off. I don’t know how strong the winds were at your house but they only reached 29mph here. As long as the feeders are not tilting so much they nectar is spilling out, I would leave them out. I was truly surprised that the birds fed with fairly strong sustained winds. Remarkably, we still have a dozen or so hummers around our feeders today (Sept. 16th).