March is the month when ruby-throated hummingbirds begin appearing at backyard feeders across the Peach State.
Although most of folks have yet to see their first hummingbird of the year, there is no question the birds have already arrived. The earliest report that I received came in from a couple that lives in Butler. Their first bird showed up March 16, drank on three different occasions, and then disappeared.
Over the years, rubythroats have commonly arrive at my Forsyth home March 18. Full of anticipation of the arrival of my first bird of the year, I frequently checked my feeders throughout that special day. Alas, my efforts were in vain. Although, a hummer didn’t find its way to my Monroe County home on the 18th, one did show up at a couple’s home on the other side of the county.
In addition, a rubythroat made an appearance at the home of a couple in Bluffton on the 18th. This bird seemingly vanished the same day. However, on the 20th, their feeder was visited by three ruby-throated hummingbirds.
As I was writing this blog today (March 21), I looked out my office window and, low and behold, I saw a male ruby-throated hummingbird drinking nectar at a feeder hung nearby. To say the least, seeing this long-awaited bird made my day.
When ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive in early spring, in spite of the fact many flowers are blooming, nectar is hard to find. This is because, for the most part, early spring flowers produce meager amounts of nectar. Consequently, hummingbird feeders can be an important source of food for these early migrants. Our feeders enable these travel-weary, hungry birds with an easily obtainable source of food. In just a few minutes, they can eat more food than they can visiting scores of flowers in a much longer period.
However, each year some of the hummingbirds’ biggest fans do not have feeders hanging in their yards when the first hummingbirds arrive. The first hummingbird they often see is one hovering in the spot where a hummingbird hung last year. As a result, they guiltily scramble around preparing food for these tiny dynamos.
With that in mind, if you have procrastinated and not put out a feeder yet, do so as soon as possible. I am sure you do not want to disappoint the birds that bring you so much enjoyment throughout the spring and summer.
When you do spot your first hummer of the season, let me know when and where you see both your first male and female ruby-throated hummingbirds of the year.