With March arriving this week, if you are a fan of the ruby-throated hummingbird, I am sure you are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the first rubythroat of 2021.
Although some of the feathery, flying jewels are seen in Georgia during the month of February, the vast majority of the them don’t make landfall on the Gulf Coast until March. From there, where you live in the Peach State will dictate when you spot your first rubythroat of the new year.
For example, most years one doesn’t show up at the Johnson Homestead located in Monroe County until March 18. By that time, rubythroats have already been making regular visits to backyard feeders scattered across the Coastal Plain. However, many residents that live in the northern quarter of the state tell me they do not expect to see a rubythroat at their feeders until April.
Males are the first to arrive in your neck of the woods. Typically, females follow about 10 days later. However, if a female is spotted at your feeder before you ever see a male, more than not, the first wave of males has already passed through your area and either did not linger long enough for you to see them, or, simply bypassed your home entirely on their way north.
With the arrival of the year’s first hummers literally only days away, if you do not already have a hummingbird feeder hanging in your backyard, now is the time to put one up. If you do so, you enhance your chances of seeing a rubythroat as early as possible. In addition, you just might attract a rufous or other western hummingbird trying to store enough food to fuel his migration back to its breeding grounds far in the far west.
I hope that you will take the time to share with me the arrival dates of your first male and female rubythroats of the year. Your sightings will help me pin down the status of the 2021 ruby-throated hummingbird migration in Georgia.