I am writing this blog on October 1. The signs of fall are all around me. Liatris (blazing star) and pineapple sage are blooming. In addition, the goldenrod that has taken root in our gardens and along the edge of our yard looks like they will be in full bloom before the end of the week. My wife and I have also noticed that we are now apparently feeding only three hummingbirds. The peak of the fall ruby-throated hummingbird migration is over in Middle Georgia. Consequently, it is time to decide whether we should take our feeders down.
Years ago, we decided to leave at least one feeder up throughout the fall and winter. There are a number of reasons why we do so. To begin with, a few of the hummingbirds that hatched this year either have not left our yard or are just arriving from points north of Georgia. It is possible to see them throughout the month of October. As such, our providing them with a source of quick energy allows them to obtain the fuel they need to continue on their journey.
Another reason is that rufous hummingbirds begin arriving in Georgia as early as August. As such, if we have a feeder stocked with fresh food, one might decide to take up residence here this winter. The rufous hummingbird is the hummingbird that most commonly winters in Georgia.
In addition, over the past several decades Baltimore orioles have been wintering in Georgia in greater numbers. These birds are fond of feeding on the sugar water found in hummingbird feeders.
By the end of October, the ruby-throated migration is over for the year. However, any hummingbird that appears at a feeder from November through February is likely going to be a western migrant.
I hope this will convince you to keep at least one feeder up in your yard at least through the end of the month. In addition, if you want to attract one the rare western hummingbirds or Baltimore orioles that visit Georgia each winter, I strongly urge you to maintain a hummingbird feeder throughout the entire fall and winter.
We have done so for quite some time and have been lucky enough to host a number of rufous hummingbirds and one Baltimore oriole in past winters.