Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Hummingbirds this Spring

Some homeowners may be concerned for hummingbirds because blooms on thier landscape ornamentals were damaged. Hummingbird migration is determined in part by photoperiod but also is influenced by immediate weather patterns (south winds mean easy flight to the north and warmer weather) and the availability of food (birds move to new areas as food becomes available in the spring). Therefore, hummingbird migration (and migration of all birds from the tropics) was later than average this year, and only recently picked up as our winds switched to the south. This weekend I noticed that some natives are still blooming out there. Although, many natives were frozen because they were a week or two ahead of schedule. We lost a lot of our honeysuckle, azaleas, dogwood blossoms, redbuds, tulip poplar, and many wildflowers.

There should be no concern for hummingbirds because some blooms were damaged in the Easter freeze. Native plants should fair better than most other varieties because their blooming periods are better aligned with chronological patterns, including extremes, in the local weather. Regardless of all the worry, I believe the hummingbirds will be fine because they are able to eat insects and spiders, and often do so preferentially during the spring and summer.

For more information on flowers to attract hummingbirds, click here.

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