Environmental Conditions that Affect Fall Hummingbird Migration

Categories: Seasonal Bird Feeding

Perky Pet Outdoor Shots 2010 050The modern-day hummingbird is a bird of wonder, weighing less than an ounce and possessing a territorial nature with the ability to chase larger birds, like hawks, away from their domain. But these colorful and ethereal birds are in trouble. 

Hummingbirds and hundreds of other species of birds are becoming increasingly threatened due to environmental and weather conditions affecting migration. Climate change is becoming a more immediate problem than ever before, producing a shift in weather patterns and temperatures.

A seven-year study published by the National Audubon Society warns of the rising threat of climate change affecting bird migration factors. The study reports a significant northern shift of migratory patterns of 588 different species of North American birds due to climate change.

What do these changes mean?

Hummingbirds, specifically the Allen’s hummingbird and the Rufous hummingbird, and various other birds, may be classified as endangered, or threatened, due to loss of habitat and food. Because they are migrating further north, their opportunities to find food and other mating birds, are being decreased.

Historically, these environmental shifts affecting bird migration factors took tens of thousands of years, but similar results can be seen in the next century, according to David Yarnold, president and CEO of the National Audubon Society, in an interview with NPR.

What can you do?

- Continue feeding and growing flowers that attract your regular hummingbirds. Keep feeders clean to promote bird health.

- Increase conservation efforts in your community to safeguard critical habitat and curb greenhouse gas emissions by informing others and contacting local decision makers and politicians, as advised by the National Audubon Society.

- Preserving critical coastal habitats is crucial for sustained bird migration factors. Many birds travel across the Gulf of Mexico during hurricane season. These birds can make the 600-mile trip all at once if necessary, but if they are faced with fighting unfavorable winds with no stopover areas or areas with little food supplies, they are likely to not survive. We can ensure that these birds survive migration by making certain that there are enough birds populating the area and plenty of bountiful land to feed, bathe, and mate.

Hummingbirds and other migratory birds do not have to suffer from climate change affecting environmental conditions. We have the power to defy these effects. What have you done in your community to preserve bird migration factors? 

 

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Bird Feeding On A Budget

Photo Courtesy of Karen LockwoodBird feeding can be a budget busting hobby, but only if you let it! Read on to discover many bird seed alternatives and cheap bird feeding ideas that can keep your wallet, and yard, full!

Take care of what you already have

If you’ve already spent the money on quality feeders and bird baths, don’t let them deteriorate. Fix or sustain the materials you already have.

- Store clay bird baths inside for the winter so they don’t crack from freezing temperatures. Clay absorbs moisture. When moisture is absorbed and freezes, the clay expands and causes cracking.

Clean your bird feeder often to prevent the spread of avian disease and to promote good bird health. 

Reduce food consumption by Starlings
Starlings typically come in large groups and consume a lot of food. They crowd the feeders, cause structural and environmental damage with their droppings, and keep other birds you really want to see, away from your feeder. 

- Offer food they don’t typically prefer, like safflower seed, which attracts purple finches, cardinals, chickadees, nuthatches, tit mice, and grosbeaks. Serve unblended seed in tube feeders, hopper feeders, or open trays. Squirrels, grackles, and crows don’t care for safflower either!

- Serve food upside down because Starlings physically cannot cling to an upside-down feeder. There are speciality feeders, like this deluxe thistle feeder, that has feeding ports which allow goldfinches to feed in an upside-down position.

Other bird seed alternatives to offer to birds include fruit and vegetable seeds, dried fruits, peanut butter and/or jelly, apples, pears, nuts, and unbuttered popcorn.

DIY hacks 

Love bird feeding but don’t want to break the bank with expensive feeders, waterers, baths, and food? Try these do-it-yourself projects and bird seed alternatives that are budget friendly, fast, and simple solutions! Most materials can be found at your local hardware or grocery store.

- Check out our full list of DIY Bird Feeders on the Perky-Pet® Pinterest profile.

- You can even make your own bird bath, to give your feathered friends the opportunity to splish and splash!

- Another way to bird feed on a budget is by making your own hummingbird nectar. Simply use the 4:1, water:sugar, ratio; boil four cups of water and add sugar, stirring until dissolved, cool and store.

 

Budget bird feeding is a fun, and fulfilling, contribution to the environment, but don’t skimp on the health and well-being of wild birds. Protect and maintain their lifestyle just like you would your own, with care and commitment.

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Hummingbird Migration Q&A: How Do Hummingbirds Find Feeders?

Courtesy of Pat PhillipsVery soon your hummingbird pals will be packing their bags, so to speak, and heading south for some well-earned vacation time. Migration is fun and exciting (especially for the birds), but we know you may have some questions, especially in the early stages of migration. Whether you want to know more about migration in general, or you want to know how to help your feathered friends, we’re here to help you. Let’s start by answering six of the most common hummingbird migration questions that we get asked.

1. When exactly is hummingbird migration?

Most hummingbirds typically spend their winters vacationing in Central America or Mexico. In order to make it there in time, hummingbirds begin to travel during August and September. The migration is usually complete by the end of October. However, depending on the seasons and air temperatures, actual migration patterns may vary.

2. How do hummingbirds know when to migrate?

Pure instinct plays a large role, but hummers also realize when it’s time to migrate based on their surroundings. They may notice things like daylight changes, or the decrease in the amount of flowers, nectar, and insects (aka their food source). When all those things start adding up, the hummingbirds know it’s time to head south!

3. I’m used to filling my feeder every couple weeks, but now I have to do it every day. Is this because of migration?

You bet it is! In order to maintain energy during their trip, hummingbirds usually put on 25 to 40 percent more weight beforehand. This means not only will they be eating more than usual, but there will also be more hummingbirds stopping by to eat as well! To ensure that hummingbirds find feeders, keep yours well stocked to help your feathered friends put on more weight to prepare for their long journey ahead.

4. So, how do hummingbirds find my feeders?

Well, hummingbirds are creatures of habit. They typically follow the same migration pattern each year and often breed and feed in the same beautifully birdscaped yards. But there are a few things that you can do to help hummingbirds find feeders: keep feeders full and clean, place feeders in open places with cover nearby, and entice them with landscaping.

Perky-Pet® Hummingbird Feeding Tip: Keep your Perky-Pet® hummingbird feeders full and hanging in your yard until the threat of frost or below freezing temperatures.

5. I live in the south. Is there anything special I should do to help with migration?

As many more hummingbirds will be headed your way, your feeder’s nectar level will deplete faster than usual. Something those birders in the south can do to help is to put out more feeders around October. Your feeder may be the last stop for many hummingbirds before they show their passports and exit the country, so it’s helpful if you have more places for them to feed before they move on.

6. I’m really going to miss the hummingbirds while they’re gone. Is there anything I can do to prepare for their return in the spring?

We are going to miss the hummingbirds too! But of course there are things you can do to help prepare for their return. Start stocking up for next hummingbird season by flying on over and getting your hands on your favorite Perky-Pet® bird feeders. You can plant both early- and late-blooming flowers so there will be plenty of nectar for the hummingbirds when they return. In addition to this you can provide nesting materials so when the hummingbirds return, they can easily start to build their family!

 

 

What other hummingbird migration questions do you have? Ask us in the comments section below!

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