About Central Florida Gardener

Welcome and thank you for visiting Central Florida Gardener. Florida is a unique state in which to garden. It can be frustrating but also rewarding for gardeners who persevere. This blog was created as a resource for Florida gardeners, both new and experienced, in search of information specifically for Florida gardens.

You are invited to participate by leaving your comments, suggestions, tips and recommendations relevant to Florida gardening - don't be shy! Thank you for dropping by to learn more about gardening in the Sunshine state. I look forward to hearing from you! Susan

Monday, November 29, 2010

Are the Hummingbirds Still Here?

I just read a fascinating article, The Hummingbirds of Winter*, in the National Wildlife Federation's December/January issue. According to Bob Sargent, who runs the Hummer/Bird Study Group, "There's no truth to the myth that keeping a feeder up after Labor Day will stop hummingbirds from migrating."

For as many as 15 years now, hummingbirds have been spotted along the Georgia and Carolina coasts during the winter months. In an effort to try and answer numerous questions regarding the hummingbirds, Fred Bassett who heads up the nonprofit Hummingbird Research, Inc. has been banding the birds. To this date, he has banded almost 2,000 hummers of 10 different species in backyards from Mobile Bay (in Alabama) to Tallahassee and as far south as Tampa. Almost half of the banded birds have been rufous hummingbirds (pictured above) which nest in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.

So, if you leave a sugar-water feeder out during the fall and winter months, keep an eye out for hummers in your backyard. The Hummer/Bird Study Group is requesting that you notify them of any sightings at rubythroat@aol.com.

I see lots of hummers during the summer, but can't say I've ever seen one in the winter. Have any of you seen one in your garden?

*Note: I always have trouble getting the NWF.org website to load. If you can't access that article, you may want to Google "The Hummingbirds of Winter."


Floridagirl said...

Susan, we have them year-round down here by the river. I swear to you, I see them every day of the year. When the firebushes get temporarily fried, they nectar on the roses and bottlebrushes. I had never seen them year-round in any other garden, and I have many family members who live a bit NE of me, and they don't have them do this. I think I live on the boundary of their northern/southern range, and that is why. (We don't use hummingbird feeders here.)

Grower Jim said...

I've documented them in December in the Orlando area feeding on Porterweed. If we have a warm winter they may be more likely to stay around.

Eliza said...

I used to help out rehabilitating injured hummingbirds (tiniest wing splint ever) and we'd occasionally see them in the wintertime. They were usually torpid and needed a free meal before they continued on their journey.

Terra Mirabilis said...

Hey, Susan. They're winter visitors here. They've been here for at least a month, now. Somewhere between you and me is the line where they stay year round and where they only appear in winter.

(I had a rufous in my garden last year!)

Plus, I learned last year that hummingbird feeders don't attract hummers here; they stick to real flowers, so I've given my feeders to Goodwill. It certainly explains why they never worked.

Gardendipity from Seredipity in the Garden said...

Thank you for the perfect timing of your Hummingbird post, with the freezes coming soon the little hummers will need all the support they can get.

We're in the Central West Coast of Florida and we have had winter hummers here. We've had them in the summers for several years, and then last winter with all the freezes we found that hummers were again in our garden. We were astonished to see them in winter, and couldn't believe they would survive those back-to-back cold spells. Our winter hummers stayed through April.

And, thank you VERY much for mentioning my blog on your web site, how thoughtful and gracious! I really appreciate it.

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