In the Houston area, we see ruby-throated hummingbirds primarily during their spring and fall migrations. I get more excited about the fall migration, because it seems like it’s the longer of the two - mid-August through mid-October. It always seems to me that the spring season - mid-March through mid-May – is too short. I swear I only see them in April.
I also believe that fall-migrating hummingbirds move a bit slower, making them easier to spot at feeders. And we sometimes see wintering hummingbirds along the Gulf Coast. Rufous, buff-bellied, black-chinned and ruby-throated are the most common. But occasionally we’ll observe broad-tailed, calliope and Anna’s species.
Last weekend on the GardenLine radio program, we talked a bit about planting hummingbird attractors in the garden. But, as I pointed out in a recent Friday Profile on the Wild Birds Unlimited hummingbird feeder, it’s easy to attract these little birds with a proper feeder with lots of red on it. The nectar itself doesn’t need to be red - a dye isn’t necessary.
The nectar solution just needs to be four parts water, to one-part table sugar. It’s that simple. But you have to change it every three days to prevent mold, mildew, fungus or bacteria. And, yes, you have to boil the water to melt down the sugar. Any online information you may have seen about not boiling the water is absolute bunk.
Hang your feeder in an open area so the hummers can see the bright red. Then, watch them as they dart, flip, dip and flutter around to get the high-energy food they need to fuel their flight. For best results, use multiple WBU hummingbird feeders out of sight of each other. Hummingbirds are very territorial and don’t share well with others.
First fall appearance: Wild Birds Unlimited - Katy
To get your hands on awesome WBU hummingbird feeders, stop by any of the six Houston-area locations. I will be at the Katy store 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, and if you drop by while I’m there and purchase three or more WBU hummingbird feeders, I will throw in a signed copy of my book Texas Tough Gardening. I will also have copies on sale at a discount for anyone who buys just one WBU feeder. The store is at 23930 Westheimer Pkwy., just west of the Grand Parkway.
As many longtime GardenLine listeners and Facebook followers know, I’m already working on my next book, due to be published in early 2020. I assure you that it will feature totally new material, except for my lawn fertilization schedule (which is a must in everything I write). So, your home library should have both Texas Tough Gardening and whatever we name the next book. I have only four appearances from now through December, and those will be your last four chances to get signed copies of Texas Tough Gardening!