Noticed a sudden increase in the number of hummingbirds at the feeders this month?
It’s not your imagination, nor is it an invasion of birds from somewhere else. It’s the new crop of youngsters.
The young birds of the year look like their mothers at first, regardless of sex. And that’s why most people think that there are just more females around all of a sudden. Hummingbird authorities do not mention any discernible differences between juveniles and females, but I believe that they can be identified by their shorter tails. This appearance doesn’t last long, because the youngsters grow tails as long as their mother’s in a short period of time, but at first, I believe there is a noticeable difference.
Another interesting aspect of the increased number of hummingbirds at the feeders is that the dominant male will tolerate the newcomers. Early in the breeding season, the dominant male will try to run off interlopers at the feeders, but the youngsters seem to be allowed to feed. Is it possible that these youngsters carry the genes of the dominant male, and that he recognizes them as his offspring?
With the increase in the number of hummingbird bellies to keep filled, the sugar water will disappear faster. This requires more frequent fillings to keep up with the increased demand. Keep in mind that the mixture is still one part table sugar to four parts water; heated to dissolve the sugar, but cooled before serving.
Have you noticed an increase in hummingbirds in your neighborhood?
We always enjoy hearing your stories!