Why do I see fewer hummingbirds in midsummer?

April 1, 2009
Hummingbirds may spend time at flowers, away from feeders, to feast on the tiny insects for protein. Photo by cbjphoto via Birdshare. Hummingbirds may spend time at flowers, away from feeders, to feast on the tiny insects for protein. Photo by cbjphoto via Birdshare.
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Adult male hummingbirds aggressively defend their territory, and if your yard is within the territory of one, he may drive all other male hummingbirds away during the nesting season.

If you have a nesting female nearby, she will visit your feeder only periodically, spending most of her time incubating her eggs. After the eggs hatch, she usually concentrates her feeding at flowers that supply tiny insects as well as nectar—insects contain the protein that her nestlings need in order to grow. Once the young have fledged, she continues feeding them for several days until the fledglings have mastered getting their own food. At this time, she may bring them to your feeders to teach them how to take advantage of this easy food supply, too. This is also when males begin migrating, with adult females soon following. So many of the hummingbirds that suddenly appear are actually migrants from farther north, just passing through.

 

Comments

  • Dee

    I put my feeders up later than usual. Didn’t see any for a few weeks. I keep cleaning and changing the food and even added another feeder. It’s well into June now ane I’ve only seen three glimpses of hummers. By now they’re usually fighting over them. I live in middle tennessee. I’m also worried. The only thing I may contribute to this is that we had an abnormal amount of rain this year so far. Maybe that’s the reason?

    [This comment has been migrated from an earlier post version by Cornell Lab staff.]

  • Chrysti

    I live in Northcentral Arkansas. I had a large amount of hummingbirds all last week, but this week I haven’t seen one. What could possibly be the problem?

    [This comment has been migrated from an earlier post version by Cornell Lab staff.]

  • Lori

    Will hummingbirds return if you are gone and they leave because they are not feed for a few days?

    [This comment has been migrated from an earlier post version by Cornell Lab staff.]

  • Laurie

    I am seeing very few hummingbirds in west central Mn this summer. This is unusual and my neighbors report the same. I hope it’s just a normal fluctuation but I hope they are not going the way of the Monarchs and honeybees.

    [This comment has been migrated from an earlier post version by Cornell Lab staff.]

  • Alison

    I get hummers at the beginning of June and then don’t see them for several weeks. am I doing something wrong or are they nesting during that period?

    [This comment has been migrated from an earlier post version by Cornell Lab staff.]