Warren County Species Spotlight: Ruby-throated Hummingbird
LEBANON, OH -- It’s late April and local bird-watchers are reporting Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have begun their migration wave back into our area. The males arrive several weeks before the females and can easily be attracted to nectar feeders which can supplement their diet provided by our early spring wildflowers.
A male may make the area around a feeder his territory while awaiting the arrival of a mate. When she arrives they may set up housekeeping in the area and remain in place for the entire summer visiting the feeder many times each day.
The female builds a very small nest about the size of a pipe bowl. The nest is constructed of lichens, moss, spider webs, and plant down. It is attached to a tree branch and difficult
to spot. Here she lays two small eggs no bigger than a peanut, eventually raising her brood to the
fledgling stage and bringing them to the feeder with her in late summer.
The parents and fledglings may remain daily visitors until late October. Now is the time to put out your hummingbird feeders to encourage our arriving migrants to remain close for you to enjoy.
The feeders are widely available where garden supplies are sold. They are not expensive and can easily be filled with a small amount of sugar from your kitchen dissolved in tap water.
The feeders should be emptied, cleaned and refilled frequently to prevent the solution from becoming sour and encouraging the growth of mold.
In another month or so our flower gardens will be abloom providing further encouragement for the hummingbirds to remain nearby for our viewing pleasure. I have found that they are strongly
appreciative of zinnias and will spend a lot of time and effort obtaining nectar from them.
Take a minute and put a nectar feeder out in your yard where you can see it from your window. You
may be surprised at how quickly it is discovered. There have been years when my first male Ruby-
throated Hummingbird was sipping from my feeder just hours from when I put it out.