I'll be interested in hearing reports, and the tantalizing hint about John's comments (which I find to pretty much always be well thought out and of interest) on the feeder question.
I'll throw in a couple of random thoughts, not that well thought out.
One, if I am driving to California (migrating) and happen across a really great chicken fried steak restaurant in Texas, will I ditch my plans for a sunny winter in SoCal and hang out in Texas, seemingly unable to resist the allure of tasty beef? Well maybe. But I suspect I will pull myself away from that trough of goodness and keep going. No matter how good the restaurant, I'm not likely to change my overall plans.
But, you say, that is a totally ridiculous example. People are way smarter and more focused than hummingbirds. Well maybe. But I need a map to migrate, and they seem to be able to do it without one, so who's to say...
Anyway, maybe a more realistic example. If feeders keep birds from migrating... why are we not smothered with Rose-breasted Grosbeaks (or Indigo Buntings, or [insert name of pretty much any species of migratory bird that uses your feeders] every winter? They hit seed feeders pretty hard in the fall... most folks keep or increase their seed offerings in the winter... why don't we "keep" those birds from migrating south? I think the answer is... we don't. So what would be so different about hummingbirds? Do feeders help increase the chance of survival in marginal conditions? Sure. Would some of these birds die without the feeders? Maybe. Do these marginally capable birds persist as a result and then die when conditions really get bad? That seems to make sense.
Now nothing to do but set flame-resistant helmet visor to "down", microwave some popcorn, and wait for the resultant firestorm ;-)
From: <carolinabirds-request...> [mailto:<carolinabirds-request...>] On Behalf Of John Fussell
Sent: Thursday, January 11, 2018 8:39 AM
Subject: northernmost Ruby-throateds
In the wake of the rain/sleet/snow and sharp cold spell, I would be
interested in knowing where the northernmost Ruby-throated Hummers in the
state are now.
Kelly Davis at Mattamuskeet has two, as does Ann Maddock at Cape Hatteras.
Here in the Morehead-Beaufort area there are a few birds, although not as
many as before the bad weather.
Are there any other Ruby-throateds north of Morehead-Beaufort, other than
the ones cited above?
Have numbers also decreased in the Wilmington area?
I also have some comments about whether or not feeders keep hummingbirds
from migrating south; I'll get around to posting those later.