Date: 1/11/18 7:59 am
From: <susan...>
Subject: RE: northernmost Ruby-throateds
Dear John ad All,

Let me just say that hummingbirds are special creatures for sure--
something to marvel at winter or summer. Anyone who is lucky enough to
host one (or more) at this time of the year is certainly going to have
concerns about their well being-- and that has included me in the
past....

I expect that there are Archilochus hummingbirds at feeders north of
Buxton in Dare County. As hummingbirds go, they are not terrifically
cold hardy but we know that they can persist in maritime forest without
easy access to feeders so they are not as fragile as one might imagine.
But on the flip side, I would not be surprised if densities may have
been affected down into northeastern SC to some degree.

Please note that, regardless of the weather, hummers along the coast
move around a great deal. I have found this to be the case as a direct
result of my winter banding work over the years. So, not seeing hummers
does not mean that they have perished. And I am aware of some hosts who
have just had birds show up at their feeders this week-- and expect new
arrivals to continue for the remainder of the season.

Each season there is a period of colder weather down east that changes
the situation at people's feeders to some degree. And I am sure that
every winter there are some hummingbirds that do not survive, even if
the winter is not that harsh. A certain amount of mortality of immature
or older birds in particular is inevitable. But the habitat along the
Carolina coast (being relatively warm, wet and lush with evergreen
vegetation) remains excellent for hummingbirds year round, feeders or
not.

We will not know if there has been a significant impact on the wintering
population until early next winter.

Susan Campbell
Southern Pines, NC

 
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