Date: 7/12/20 7:22 am
From: Allen Chartier <amazilia3...>
Subject: Re: [birders] Fewer hummers and butterflies for anyone else? A bit OT...
Hummingbird fans,

My only comment on this is that it seems to fit an annual pattern that I
have been addressing and noticing for years that is best explained by the
annual nesting cycle of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.

During the last week of June and first week of July, they are often
fledgling their first brood of young, which can result in the females being
much more occupied with finding insects for their large youngsters and not
visiting feeders very often. They do not intentionally feed nectar to their
nestlings as far as we know, as they really don't have the physical
adaptations to do so. So observers quite often report a decrease in
activity at this time. This year, they may have gotten a later start than
normal...remember the snow that some of us had on May 8!!! Second nests, if
they have a successful first nesting, will either be the first nest
re-used, or if that nest is too damaged, another nest will be constructed
nearby. In the deep south, female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are documented
to be triple-brooded through their breeding season, and have been observed
constructing a second nest while they are still feeding well-grown young in
their first nest. So, if they overlap like this in Michigan too, this
transition time can be VERY busy for them. Once incubation of their second
nest begins, they may have more time to visit feeders again.

What about the males? Well, they defend feeding territories and do not
"pair" with females, but will mate with as many females as they can. If
females are not visiting feeders, the males seem to lose interest somewhat,
and also at this time of year there are many more natural sources of nectar
available for them.

And finally, there are definitely variations in numbers from year to year
on a local level, but overall my studies have suggested that overall
populations are stable. So, declines at one set of feeders is very likely
to be offset by increases at another.. And our greatest numbers are always
during August and into early September, when the fledglings find their way
to the feeders, and the adults are finishing nesting for the season.

Allen T. Chartier
Inkster, Michigan
Email: <amazilia3...>
Photos: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mihummingbirdguy/collections/
Website/Blog: http://mihummingbirdguy.blogspot.com/



On Sat, Jul 11, 2020 at 7:24 PM WayneF <waynef...> wrote:

> We see one male and one female hummer regularly, but this year we haven’t
> seen more than one of each. Other years we have.
>
> They mostly come to feeders, but we have a few each of quite a variety of
> flowers.
>
> Wayne
>
> On Jul 11, 2020, at 5:18 PM, Lisa Lava-Kellar <lisalk...> wrote:
>
> 
> Hi, Birders,
>
> I am observing a dearth of native butterflies and hummingbirds this year.
>
> Not all of my plants are native, but many are. In the past (about 20
> years or so), hummingbirds have flocked to the Monarda. This year, there
> are lots of solitary bees, but no hummers that I've observed. Same with
> the hummingbird feeders I have out (3) with sugar water. The only place
> I've seen a hummer is at the annual salvia ("Hot Lips") in the shade.
> The one in the sun has had zero--that I've seen, anyway. Should I move it
> to a shadier spot? The other five in front and back yards are native
> perennial salvias. No hummers have been at any of them. Same with the
> annual Nicotiana. Perhaps I just haven't been around when the hummers
> visit.
>
> Also, in past years, black swallowtails, tiger swallowtails, monarchs and
> perhaps six other species of native butterflies have visited the plants in
> my yard. If anything, I've added to their menu this year. That said, I
> also added mulch. Could that be it? Could it be the True Green spray my
> neighbors on the corner used (whose yard does not intersect mine, really,
> except a bit in front) might be interfering?
>
> I am so puzzled this year! Hope that you might have some thoughts. I
> welcome them.
> Thanks,
> Lisa
>
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