Early spring, the tiny ruby-throated hummingbirds leave Central America and Mexico and head for North America.
It’s the beginning of the spring hummingbird migration into their breeding grounds. These tiny birds begin the flight from their wintering grounds in Central America and Mexico to North America in February. We start to see them in our area in mid-March.
Male hummingbirds are the first to arrive. They are followed by females and juvenile males.
You can track sightings of ruby-throated hummingbirds using this map:
Food Plants for Hummingbirds
By including food plants in your garden, you can attract hummingbirds to your yard. Some of our favorite native plants that hummingbirds use for food include
- Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
- Coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
- Crossvine (Bignonia capreolata)
- Red buckeye (Aesculus pavia)
- Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Some of our favorite non-native plants that produce food for hummingbirds include
- Blue salvia (Salvia guaranitica)
- Hot lips salvia (Salvia micorphylla)
- Zinnia (Zinnia spp.)
- Lantana (Lantana spp.)
For a full list of hummingbird attracting plants, visit http://extension.msstate.edu/content/attracting-hummingbirds-mississippi-gardens.
Hanging feeders in your backyard can bring in lots of these tiny birds and they will put on quite an acrobatic show! The recipe for making your own hummingbird nectar is:
- One cup white sugar
- Four cups hot water
- Boil the water for 2 minutes.
- Allow it to cool completely before filling your feeder.
- Never use honey, artificial sweeteners, or red coloring
Here are some tips for keeping your feeders clean and your hummingbirds healthy:
- Hang the feeder in the shade to keep the sugar water from fermenting
- Change the sugar water regularly – usually about twice a week or more in hot weather
- Clean your feeder each week with a solution of one part vinegar to four parts water. Be sure to use a small pipe cleaner to clean out the feeding holes and remove all mold. Rinse the feeder really well (3 times with plain water) before refilling it.
We hope you enjoy hummingbird season!