Answers From the Hummingbird Expert
Teaching Suggestions | Q & A
Q: What are some of the best places in the United States and in the world
to see hummingbirds?
Q: Since the weather is colder and there are fewer natural nectar sources
around, should I make the hummingbird solution stronger at the beginning
of the season for the new arrivals?
Q: How is it that hummingbird chicks don't try to throw out the other chick
in the nest as do many other bird species? Especially where one chick
is usually hatched a few days before the other. It would be so easy for
that bird to get rid of the second and then have no
competition for the food.
Q: What is the normal life span for a Ruby-throated hummingbird if they do
not die to the usual challenges of their lives?
Q: What are similarities and differences of Rufous and Ruby-throated
in terms of feeding and breeding behaviors? Why do
Rufous mate so far north compared to the broader range of Ruby-throated?
Q: I painted my door and shutters red last year. Will this cause a problem
with the hummers?
Q: What is the timing schedule: putting out food,
first sightings? I live in Arlington, Virginia. Several neighbors have had hummingbirds
visit them. I have tried for several years and have not had any luck.
Q: Is there a science table that has experimented with sugar water and temperature? I would love to know how soon after sugar water is made does bacteria
start to grow, how long before it is now harmful to hummers and what
kind of harm can happen to them drinking bacteria-filled sugar water?
In the hot southern states, we say, “Third day clean; put in fresh.”
Q: When should I put my feeder out? I live near Lefroy, ON, Canada and am
not sure when they first arrive in our area.
Q: If a hummer is injured, how does it cope? We
had a hummingbird (female) last summer whose legs and feet were missing.
She could not land to drink from the nectar feeder. Would she be able
Q: What size is a hummingbird egg?
Q: How would I go about finding where they nest? This question
is about the Anna Hummingbirds in the Northwest. My house is surrounded
by tall thick bushes and I have 4 feeders one at each side of the house.
There are at least two females
I know at my place.
Q: Why do hummingbirds fly so close, sometimes in my face? I've always been fascinated by hummingbirds coming right up to me and checking me out. They seem to come out of nowhere.
I don't wear any particular color that would attract them like red, but
usually drab colors, nor do I wear
cologne or anything that possibly they might smell. They would come right up to my face and hover for a bit, as if to
see who I am. Sometimes they would come back a couple more times to do
the same. It occurs randomly throughout the year not in particular climate
Just wondering if this is all part of their natural nature?
Q: Are the birds who nest around my house the same birds
that are being reported along the Gulf? I
live in Central Vermont and have fed hummingbirds faithfully at my house
for 23 summers. Our resident hummers arrive the first or second week of
May. Do my hummers start out later
and have to fly farther because the shorter-distance places are already
Q: Is it possible hummers return to the same location year after year?
Q: Do the Cooper's Hawks live peacefully with the hummers? Is there a synergy between the hummingbirds and chicken hawks? Here in Akron, Ohio we typically see the hawks 2-3 times
The hawks in my area are very aggressive; I've witnessed bird kills
and squirrel kills.
Q: What is the best time of year we could expect to attract a hen to a hummingbird
house in our area? We have a vacation home in Rancho Mirage, California, and we're interested
in putting up a "hummingbird home" in an effort to attract them.
Our feeders are active all year long and we are excited
to see if we can get them coming to our house to nest as well.
Q: Do the same hummingbirds come to my house every year? Do they
remember me? They come the same day every spring on April 29th.
Q: Is it unusual for a hummer to remain here all winter? We had a male Rufous spend the entire winter feeding from two small feeders
that we left up after the October migration of the Rubies. I even managed
to get one image of him feeding on the day it snowed and was 15 degrees
here in Willis, Texas. Normally
we remove all the feeders after October 15th but we put small ones up after spotting