The wintering season for hummingbirds is slowly winding to a close with many hummingbirds starting their migration westward to their breeding grounds so I wanted to recap what was seen this season. One of my goals prior to the season was to be more prepared by setting up more feeders as well as provide natural food sources through winter blooming plants. Overall I set up between 9-12 feeders spread throughout the backyard as well as planted 5 Shrimp plants.
The results were better than I could have imagined and through the end of September until February, I recorded visits from 8 different hummingbird species with 3 of those species being life birds. I also hosted 30-40 birders who either added a few species as life birds or the first time they observed them in Harris County.
The lessons learned through observation were the addition of more feeders allowed for more timid or submissive species to by-pass the constant chases and territory defenses and grab a drink which in turn continued their presence in the yard. I also believe that the constant chase calls and displays attracted nearby hummingbirds and helped boost the chances of seeing a rare species. The addition of the Shrimp plants was also vital to attracting different species as I observed that the Anna’s Hummingbird would never visit a feeder and preferred the plant nectar and the constant blooming flowers more than likely attracted other hummingbirds as well.
I’m hoping that I will have that same experience again as wintering hummingbird season is quickly becoming one of my favorite times to bird. I’ll be taking the observations and lessons learned this year and making improvements to the yard and can’t wait to see how next wintering season turns out.