This is a question that has 2 very different and distinct answers:
- Take the feeders down by mid-September
- Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall.
Which is right? That is for you to decide for yourself, but here is the thinking behind each one.
Take the feeders down by mid-September so the hummers will leave on their migration and not stay too long because there is still an adequate food source.
This theory is based around the birds leaving due to a dwindling food source. When the summer flowers begin to wane and there is less nectar for them to eat it triggers them to start their migration.
If feeders are left out, this continues to give them a food source that they will rely on too long resulting in a late start to migration or worse yet not migrating at all. Birds who stay don’t make it through the winter since there is no natural food source for them.
Leave the feeders up until 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummer in the Fall so migrating birds can stop and refuel on their migration.
Scientists say that the birds leave not because of a lack of food source but because of their internal biological calendar. The shortening length of daylight in autumn triggers the hormones that cause hummingbirds to migrate. The birds become restless and the urge to migrate becomes too strong to ignore.
By leaving out feeders through September it gives them “refueling stops” on the way south.What to do? That depends upon who you talk to and what makes the most sense to you. Weigh in on your perspective, send us your thoughts by replying to the email.
We touched on the monarch arrival back in our last newsletter, as this annual migration is a unique and amazing phenomenon in North America. The monarch butterfly is the ONLY butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do! Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their wintertime home.
Where are they headed, anyway? Monarchs in Eastern North America have a second home in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. These monarchs fly south using several different flyways, and then merge into one HUGE single flyway in Central Texas. It is truly amazing that these monarchs know the way to the overwintering sites even though this migrating generation has never been to Mexico!
As for those worried about the monarch population size – don’t fret! Chip Taylor of www.monarchwatch.org says that they are expecting a reasonably robust population to migrate south this fall. To aid in this effort of protecting and ensuring a successful trip, monarch waystations have been set up along the migration route – 25,131 waystations to be exact – with Texas holding the number one spot with 2,110 monarch waystations! These waystations hold a variety of milkweeds and nectar sources for these travelers to feast on.
Want to track the monarchs?
It’s super easy! Just visit journeynorth.org to see a live map of Adult Monarch Sightings throughout the country. Here’s what the sightings look like as we write this article: