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Hummingbird Scouts

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Hummingbird Scouts

Hummingbird, scouts? For many years I had always believed that the first hummingbirds that showed up in Spring where “scouts.” These brave souls came early to find the best places to eat and raise a family. Then somehow letting the other birds in the south know it is safe to head north. Well, apparently I have been living a lie.

Just Early

I have now read this in many places it seems to make a lot of sense that these early arrivers are not scouting out places for anyone but themselves. Hummingbirds are actually very territorial and solitary birds. They really don’t play well with others. Mating pairs are only together for a season.

Migration

Like many birds, Hummingbirds migrate south for the winter. Most end up in Mexico. As the daytime gets longer and temperatures rise Hummingbirds begin to move North to spread out and find new places to eat. The male Hummingbirds are the first to head back North. These are the ones associated with the “scout.” So their scouting is really just the strongest biggest males heading out to stake a claim on the best spots. Areas with the most food and shelter. The males are actually quite aggressive towards other males and will defend their territory.

Now’s the Time

These early travelers will probably get the most benefit from your Hummingbird feeders. Getting a food source out early can help attract the early males to your area as there will not be as many food sources early in the spring. The key to this will be cleanliness. The worst thing to do is get a gigantic feeder and fill it to the brim with some food. Chances are that food will sit in your feeder and go bad. Hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned regularly. This time of year your feeder should be a small one with a very small amount of food. You should inspect these feeders regularly for activity and if they go for a few days without any birds showing up Empty the feeder and clean it thoroughly.

This article was quite an eye-opener for me. Let me know what you think and your experiences with feeding Hummingbirds in Idaho.

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