The Hobby of Watching Hummingbirds

By Tim Weems

Birdwatching is your lifetime ticket to the theater of nature. I hope you'll find some good ideas here to help you have fun watching birds. This is one of the best stress relieving hobbies in the world, I promise!

It's getting to be that time of year again. Spring Time! backyard birding. Time! So, grab your binoculars, a nice tall glass of iced tea, and lets get started.

For birdwatchers in the southern states, hummingbirds are already returning... The rest of you, in the Midwest and Northeast, are still awaiting the first hummingbirds of spring to arrive.

In my back yard are several hooks for hummingbird feeders. I'll fill and hang the feeders during the first week of April, just before the earliest hummingbirds arrive in Alabama. The first one I see will be a male, since the males migrate about two weeks ahead of the females.

Did you know most small birds, including hummingbirds, migrate at night? I'm not sure why. Perhaps they do this to take advantage of the more calm air of night, or to avoid the predators who are hunting during daytime hours, or maybe they use the stars to guide them north. As migration time draws near, daily activity begins to change. Birds who migrate at night, but normally are active during daytime hours don't sleep as much through the night any more. hummingbirds of spring are awake a lot more at night. They are restless. And starting to feel hungry... real hungry. He needs to put on some fat. He weighs about 2.5 grams, but now he begins to eat more, to gorge himself. He eats his weight in food every day. He eats insect eggs and spiders, bugs, gnats and the nectar of flowers. He will double his weight, and still only weigh about 5 grams.

Every day the north calls for him to come,

And one evening in early March, as the sky is turning dark, he launches himself out over the Gulf of Mexico. To the North he flies into total darkness, all by himself, weighing no more than a nickel. Hours pass as he flies, burning the fat he stored like a truck burns diesel fuel. If the hummingbirds fat stores are sufficient, he will reach the Gulf Coast. If the hummingbirds fat stores are not sufficient, he will die. If he has prepared himself well, he will have flown for 18 to 22 hours, crossed 500 miles with no food or rest.

Toward the second week of April I'll see my first hummingbird of spring. I'll have those feeders out early, ready to greet the little fella as he hovers in to land for the first time this year in my own back yard.

I hope this article has helped you in some form or fashion, and once again I will tell you. This is one of the best stress relieving hobbies in the world, I promise!

woodworking plans including bird house plans and bird feeder plans