Ed Fair has some helpful tips on attracting the migrating hummingbirds presently making ther way through Central Texas. His thoughts follow:
I presently have 35-40 hummingbirds visiting six feeders south of Lake Austin between Commons Ford Ranch and Emma Long Park. This is about average during this time period and comes from no special knowledge or tricks. It comes only from consistently hanging, and keeping filled, feeders during prime migration season over the past several years. I thought those interested might benefit from my non-scientific observations over the years:
1. Prime Migration Period. I have found the period from about August 25 until September 10 to be the prime period for the highest species diversity and highest individual numbers. During that period, I have had five different hummerspecies: Buff-bellied, Ruby-throated, Black-chinned, Broad-tailed (two consecutive years) and Rufous. If you are interested, this would be the best time to hang feeders and check them closely.
2. Prime Time of Day. Although birds are visiting throughout the day, the most frenzied activity at my feeders occurs between 7:00 - 8:00 AM and PM. It can drop off like a rock after 8:00 AM.
3. Identification. Sorting through the speedy little creatures can be a dizzying and frustrating task and requires considerable patience. I have found that the best identification tool for me personally is my ears. Most of us are familiar with the wing sound and chirps of Ruby-throated and Black-chinned. The wing and other noise of the other hummers is noticeably different. Buff-bellied has a loud and unique chip, Broad-tailed sounds louder and bigger and just plain different, and Rufous sounds like the rapid-fire tinkling of glass. The point is that if you hear something different, it probably is, so stick with it until you can see it.
4. Spacing. I place my feeders no more than 10 feet apart and I would suggest having at least two feeders. I think the hummers like the fact-paced action.Although there is plenty of yelling and screaming, everybody eventually gets to the table as the feeders drain quickly. If I place a single feeder in the yard away from the others, it will receive minimal attention while the more closely placed feeders stay full and active.
Hope this helps. Get those feeders up and good luck.
Watch for future field trip and meeting notices by the San Saba Bird and Nature Club in the San Saba News & Star or call Jimma at 325-372-3107.