LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) - Hummingbirds have been spotted more frequently in backyards in the past few weeks, but this is nothing unusual. According to the director of bird conservation with Audubon Arkansas, Dan Scheiman, it is just a clear sign that the season is about to change.
“This is the time where when we are going to see a lot more we have newborns that were born around here this year but also hummingbirds that were breeding further North are starting to migrate South again,” he said.
These may be small birds, but they are gathering from Canada and the Eastern U.S. to fly to Mexico and Central America for the winter.
The ruby-throated hummingbird is Arkansas’ only hummingbird that breeds in the Natural State. But in the winter there is a slim chance a hummingbird that is normally out west will be seen here, Scheiman said.
After October most of the ruby-throated hummingbirds will have left the region and the feeders can be taken down.
“When you go a week or so and no visitors that’s when it's time to take your feeder down,” he said.
You will have to wait until spring for the return of the hummers, and they will be on the lookout for your feeder.
“Birds learn where your feeder is and they will come to the space where the feeder is year after year,” Scheiman said.
If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, you can hang a feeder or plant native plants that will attract the birds.
The solution that hummingbirds drink from a feeder is one part sugar to four parts water.
Also, never add red coloring to the sugar water thinking it will be more attractive. Scheiman said it can be bad for the birds and they don’t need it.
Weekly maintenance of washing the feeder with soap and water will ensure that the food is fresh and does not contain mildew.
If you are concerned about ants use a moat above the feeder, which can be purchased at a garden store or you can make your own.
Planting native plants like coneflower or milkweed will also attract the birds.
Audubon Arkansas is having a sale on native plants to Arkansas on Sept. 22 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For big hummingbird enthusiast, there is a hummingbird festival in Holly Springs Mississippi on Sept. 7 where visitors can get very close to the hummers and learn more about them.