Last spring, in 2018, we saw the first hummingbirds ever at the home we have lived in for over 40 years. We enjoyed watching the birds all summer and then were in for a surprise in September when they began massing at our home. We had not seen more than a handful of hummingbirds at the same time all summer. It was fascinating to watch them while we ate supper on our patio. Although they do not tend to migrate in a flock like other birds, they do start preparing for migration in late August or early September.
I learned that the hummingbirds were eating more nectar in preparation for migration south for the winter. I did a bit of research on hummingbirds last summer but I’m afraid that I did not remember to check early enough this spring for the date hummingbirds would return from the south. I got the feeder out in late May or early June this year but I have since learned that hummingbirds often arrive in April in central Iowa. I can put my feeders up but if a freeze is expected, I will need to take them inside for the night.
I plan to put a note on my feeders when I take them in this fall to remind me to get them out earlier next spring. I’ve learned that hummingbirds have great memories and do return to a spot they fed at the previous year. If they arrive and there is no feeder present, they may look elsewhere and not return. My feeders will remain out until October this fall or until 2 weeks have passed without seeing a hummingbird. I have enjoyed them this summer and miss having something to look at while I’m working in my kitchen.