Story By Wild Birds Unlimited, Tampa
Photo of Calliope Hummingbird by Tammy Lyons
Waiting for something often makes it more exciting.
This is especially true as you anticipate the first glimpse of a hummingbird each spring. The excitement of their arrival at your feeders is guaranteed to bring joy to your heart and a smile to your face.
So be patient and rest assured that hummingbirds are on their way. Their arduous 2,000-mile journey from Central America will finally end in your own backyard! Indeed, you have won the lottery…and the payout is that these beautiful jewels will continue to brighten your world until the end of summer.
But not all hummingbirds are on the move. Some over-winter and stay right here in Florida, so you may have them year-round.
Providing nectar feeders and a variety of appropriate native plants is your best bet to entice these summer visitors.
Be it a juvenile or adult hummingbird, watching them at the feeder is always a special treat.
Check for a hint of yellow pollen on their forehead from the flowers they have visited. Listen for their chittering or squeaking calls and the incessant hum of their wings. Observe their tongue moving in and out of their bill up to 12 times per second as they lap up the sweet nectar. Hummingbirds do not feed by sucking up nectar with their bills. They feed by using their forked, open-grooved tongue to draw the nectar into their mouth with every lapping action.
So many reasons to be impatient for their return…but the payoff is always well worth the wait.