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RETURN OF THE HUMMINGBIRDS TO COLORADO

  
  
  
  

-Team Murphy Realty Land Marketing GuideHimmingbirds in Colorado Spring

     In the springtime many people anxiously await the return of the entertaining little hummers.  We have had reports of early arrivals already but most won’t arrive until June.  Colorado has about ten species that travel thru our state but we basically have four species that spend much time here.  We have the Broad-tail, Calliope, Black Chinned and the mean little Rufous.

Most of these little birds spend the winters in Mexico and Central America and return to spend the summers in the US and Canada.  Some scientist think some Rufous are beginning to spend the winter in the southeast section of the US due to dry conditions in Mexico.  Now the Rufous  travels up the west coast in the springtime to Washington and into British Columbia and it comes into Colorado in July and August on its way south for the winter. It is absolutely mind-boggling the distance these tiny little birds travel in their life time.

Colorado Real Estate Guide    One great myth about the hummingbird is that they hitch rides on other migrating birds, primarily Canadian Geese.  Scientist say there is absolutely no truth to this myth.  The truth is these little creatures have a tremendous capacity to travel long distances. The Ruby-throat hummingbird flies non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico in the spring and fall on its migration path.

Hummingbirds are small, the largest we see in Colorado is the Blue-throated which will weigh 8.4g and the smallest is the Calliope weighing 2.5g. Although small and normally peaceful they are territorial and will protect their territory with the heart of a Eagle. This makes for some interesting bird watching when the Rufous arrives in mid-summer.

Hummers are thought to live three to four years but one Broad-tail female captured and banded in Colorado in 1976 was captured once more in Colorado in 1987 making her at least 12 years old.  Most hummers have a wing beat of 53 times per second and one Blue-throated had a heart beat of 1260 times per minute when checked. With all this energy expended these little fellows eat up to five times their body weight every day.

Feeding Hummingbirds is one of the most popular activities of the summer season.  If you do it according to the DOW instructions it can be a pretty intensive assignment.  It takes a 4 to 1 ratio of water to sugar and the feeders should be cleaned once a week. Use only white granulated sugar and food coloring is not necessary with today’s bright red feeders.  Never use honey or artificial sweeteners because honey can cause fatal infections in hummingbirds.

The male birds will arrive about three before the females.  The males are looking for a special territory so as to better attract a female on their arrival.  The males sometimes arrive before flowers are in bloom so its not a bad idea to have a feeder or two out for these early birds. Many of us have heard that you should bring your feeders in on Labor Day to encourage the hummers to get on their way before winter sets in. Hummingbirds migrate in response to hormonal changes which are triggered by decreasing sunlight.  Nothing you can do will make them stay too long.  In fact they need to fatten up for the journey, they will nearly double their normal weight in order to survive the flight to winter habitat.  Most experts suggest you leave your feeder out at least a week after you have seen the last hummer.  This is for the sick or injured that leave later than normal.

Feeding and watching the hummers is a very enjoyable part of the summer season and it is very beneficial for the little birds.  They have amazing memories and will return year after year to a place they have found food plentiful.

Comments

I'm new to Colorado so thought I'd 
see if I can entice these little birds to my feeder. 
 
I'm putting mine out May 1 
Wish me good luck
Posted @ Saturday, April 21, 2012 6:37 PM by sue
Morrison, CO 7500' - First hummer for 2012 Saturday 4/21
Posted @ Sunday, April 22, 2012 7:14 AM by Darren & Michelle Hesse
saw our first hummer yesterday at our home off Broadmoor Valley Rd. in Colorado Springs. Will be getting our feeders out today.
Posted @ Monday, April 23, 2012 9:07 AM by robert grover
I would like to know or understand where the hummers went. I live in Craig and 4 years ago we had 8 feeders hung up and I would refill them daily because they were empty. We had so many hummers. I went through 5 pounds of sugar every week feeding them. It was like this 4 years in a row. Then we dropped down to barely even seeing one hummer all summer. I havent't changed anything. I have flowers planted for them besides the feeders. Normally the first hummer arrives April 20 or so. I wonder is floods, wildflowers and loss of habitat part pf the overall problem. 
 
Posted @ Thursday, April 26, 2012 2:14 PM by Donna Booker
Donna wrote that the slow attendance has been noticed.....I agree, these last years there has been a significant attendance drop... Although @ the Air force academy golf Course, those little guys are on a steady feeding frenzy, no reduction in attendance.
Posted @ Friday, May 11, 2012 3:27 PM by Detlef Sarbok
When can I expect to sight hummingbirds in Pueblo, Co?
Posted @ Friday, June 15, 2012 1:16 PM by Gene Castellucci
I had similar experiences with lots of hummers for a few years, then a year or two with harly any. A neighbor, during the time when I had no hummers was heavily feeding crows in order to keep cats out of her "bird sanctuary". i think the hummers did not like the influx of huge crows. The neighbors didn't like it either and authorities were called in to discourage the crow feeding. A year or so later, the hummers were back!
Posted @ Thursday, February 14, 2013 10:47 AM by Suz
I noticed oodles of Hummers early last year (2012) in 11 Mile Canyon. They were mostly Black-Chinned Hummers. I estimate hundreds in a very small area. This was long before I saw any in the Colorado Springs SW area. They seemed to populate the higher elevations before the warmer lower ones. However in 2011, I saw a hummer in March in the Cheyenne Mtn. Resort area. Go figure..
Posted @ Thursday, February 14, 2013 1:00 PM by Robert Grover
When are hummers expected in Pueblo West? I made one sighting years ago around July 3rd, when I lived here the first time.
Posted @ Friday, March 08, 2013 11:57 AM by CONNIE VOLLINGER
Have had the feeders out since mid March in case of early arrivals. With the lower temps at night still, I suspect we won't see too many birds until mid April.
Posted @ Sunday, March 31, 2013 3:48 PM by Rick Kimmick
Saw the first Hummer of 2013 this morning, 4/16/13, about 7:30am. It was snowing and it flew by looking for my feeders. They were not up yet but I went ahead and put one out with food to get them through the cold spell. We live in SW Colorado Springs on the CCofC golf course. Good to have them back. With just a glimpse, I guess it was a black chinned or broad tailed.
Posted @ Tuesday, April 16, 2013 9:29 AM by robert
I live in Castle Pines. I had a male hummer show up 3 days before the last snow. I left my feeder up and just brushed the snow off. I didn't see him again until the day after it snowed, and it had warmed up. A female just showed up this morning. She looks pooped! Last year I'd have 13 or 14 at a time at the feeder. Predominantly broadtails. Several rufous and one other I haven't identified yet. Had whisker like feathers and necklace of dots. interesting.
Posted @ Monday, May 06, 2013 8:02 PM by Evelyn Spicer
Just moved to Ridgway CO first of the year. Heard my first hummer Saturday afternoon 27 April. My neighbor says her feeders are overcrowded every year, so I hope to get some of hers visitin my feeders. Four are already busy giving me great joy!!
Posted @ Friday, May 10, 2013 6:49 PM by Lynne Marschke
Saw our first hummer here in Pueblo West this morning, May 15. My neighbor had seen one on Mother's Day, and I had been hoping to see one at our feeder, too. 
It was very small and dark.
Posted @ Wednesday, May 15, 2013 11:04 PM by CONNIE VOLLINGER
Saw my first hummer today may 23. I have out 4 feeders but none have stopped to feed yet just cruzin through the yard. I live south end of Colorado Springs. Is it still early for them?
Posted @ Wednesday, May 22, 2013 6:31 PM by Adrienne
I would like to know why the hummingbirds would leave after being eating from feeder for a month. It has me puzzled and sad. How do I get them back. They have been gone two days. HELP
Posted @ Wednesday, June 12, 2013 10:09 PM by Lydia Velarde
I wrote last night and would like reply by e-mail about my hummers leaving me.
Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 12:32 PM by Lydia Velarde
I wish I could help you. I'm new to Colorado too, sort of. I've had great luck with the little guys but have no experience with which to help. So sorry.
Posted @ Thursday, June 13, 2013 4:03 PM by Evelyn
I have a clothesline right outside my back door. A hummingbird has made a nest around a clothespin. I go in and out the door as slowly as I can. Sometimes she flies and other times she stays. There are 2 eggs in the tiny nest. Eggs have been there about 2 weeks. Am not sure what to expect, but it is exciting.
Posted @ Thursday, June 20, 2013 12:32 AM by Barbara Rynearson
I'm interested in getting Hummingbirds to visit me here in the North edge of Denver, CO. Please share any info or thoughts that might help me.
Posted @ Monday, July 01, 2013 10:10 AM by Mary Mitchell
Barbara, that is so cool! Have the eggs hatched yet? I can't imagine how tiny a baby hummer would be! Lucky you!
Posted @ Saturday, July 06, 2013 4:51 PM by Shari King
We live in Highlands Ranch and this is our first year of hanging feeders. So far we have 3 female Broad-tails visiting all three feeders daily. I've been photographing them and placing the pictures on Facebook. It's been a lot of fun looking for our little friends!
Posted @ Thursday, July 18, 2013 10:14 PM by Bob Harhigh
Should the feeders be in sun or shade, or does it matter? I am in Parker, CO and haven't seen a hummer at all this year.
Posted @ Saturday, July 20, 2013 2:30 PM by Kathy
Has anyone seen ANY hummingbirds in the Englewood, Co area???
Posted @ Sunday, July 21, 2013 4:03 PM by Anna
I live in Englewood. Saw female rufous 28 July 13 around 7pm. Drank 2-3 times from feeder.
Posted @ Monday, July 29, 2013 11:08 PM by Elizabeth
Thanks Elizabeth---will keep trying and hoping that I too might attract one or two. Have all the flowers that are supposed to attract them--but no hummingbirds this year-anyway-so far. 
Two years ago I had several, last year none and this year still HOPING!
Posted @ Monday, July 29, 2013 11:20 PM by Anna
I live in Parker, CO and thought the lack of hummers the last couple of years was due to the large fires south of us. We have had several feeders up all summer and have plenty of hummingbird flowers in the garden. Keep the feeders full and they will arrive!  
Posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 8:44 PM by Joan Mack
THANKS for the encouraging words!
Posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:22 PM by Anna
I used to have 8-10 hummingbirds at my feeder every night, here in Castle Pines. Then the Rufous showed up and chased most of them away. (My husband calls them "Ruthless Hummingbirds." I can hardly wait until he moves on (the hummingbird, not my husband) and maybe I'll have my other birds back! Up here in Castle Pines we all have feeders out and we have multiple birds come by daily.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 10:37 PM by evelyn
I have encountered several early spring, I have created an oasis so to speak and this summer is turning out to be excellent. I have three broadtail staying which is a first but we are in our first year. We did many land scape improvements flowers ect. Lafayette Co.
Posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 11:25 PM by Steven Corcilius
I believe your trees sanctuary condition matter I have fifty year old cotton wood ,they are humming around collecting insects then visit flowers and feeders . I have planted columbines well I can't list them all but I am having great success retaining walls ,poker plants ,honeysuckle ,even petunias
Posted @ Wednesday, July 31, 2013 11:44 PM by Seven Corcilius
I believe you are correct about the tree sanctuary. We have very large, older pines not 30 feet from the feeders and the birds go into the branches after feeding and rest, out of the sun. Often there are both Broadtails and Rufous resting in there between forays for food.
Posted @ Thursday, August 01, 2013 8:58 AM by Evelyn
I agree Evelyn, the trees, flowers, trellis, arbors, create paradise and they will come, there are many cites online with regards to what you can do to enhance you area, so much fun and the rewards are endless. I have a huge red geranium we call big red next to a small feeder the broadtail only go to that one feeder but the rufous will go to all feeders, I am finding that strange, but many pictures I look at broadtails are feeding out of that same exact small feeder, haven't figured that one out yet! good luck everyone Steven Corcilius
Posted @ Thursday, August 01, 2013 10:00 AM by Steven Corcilius
FINALLY--saw my first hummingbird--now if he will just return with his "friends"!
Posted @ Saturday, August 03, 2013 3:11 PM by Anna
Two days in the row now "he" has made his appearance. They are such incredible, beautiful creatures. Just LOVES those hummingbirds!
Posted @ Monday, August 05, 2013 7:38 PM by Anna
Congradulations, Anna! we had several birds, then a big monsoon storm, it seemed to move them out, four days later we have a couple new ones, a Rufous and a broadtail, as a Colorado native but a novice or first year hummer,do storms in the mountains,colder temps drive their migration I think it has apart but can't confirm, Steven Corcilius
Posted @ Thursday, August 08, 2013 7:43 PM by Steven Corcilius
HELP---my hummingbird can't get to the feeder because of my neighbors bees. Any idea what I can do??? THANKS
Posted @ Friday, August 09, 2013 3:07 PM by Anna
This is my first year to actually succeed at having many hummingbirds in Colorado Springs! I have loved watching them in my garden - 2 feeders.
Posted @ Tuesday, August 13, 2013 8:14 AM by Bernideen's Tea Time Blog
Just got back down from Breckenridge. Literally, there were hummingbirds buzzing around everywhere. I made the "mistake" of standing out on the back deck in my red scuba t-shirt and had 3 different hummers come right up and check me out. Wildflowers are in full bloom in Summit County and the birds are up there sucking them dry this week. Beautiful!!!
Posted @ Tuesday, August 13, 2013 5:30 PM by Tom
I was thinking on Anna's problem of bees. I think bees are a sign of a healthy area but if they cover your feeder you might space out more feeders with bee guards at their openings it would be a hard problem if bee hives are next door. LOL, Steven Corcilius
Posted @ Wednesday, August 14, 2013 6:02 AM by Steven Corcilius
THANK YOU for the information concerning bee guards. NEVER had heard of them before. Do you know if I can purchase them locally? Again THANKS
Posted @ Thursday, August 15, 2013 12:24 AM by Anna
This is my first year living up off hwy 9 outside Canon City. We started with 2 feeders in April and now we have 13! I am going through 5lbs of sugar a day and have swarms of hummingbirds! I'm wondering if anyone knows when they usually leave for their migration?
Posted @ Friday, August 16, 2013 1:01 PM by Jane
I put out a feeder last weekend and have yet to see one and I'm thinking I should probably switch out the feed...saw hummers in our neighbors flower patch and thought they'd come around, and have yet to see one...hopefully it's not too late in the season.
Posted @ Saturday, August 17, 2013 1:31 PM by Cory
Is there a date when you should take your feeders down to encourage the hummingbirds to migrate for the winter?
Posted @ Monday, September 09, 2013 3:32 PM by Charline Blackburn
I haven't had any birds for a few weeks now. I'm leaving my feeders up tell the end of September, in case there are straglers or sick birds needing food. I don't know how others are doing as far as bird go. Steven Corcilius
Posted @ Friday, September 13, 2013 1:16 PM by Steven Corcilius
Still have hummingbirds eating at feeder. Mainly a bossy Rufus that won't let others eat.  
September 19, 2013
Posted @ Thursday, September 19, 2013 4:33 PM by diane page
I just noticed a new (for me) bird at my flowers. It is very small, looks almost insect-like, striped, and its beak is not only long and ultra thin, but flexible. Any ideas?
Posted @ Friday, September 20, 2013 6:16 PM by Steve
Steve, it sounds like the hummingbird moth to me.
Posted @ Friday, September 20, 2013 6:25 PM by Rick Kimmick
Its 9/29 and still seeing hummers at the feeders. I will continue to put out feeders for a week after the last sighting and increase water:sugar to 3:1.
Posted @ Sunday, September 29, 2013 12:49 PM by Tom Weber
I had birds up until November last year. Kept my feeders up for a week after the last sighting to ensure any stragglers were fed. I still have 2-3 birds left this year. Most have left earlier than last year. from Colorado......
Posted @ Monday, September 30, 2013 9:29 AM by robert
31 degrees in Colorado Springs this morning and I have Hummers feeding. Had them until November last year but it was warmer this time of year. I always keep them up until I see no more for a week.
Posted @ Saturday, October 05, 2013 8:27 AM by robert
I live near Gold Camp Rd and had hummers at both feeders at 8:30 AM today. I wonder if they are ones passing through?
Posted @ Saturday, October 05, 2013 12:25 PM by Tom Weber
Have 2 Hummers this morning at 6:45. I had just put out fresh food. It's 35 degrees. Hardy birds for sure.
Posted @ Sunday, October 06, 2013 7:59 AM by Robert
My husband, Rick, and I lost our home in the Black Forest Fire at the peak of our hummers being around. Wondering if anyone out there has similar destruction, and if the disaster kept the hummers from returning. We had so many and truely enjoyed them. Would be very disappointing if they never returned. 
 
Terri
Posted @ Tuesday, March 04, 2014 11:42 AM by Terri
We live in Pine Junction, Colorado at 
8500 ft altitude. The hummers ALWAYS return in the week of April 20th. I believe they are Annas with red throats. The rufus come in July. Have seen a stragler as late as early October but very unusual. Some years we have ore than others, but we always have them. 
Will putting out dog hair help to attract them to build nests.
Posted @ Sunday, March 23, 2014 10:44 AM by Arlene PELLEGRINO
How do you keep earwigs out of your hummingbird feeder? Last year they would get in each day and fill up the feeding slots.
Posted @ Saturday, April 05, 2014 11:30 AM by ColoradoLady
I never had earwigs in my hummingbird feeder. I have had wasps but keep a wasp trap out also. Very effective. 
Hummers always return to Pine Colorado the week of April 20-never fail.
Posted @ Saturday, April 05, 2014 8:53 PM by Arlene PELLEGRINO
Arlene--where can I buy the wasp traps. Last year all I "fed" were the yellow jackets and wasps. Thanks
Posted @ Saturday, April 05, 2014 10:57 PM by Anna
I am in Calhan, CO. I haven't seen any hummingbirds as of yet, but am wondering if this would be to early to put out feeders.
Posted @ Sunday, April 06, 2014 4:13 PM by Gloria
My husband heard a hummingbird at our camper over Easter weekend just out of Capulin, Colorado near the Alamosa River. Hurray!
Posted @ Monday, April 21, 2014 1:56 PM by Kristi
Hummer on the feeder today 4/21/14. Heard one on Easter Saturday so I put out the feeder. First one of the season today.......glad to see the return. Locale is in SW Colorado Springs off Broadmoor Valley Rd.
Posted @ Monday, April 21, 2014 5:50 PM by robert
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