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Hummers Gone

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  • Ellen Zunino
    The majority of my hummingbirds have disappeared. The Anna s that normally disperse in March returned per usual and by the second week of June Hummer numbers
    Message 1 of 4 , Jul 1, 2008
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      The majority of my hummingbirds have disappeared. The Anna's that
      normally disperse in March returned per usual and by the second week of
      June Hummer numbers across all species were back to normal. Then that
      very hot period began and the majority of birds were gone by the third
      Sunday. There seem to be only about 18 birds remaining. Four species
      resident this time of year are all represented. Rufous are missing.
      Summers have always been my busiest time keeping feeders cleaned,
      filled, etc. July and August I average 70 pounds of sugar a week. Looks
      like this summer's going to be a little lean hummer-wise.

      Do any of you have an explanation for the bird's behavior? I was
      considering the heat but it's always hot here in the summer. I usually
      get more birds feeding when it's hot not fewer. My yard is very quiet
      without its usual number of squabbling Hummers.

      Ellen Zunino
      Monrovia
    • Judith Raskin
      70 pounds per WEEK? Was that a typo? Judy Raskin Echo Park ... From: Ellen Zunino To: LACoBirds@yahoogroups.com Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 12:50 AM Subject:
      Message 2 of 4 , Jul 1, 2008
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        70 pounds per WEEK? Was that a typo?

        Judy Raskin
        Echo Park
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Ellen Zunino
        To: LACoBirds@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Tuesday, July 01, 2008 12:50 AM
        Subject: [LACoBirds] Hummers Gone


        The majority of my hummingbirds have disappeared. The Anna's that
        normally disperse in March returned per usual and by the second week of
        June Hummer numbers across all species were back to normal. Then that
        very hot period began and the majority of birds were gone by the third
        Sunday. There seem to be only about 18 birds remaining. Four species
        resident this time of year are all represented. Rufous are missing.
        Summers have always been my busiest time keeping feeders cleaned,
        filled, etc. July and August I average 70 pounds of sugar a week. Looks
        like this summer's going to be a little lean hummer-wise.

        Do any of you have an explanation for the bird's behavior? I was
        considering the heat but it's always hot here in the summer. I usually
        get more birds feeding when it's hot not fewer. My yard is very quiet
        without its usual number of squabbling Hummers.

        Ellen Zunino
        Monrovia


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      • ELLEN
        No, unfortunately, it isn t a typo. Depending on the weather (hot weather = more birds), from the 2nd or third week of July until the Black Chinned s migrate
        Message 3 of 4 , Jul 2, 2008
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          No, unfortunately, it isn't a typo. Depending on the weather (hot weather = more birds), from the 2nd or third week of July until the Black Chinned's migrate in August I have a lot of hummers - at least, I did. I also usually have 2 or 3 pair of Hooded Orioles that do their part emptying feeders. This year only 1 pair is resident and I haven't seen or heard either of them for four days. I have 17 feeders. Of the 16 large feeders, 3 are l.5 liters, the rest, 48 oz. I would have to refill each of them every day. It's exhausting but satisfying. And it's only for 4 or 5 weeks. Once the BC's (and Orioles) are gone, things settle down.

          I'm maintaining all my feeders but filling them only partially. In all the years (23) that I've been feeding here, hummer numbers have always increased starting in mid-June when the dispersed Anna's return and as birds move into the area from the hills. Something's different this year.



          Ellen Zunino
          Monrovia

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        • Kimball Garrett
          Ellen (and others): I ve been getting mixed reports about the abundance of hummingbirds at feeders in the greater L. A. area -- many people have commented on
          Message 4 of 4 , Jul 5, 2008
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            Ellen (and others):

            I've been getting mixed reports about the abundance of hummingbirds at feeders in the greater L. A. area -- many people have commented on the relative scarcity of hummers in the last couple of months, while a few folks report numbers that are at or above average for this time of year. I will make a couple of brief observations. First, I spent a couple of hours on Friday 4 July along Upper Big Tujunga Creek (the trailhead is along Colby Ranch Rd. off Upper Big Tujunga Rd., between Angeles Forest and Angeles Crest Highways); in this brief time I had 20+ Anna's, 8+ Black-chinneds, a Costa's, and 3+ Selasphorus (Rufous/Allen's). This seems like more hummingbirds than I would expect for such habitat in early July, and I wonder if maybe there isn't an especially good food crop this year in some areas (perhaps allowing more hummingbirds to shun feeders in urban/suburban areas). There was quite a bit of penstemon in flower, and of course a great supply of gnats and other small insects that can be an important component of hummer diets. My second observation is that hummingbird numbers seem to be picking up greatly at our house in Tujunga just in the past week or so; in particular Anna's have greatly increased and female/immature Selasphorus are now numerous (instead of just one or two hyper-defensive adult male Allen's); we had our first Costa's in a couple of months this morning. So, as expected, numbers should grow over the next several weeks before dropping off again in September.

            Kimball

            Kimball L. Garrett
            Section of Ornithology
            Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
            900 Exposition Blvd.
            Los Angeles, CA 90007
            213-763-3368
            kgarrett@...



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