Hummingbirds have vanished

Joined
Jun 1, 2019
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644
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(Seattle, USA). Ever since self quarantine started I was looking forward to do some in-house shooting of Hummingbirds but alas. I used to have at least 3 'birds frequent the feeders in my patio for last 4 years.

They do come back after a break but this time their absense is even more noticeable now that I am stuck at home. They haven't been around since a month if I remember correctly. Missing these little buggers! I was reading some articles and they mentioned that they (Hummings) remember the location and do come back but sometimes they don't and just move to a new area :(.

I hope the latter does not come true this time and they return. I have been refilling the nectar every week in anticipation. It also happens that my PL 100-400 is eagerly waiting for some action! Anyone notice their birds are absent?
P.S And to rub salt in, weather has been so kind of late, in Seattle.

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Darmok N Jalad

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I imagine that if they are native to your area, and you keep a food source handy, you will get them, even if they aren’t the same ones. My problem is that I get more bees than hummingbirds!
 

gwydionjhr

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I'm over in Victoria. I moved my feeder from the back yard to the front over a year ago. I wanted it out of the shade to give me a chance for better shot. They will not use the new location. When we had a brief cold snap, sure enough he flew by checking the old location for the feeder. I even bought a heater for the bottom of the feeder to keep it from freezing, and a smart outdoor plug-in unit so I could only have it turned on when the temperature dipped below freezing.
 

Mack

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I'm in So. CA and noticed fewer hummers as well. Still a bit cool for Spring here. My feeders are in the sun which might be warmer syrup for them, and gives me higher shutter speeds. One used to show up every 12 minutes last year, but seems much longer now.

I have two feeders out. Problem is one male hummer refuses to let any other hummer near my property much less the feeders where he will attack. Most of the day he is perched atop one tall tree watching. When I tend to the feeders he'll get in my face at about two feet as some warning. Often he'll fly up maybe 50 feet and spin around looking for any others getting in his space which seems about 2-3 houses distant. One female tends to ignore him and will perch at the feeder while he dive bombs her with that loud "Wump!" noise they make on diving to try and scare her away. Often she just looks upwards and ignores him.

We've also had issues with feral cats at night on the block wall who've jumped into an oleander and killed a hummer's nest. We found the debris on the ground one day. Had a couple of eggs in it

The CA Scrubs have been MIA too, but they have been banished because of a mockingbird nest next door. The mockingbirds are very aggressive fighters and run anything off.

I've been using a Godox AD600 studio flash for its HSS with the birds. It doesn't seem to faze the hummers much being set up ~5 feet away from them, other than a quick "What was that?" look around and then they go back to the feeder. The CA Scrubs will take off at the flash though. Very skittish bird. If they do get used to the flash, it becomes a game as to if they can beat me to the shutter/flash to get to the food.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
644
Location
Seattle
I imagine that if they are native to your area, and you keep a food source handy, you will get them, even if they aren’t the same ones. My problem is that I get more bees than hummingbirds!
Anna's Hummingbirds, I think they are native to PNW or I read something of that effect. I have bees too! or rather, Yellowjackets which are overly aggressive towards Hummings. I haven't found a way to combat those bees yet.

I'm over in Victoria. I moved my feeder from the back yard to the front over a year ago. I wanted it out of the shade to give me a chance for better shot. They will not use the new location. When we had a brief cold snap, sure enough he flew by checking the old location for the feeder. I even bought a heater for the bottom of the feeder to keep it from freezing, and a smart outdoor plug-in unit so I could only have it turned on when the temperature dipped below freezing.
That's a great idea really. I didn't know something like that existed. Although this year, in Seattle at least, there haven't been days when the nectar froze. Last year it did.

Don’t get here until May....still have a few piles of snow in my yard! (Syracuse, NYS)
No snow this year here. I remember in 2019-2018 I had a bird perched on my feeder when it was snowing for almost a day.
We've still got several here.
Those probably the ones from my area who migrated there? :D
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
644
Location
Seattle
I'm in So. CA and noticed fewer hummers as well. Still a bit cool for Spring here. My feeders are in the sun which might be warmer syrup for them, and gives me higher shutter speeds. One used to show up every 12 minutes last year, but seems much longer now.

I have two feeders out. Problem is one male hummer refuses to let any other hummer near my property much less the feeders where he will attack. Most of the day he is perched atop one tall tree watching. When I tend to the feeders he'll get in my face at about two feet as some warning. Often he'll fly up maybe 50 feet and spin around looking for any others getting in his space which seems about 2-3 houses distant. One female tends to ignore him and will perch at the feeder while he dive bombs her with that loud "Wump!" noise they make on diving to try and scare her away. Often she just looks upwards and ignores him.

We've also had issues with feral cats at night on the block wall who've jumped into an oleander and killed a hummer's nest. We found the debris on the ground one day. Had a couple of eggs in it

The CA Scrubs have been MIA too, but they have been banished because of a mockingbird nest next door. The mockingbirds are very aggressive fighters and run anything off.

I've been using a Godox AD600 studio flash for its HSS with the birds. It doesn't seem to faze the hummers much being set up ~5 feet away from them, other than a quick "What was that?" look around and then they go back to the feeder. The CA Scrubs will take off at the flash though. Very skittish bird. If they do get used to the flash, it becomes a game as to if they can beat me to the shutter/flash to get to the food.
They feed a lot! I refill my feeder every week.
I remember at least one of the Humming was quite aggressive towards others. He would chase them to no end. I think there were only 3-4 times when I saw all of them together feeding in peace at once. Otherwise they just had to take turns when the big guy was busy somewhere.
I never used flash though, I have been relying on natural light Seattle weather permitting.

I'm not that far from you, and we have plenty of hummers around here. I heard a dozen unseen on our walk around the block today, and saw another half-dozen mugging the neighbors feeder farm. Keep looking!
Dang! Gives me hope though. I think I am noticing their absence more, because I am stuck at home and the feeder is just a few feet away from my desk.

They are around here
If one of them has bright magenta neck and neon green back, thats my bird ;)
 

Darmok N Jalad

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Messages
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Tanagra
Anna's Hummingbirds, I think they are native to PNW or I read something of that effect. I have bees too! or rather, Yellowjackets which are overly aggressive towards Hummings. I haven't found a way to combat those bees yet.
A friend of mine has 2 feeders, one where the bees like to go, and then the other for the hummingbirds. I guess it works for her well, but she has a bigger property. May not go over as well on a smaller urban lot.
 
Joined
Jun 1, 2019
Messages
644
Location
Seattle
A friend of mine has 2 feeders, one where the bees like to go, and then the other for the hummingbirds. I guess it works for her well, but she has a bigger property. May not go over as well on a smaller urban lot.
Good idea though. Worth trying. I also had some unusual visitors on my feeder - namely Stinkbugs and one time a squirrel who quickly lost interest.
 

ralf-11

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Hummingbird populations are in decline due to habitat loss and fragmentation, climate change and neonicotinoid pesticides (the ones that killing off our honeybees).

The declines can be as high as almost 3% per year for some species on the West Coast of NA - despite people putting out more feeders.
 

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