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Hummingbird FAQ

These are some of our most asked questions about hummingbirds. For additional questions and answers about hummingbirds, visit the Professor Bird web site. Search for “hummingbirds” in the key word search field.
Q – When should I take down my feeder so the hummingbirds do not stay too long into the fall or winter?
A – Hummer migration is triggered by the shorter fall days, not the amount of food. Keep your feeders up until the birds have completed migration through your area, often into mid-October or later.  Keeping your feeders up will not cause otherwise healthy birds to delay their migration. Two weeks after the last observation is a good guideline.

hummingbird nest

Hummingbird on her nest. Males leave after mating, leaving the female to care for the eggs and feed the young,

Hummingbird nests are surprisingly strong structures made of lichen, spider webs and various plant materials.  The selection of materials allows the nest to expand as the young hummers grow.
Q – What is the best way to attract hummers to my feeder?
A – Use several small feeders spread throughout your yard or, even better, plant a hummingbird garden. See the section on gardening for hummers.
Q – How long is incubation for hummingbirds?
A – This varies by species. Hummingbirds usually lay one or two eggs that hatch within 2-3 weeks.
The male leaves after mating, leaving the female to provide all the feeding and care of the baby hummingbirds.

Q – How long do hummingbirds live?
A – The average age is about three to four years, although some may live twice that long. The record is about 12 years.

Birding Quick Hits

Blue Jays do Johnny Appleseed one better.  After the retreat of the last ice age, oak trees spread back north faster than might have been expected.  There is speculation that Blue Jays helped the process by caching acorns underground, some of which grew into new trees.