Thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds (Archilochus colubris) are headed right for the Lowcountry during their migration this Spring
During the month of March, thousands of hummingbirds are expected to migrate to and through South Carolina’s Lowcountry tracking as far north as Ontario for the breeding season. Named for its brightly colored bib on its neck, the Ruby-throated hummingbird is by far the most common hummingbird seen in our area.
According to the Carolina Bird Club, South Carolina has hosted six species of hummingbirds in addition to Ruby-throated. But the identification of these birds is difficult since most are nondescript females or juveniles. They tend to look very similar; their identity is often based on color, shape or size of just a few feathers.
A popular website with bird enthusiasts, HummingbirdCentral.com, tracks the migration north all over North America and a variety of hummingbird species sightings are recorded throughout the season. Hummingbird enthusiasts log their sightings of the winged creatures during each migration season.
Have you spotted any migrating this year?
According to the interactive map from HummingbirdCentral.org, someone in or near Beaufort, SC reported seeing hummingbirds overwintering just this week! Impressive migrants despite their small size, some Ruby-throats may travel from Canada to Costa Rica. Audubon’s scientists have used 140 million bird observations and sophisticated climate models to project how climate change will affect this bird’s range in the future. To see how this species’ current range will shift, expand, and contract under increased global temperatures, click here.
Attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard…
You can attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard by setting up hummingbird feeders or by planting tubular flowers. Make sugar water mixtures with about one-quarter cup of sugar per cup of water. Food coloring is unnecessary; table sugar is the best choice. Change the water before it grows cloudy or discolored and remember that during hot weather, sugar water ferments rapidly to produce toxic alcohol. Be careful about where you put your hummingbird feeders, as some cats have learned to lie in wait to catch visiting hummingbirds. (Source: AllAboutBirds.org)
So keep your eyes and ears, open Beaufort friends! These beautiful tiny hummingbirds are heading our way and we are excited to greet them this Spring.
Not sure what a hummingbird sounds like? Click below to listen to their songs & calls from Audubon.org!
Featured hummingbird photography by Jeff Kidd