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Say Goodbye to the Snow Birds and Hello to the Birds of Spring!

Today I am hoping to teach you something new about the Feathered Friends we so look forward to seeing each spring. First and Foremost get your Hummingbird and Oriole Feeders out by April 15th. Sometimes they show up that early. Sometimes we don’t see them until closer to May 1st. Every year is different so I put mine out on Tax Day just in case we have any early arrivals. 

Did you know the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird flies 600 miles NONSTOP (about 18-20 hours) across the Gulf of Mexico during Both spring and fall migration? Banding shows that each bird tends to return every year to the same place it hatched, even visiting the same feeders. That is amazing to me!! For a hummer that has just hatched, there is no memory of a past migration, only an urge to put on a lot of weight and fly in a particular direction for a certain amount of time, then look for a good place to spend winter. Once it learns such a route, a bird may retrace it every year as long as it lives. The initial urge is triggered by the shortening length of sunlight as autumn approaches and has nothing to do with temperature or availability of food. In fact, Hummingbirds migrate south at the time of the greatest food abundance. When the bird is fat enough, it migrates. It is not necessary to take down feeders to force hummingbirds to leave, and in the fall all the birds at your feeder are already migrating anyway. If you remove your feeder, birds will just feed elsewhere, but may not bother to return to your yard next year. I recommend continuing to maintain feeders until freezing becomes a problem. Orioles spend their winter in Mexico and Central and South America, where they can find a steady source of insects, fruit, and nectar.

Here are some tips on attracting Orioles to your backyard.

-Start Early. Your best chance of attracting these Bright Orange and Black amazing creatures is when they first arrive in early spring (same time as Hummers).

-Use the same nectar recipe for orioles as you do for hummingbirds- four parts boiled water to one part sugar. Keep nectar fresh, and don’t use food coloring.

-These birds are attracted to the color orange, so look for a sugar-water feeder specifically designed for orioles. They will try to get into hummingbird feeders but their beaks are too big.

-Orioles love the color and taste of oranges. Offer orange halves on a branch or feeder. Orioles will also eat grape jelly. You can buy jelly from the grocery store or come to the bird store for specific Bird Berry Jelly. Serve the jelly in an open dish or cup, and keep it fresh.

-If squirrels or raccoons are a problem try our Flaming Squirrel Sauce. Mix that in with the jelly and it magically keeps the other critters away. Birds don’t process the heat so it’s no bother to them.

-Keep in mind that our area IS the Orioles breeding grounds. So they show up here almost immediately ready to have babies. They will be plentiful for the first few weeks they are here, and then they leave for a month or so to “have and raise” babies. Once they teach babies to hunt for their own food they will bring their young to your jelly feeders. That is if you haven’t given up on them yet and have taken their feeders down. During “baby raising” time you can put out live or dried mealworms to keep some of your Orioles coming back to the feeders while they are feeding their young. I miss mine while they are parenting so I try to lure them back with worms. It works!!
Check out this years Free Educational Seminar on attracting Orioles and Hummingbirds coming up on April 16th! You can watch this in person OR free live stream on Facebook Lots of Great FREE information to help you attract these beauties this year! 
 Happy Birding 
  Crinda Williams~For The Wild Birds
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