Ruby throated Hummingbirds due to appear in East Tennessee. April in East Tennessee marks the time to get out hummingbird feeders and fill them in anticipation of the arrival of Ruby Throated Hummingbirds. While there are many species of hummingbirds, east of the Mississippi typically only gets the Ruby Throated. The male arrives roughly 10 days ahead of the female. He searches out feeders and fills up on nectar in order to replenish the energy he needs for his journey.
If your yard is conducive to nesting, the male will hang around and wait for the female. But, if your yard is not a nesting yard, he continues his journey north until he finds an ideal habitat. Hummingbirds prefer wooded areas that are near water or have water features.
Ruby Throated hummingbirds are primarily insect eaters, either picking them off vegetation or capturing them in the air. Secondarily, they enjoy natural nectar they can feed on from nectar producing plants, like cardinal flower and salvia. This is one of the reasons why we don’t see a lot of activity at feeders during May, June and early July. If your yard is lucky enough to be chosen for a nesting site, the hummingbird will only use your feeder for supplemental feeding during these months.
Once again in August East Tennessee experiences an influx of hummingbirds that are heading south to gather around the border of the Gulf of Mexico.
We recommend making your own Hummingbird nectar with a 4-1 ratio of water to sugar. You will need to clean your feeder and change your nectar 2 times per week, or 3 times if
temperatures are in the 90’s. Do not use pre-made nectar with red dye which is a chemical and not natural to the bird. Use feeders that do not leak and are designed to keep ants, bees and wasps out. When I am asked where the best place is to put a feeder I always answer by saying to put it where you want to see the bird. They are attracted to red and can be drawn all the way up to your porch or window. Our Wild Birds Unlimited branded feeders have all the right features along with easy to clean and a Life Time Guarantee.
Liz Cutrone is the owner of Wild Birds Unlimited in Knoxville, TN. She is a Certified Bird Specialist specializing in attracting and feeding backyard birds. Wildbirds Unlimited is located at 7240 Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919.