There are 5 kinds of hummingbirds in Alabama arriving in late March and departing in October. They are the ruby-throated, Rufous, Allen’s, Black-chinned, and Calliope species.
Here are some pictures of them:
In all parts of Alabama, the prevalent type of hummingbird is the ruby-throated hummingbird. The male ruby-throated hummingbird is easy to identify because it has a dark green back and a deep red throat, while the female is similar to the male, but it lacks the red throat and has a light greenback.
Besides the ruby-throated hummingbird, the rufous hummingbird is also occasionally seen in Alabama but not very common. The male rufous has a brown color on its tail, head and back, and side, and it is also similar to ruby-throated hummingbird in that it also has a reddish-colored throat patch even though it is more orange than ruby color.
Irrespective of the type of hummingbird, they all participate in daily activities, which enable them to burn large amounts of calories. Therefore you are required to feed them approximately four times an hour to ensure your hummingbird remains healthy.
Similarly, since the hummingbird cannot feed during the night, you should ensure that it slows its body functions at night. Hummingbirds have tubular tongues that enable them to reach the nectar in flowers. They also feed on insects as part of their diet. The heart rate is 200 beats per minute which is slower than what you would expect from a sleeping bird of the same size. The breathing rate also drops to approximately five percent.
Migration of hummingbirds
Changes in the daytime and the falling of leaves are some of the signals that tell hummingbirds that it is time they are required to start migrating. Therefore hummingbirds in Alabama tend to migrate south across Central America and the Gulf of Mexico during the winter.
The ruby-throated hummingbird, common in Alabama, can migrate two thousand miles from its breeding sites to winter places. Therefore you do not have to struggle keeping hummingbirds in your yard more than they are required to stay because they are usually aware that when leaves begin falling, it is time to migrate.
Hummingbirds are fun to watch, especially when they are moving, migrating, or even playing. For you to watch them at the comfort of your home, you can use feeders or plant flowers in your yard to attract them. In most cases, feeders are easy to maintain and inexpensive, making them also preferred when attracting hummingbirds.
How to feed hummingbirds
During the spring season, the beginning of April and early May is when hummingbirds are usually attracted to feeders. Generally, most feeders are available commercially and typically work better when it has a bee guard to prevent bees from using them.
If many bees get attracted to the feeder, it becomes challenging for hummingbirds to use it. In most cases, feeders are usually filled with a nectar solution either made at home or purchased. When preparing the nectar, mix one tablespoon of sugar with five or six parts of warm water to ensure that the sugar dissolves faster.
Hummingbirds do not require more nutrients other than white table sugar, thus making it easy to maintain them.
You are also advised not to replace the sugar solution with honey because hummingbirds do not digest honey. Therefore after taking the honey-based solution, they will die soon due to lack of nutrition. Additionally, honey can also transmit a fungal infection that is lethal to these birds. When cleaning the feeders, you also rinse them using hot water and vinegar at least once per week, even if some sugar solution remains.
You are not supposed to wait until the solution becomes cloudy, or molds begin growing in the feeders. Therefore, all you must do is discard the old solution and refill the feeder with the fresh solution from your fridge.
In most cases, when one hummingbird gets attracted to the feeder, others follow. Male hummingbirds create territories around the feeder hence preventing female hummingbirds from feeding the nectar solution. Therefore if you note this, you should put up additional feeders on the other side of your yard to help limit confrontations.
Another way of ensuring that you keep attracting hummingbirds in your yard is by planting flowers around your home. Always consider planting red flowers because they are very effective when attracting these birds.
It is important to note that before Alabama hummingbirds start migrating during late summer, most of them tend to use the feeders more often and then disappear overnight.