, Newburyport, MA

Local News

May 3, 2014

Hummingbirds and orioles are arriving

The late April weather systems produced northerly and easterly winds that slowed the migration and, though there have been scattered reports of hummingbirds and orioles in Massachusetts, more migrants should be arriving now that the winds shift around to a more southwest direction.

With southwest winds, more hummingbirds should arrive, so now is a good time to ready your hummingbird feeder if you haven’t done so yet. The bulk of the hummers arrive during May, and you don’t want to be embarrassed when your hummingbird shows up and darts around where the feeder is supposed to be! You may even want to add more feeders to accommodate more hummingbirds, as they are very territorial when they feed, not allowing other hummers near “their” feeder! One part sugar to three or four parts water is the recommended solution. You can also purchase bottles of premixed nectar, or powdered sucrose to mix without boiling. Clear nectar is best, as red dyes may be harmful to the birds.

Be sure to change the nectar every few days to keep it fresh. Along with the hummingbirds will be the orioles, so you should begin preparing their feeders as well. These birds are also attracted to backyard feeders with nectar (one part sugar to five or six parts water) and also with grape jelly and oranges. Some people also feed mealworms to orioles, especially as the orioles begin to nest, but orioles will also continue to enjoy jelly all summer long. There are feeders that will hold a combination of nectar, jelly (or meal worms) and oranges, with some new clever ones designed to keep starlings and other larger birds from getting to the food intended for orioles. If you feed bluebirds, you may already know that there are mealworm feeders designed for bluebirds that also keep out the larger birds. Nectar, jelly, oranges and mealworms are all ways to attract some different birds to your yard this spring and summer. Catbirds, mockingbirds, tanagers, Carolina wrens, thrushes, and even some warblers might make an appearance to partake from this different menu. Speaking of bluebirds, some have already begun to nest, but more are still looking for houses.

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