HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Game Commission says in the coming days and weeks, some exotic travelers will be pouring into Pennsylvania.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are one of Pennsylvania’s surest signs that spring is upon us. Their typical annual arrival is around May 1.
The Game Commission says given the hummingbird’s size, and its inability to store energy, it’s risky behavior to come early and sometimes, cold fronts chase them south, but more often than not, they stick it out.
They say if you have a hummingbird feeder out the late April and early May, you’ll see it firsthand.
The hummingbird’s arrival is tied to the availability of food. They eat flower nectar, small insects and many of them depend on artificial feeders.
“A lot of hummingbirds return and immediately look for the feeder that they used in the past,” noted Joe Kosack, a Game Commission education specialist. “Typically, they’re the males that will try to take over the feeder, terrorizing other males that approach it. Females, however, are welcomed company.”
The Game Commission says having a feeder out earlier than others is one of the best ways to pull in early-birds. But if you want to keep them around, make sure you offer some natural sources of food. There are a large variety of ornamental plants that will attract them such as coralbells, salvia, trumpeter vine, honeysuckle or other plants that offer tubular flowers.
They suggest you buy a feeder with red components if you don’t have flowers. Feeders should be filled with a solution that is one part granulated sugar and four parts water.
If there are hummingbirds around, they will find the feeders but so might other animals like ants, bees, wasps, and even raccoons and black bears.
“One of my more interesting finds was coming back home after a weekend trip and finding a swarm of honeybees all over the feeder,” Kosack noted. “They simply were too much for the hummingbirds to challenge.”
The Game Commission says get your feeder out early, plant hummingbird-friendly flowers and have the patience to wait for them to come.
If you’re trying to time their arrival, you can keep track of hummingbird migrations in North America is checking the hummingbird migration map at HummingbirdCentral.com.