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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Decline?

July 6 2016 at 5:26 PM
wayfarer1951g  (Login wayfarer1951g)
Hummingbird Lover 2016

I live near a small town in south-central Pennsylvania. Perry County. All I can speak from is personal experience in my own yard.

I put out a couple of feeders April 1st every year. About mid April is when I see the first Hummer. Usually a male. There's usually just one or two at a time throughout April and May which is nesting season and prime bloom for plants to feed on. More appear sporadically during June and July. The numbers reach their greatest intensity during August then decline about the first week of September. I've never seen one much past the 10th-15th of September.

So...below is what I've observed over the last few years during AUGUST. By August I've got about a dozen 6oz. feeders scattered about within about a 1500 sq. ft. area.

2012 - During the top feeder activity during the last few hours of the day. Possibly 15-20 Birds at any one time.

2013 - 10 to maybe 15 Birds during prime time. A recognizable drop in numbers from the previous year.

2014 - 8 to no more than 10 birds at any one time.

2015 - 3 to 6 Birds at the very most.

2016 - ?

That's a pretty disappointing and disturbing trend to me. It saddens me deeply. I doubt if much the problem's on THIS end. Most likely habitat destruction in their winter range is the main issue. Regardless of the cause...they're disappearing near me.

Something else. Around here a heavily bloomed Mimosa Tree with the brightest red blooms could have 3-4 dozen Birds buzzing around it on an August evening. But that was 10-15 years ago. By 2012? Those same trees attracted maybe 1 dozen Birds at the most during that same time of year. I haven't visited these trees since 12. I'll make a point to do that this year...but I'm pretty sure what I'll find. Or won't find.

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(Login Adrienneny)
Hummingbird Lover 2015

Re: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Decline?

July 7 2016, 9:59 AM 

Thanks for sharing your personal experience with hummingbird numbers!

Until humans can design and improve upon something like this


for hummingbirds or other new data is discovered it remains a mystery.

Perhaps habitat changes are happening to the land around you. New construction? New cell phone towers? New pesticides? Natural land destruction? Wide usage of red dye in hummingbird food? Introduced species? Or just a natural ebb and flow which our human perspective cannot understand yet? So much remains a mystery to us unfortunately! There's a funny scene from the movie Idiocracy which laments how the greatest minds and resources were focused on conquering hair loss and prolonging erections instead of understanding our natural world.

There's a whole thread about this decline question currently:


In any case, that red mimosa sounds lovely and I sure wish I could see a video or a photo of it.


Cathy P (Downers Grove, IL Zone 5b)
(Login Bazuhi)
Hummingbird Lover 2014

Re: Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Decline?

July 7 2016, 9:42 PM 

I usually have more males battling over the Bee Balm
and other blooming other plants and I usually see a
female or two a tad more frequently esp the 2nd week of July
so I am going to blame the tree trimming on my low count.
My male is in heaven right now, it's all his and he knows it.
Cathy P
A Hummingbird Fan in Downers Grove, Illinois
Zone 5a
See My Hummingbird Gardens and Plants

Find more about Weather in Downers Grove, IL
Click for weather forecast

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