Blizzard of Hummingbirds – Rockport, TX – September 13-16, 2018

HummerBird Celebration in Rockport, Texas (don’t miss it)!

Hi Gang,

Clay and I have been very fortunate to have been invited to festivals and conferences around the country (over the years) to present our programs and workshops.

One of my all-time favorite festivals is the HummerBird Celebration in mid-September, when thousands upon thousands of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are migrating through Rockport, Texas, on their way to southern Mexico or as far south as Costa Rica and northern Panama where they winter.

It is an amazing show of HOPE that Rockport, Texas, is going to host their:

30th Anniversary HummerBird Celebration
Rockport, TX
September 13-16, 2018
for full details go to the event’s website

HERE 

This year’s Keynote Speaker is good friend and amazing mentor, high school science teacher, and nationally recognized educator, Martha McLeod.  On Thursday, September 13 (at 6:30 p.m.), don’t miss Martha’s Keynote Presentation, “Harvey, Hummingbirds and Hope,” based on her experience in Rockport, Texas, where she lives, when Hurricane Harvey hit and destroyed much of the town on August 26, 2017, just prior to the peak of the hummingbird migration.  Martha was chosen as Birdwatcher’s Digest “Birder of the Year” for the piece she wrote about this experience (featured in Bird Watcher’s Digest’s March/April 2018 issue).  Clay and I won’t be able to be there this year, but please give Martha a “Hello Hug” from both of us if you should go!

We’ve been to the HummerBird Celebration 4 times and loved every single visit.  My favorite part of this festival is the opportunity to explore and linger in dozens of “Hummer Home gardens” (private back and front yard wildlife habitats with dozens and dozens of well-maintained hummingbird feeders) that are open to attendees of the HummerBird Celebration from dawn to dusk, September 13 (Thursday) to September 16 (Sunday).  The numbers of hummingbirds in sight in each of these gardens is beyond belief!  Hundreds in view in every direction you look!  If you don’t believe me, GO!!!  I was speechless with wonder the first time we went and continued to be amazed with each of our visits.  Seriously consider a road trip (or a flying trip) to experience this amazing concentration of our beloved hummingbird, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  I promise you that you won’t regret it and you’ll probably want to make an annual pilgrimage to the HummerBird Celebration each year in mid-September to drink in the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s amazing migration and how they benefit from all the stopover habitat in this town.

The HummerBird Celebration is packed with non-stop events (boat birding trips, speakers, banding demonstration, vendors, hummer home guided bus trips (I did this the 1st year, not realizing that I could go on my own and spend as much time as I wanted in each garden or my favorite gardens), bird photography classes, and more!

The fact that Rockport, Texas, is hosting this 30th Anniversary HummerBird Celebration is another sign of hope, hope that this town (devastated by Hurricane Harvey only a year ago) can continue to rebuild and thrive once again!

To hope, hummingbirds, and the revival of Rockport, TX!
Pat

Saw my FIRST Ruby-throated Hummingbird on April 12, 2014 !

003 - Ruby-th Humm w-sig

 

Yesterday, Saturday, April 12, was a good day! Hope you got out to enjoy it too. Clay and I went to Cape May Point to join Tom Reed in his SPRING WATCH.

The highlight for me was when Tom called out: ” HUMMINGBIRD ! ! ! “

At 8:55 a.m. Tom spotted a Ruby-throated Hummingbird migrating north across Delaware Bay, heading for the tip of the Cape May Peninsula. It was at the top of a cloud bank, higher than I would have expected. I was scanning like mad low over the choppy waves of Delaware Bay.

According to Hummingbirds.net the first NJ sighting was on Friday, April 11. I hung 3 feeders (with only about 2 ounces in each) earlier in the week, seeing that they were already as far north as across the Delaware Bay.

We haven’t seen one in our yard   Y E T, but expect a feisty male to find our feeders and settle in by the end of this coming week or next. Our gardens are not much yet, so feeders are crucial if you hope to entice hummingbirds to settle in. Then be sure to have a jam packed garden and habitat full of native plants that bloom from early spring through fall. Too, maintain those feeders so they offer something as fresh as nectar . . . hence why you don’t fill them to the brim (since you’ll be dumping the solution at least once a week, cleaning, and partially filling with fresh solution). Oh, and NO RED DYE! It’s cancer causing, so DUH . . . who wants to do that to hummingbirds?

WANT TO LEARN MORE ?

Join me for the following fun and informative program that I will be teaching for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May,1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; 609-898-8848.

RUBY-THROATED HUMMINGBIRDS 101
All About Them and How to Attract Them
(with Pat Sutton)
Saturday, April 19, 2014
1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Learn where Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have they been all winter. Will more than one settle into your backyard garden? Where is the nest? What does the female use to build her tiny nest? Is bottled nectar (or red dye) needed for a feeder? What are the two reasons hummingbirds like spiders? Even if you think you know everything about these winged jewels, expect to be surprised by what you learn during this presentation by Pat Sutton, naturalist and long-time wildlife gardener. Sutton will show off an actual hummingbird nest and share essential tips on how to ready your yard so that you can be entertained by a blizzard of hummingbirds for the next five months. Before this program, download, print, and read the NJ Audubon articles by Pat Sutton: “How to Create a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden” and “Recommended Plantings to Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Moths.”
Limit: 20 participants. Preregistration is required (through NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204; 609-898-8848)
Cost: members $15, nonmembers $20
(includes handouts and FREE Tropical Salvia seeds)

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To get you jazzed, you might want to read several of my hummingbird posts from Native Plants and Wildlife Gardens:

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds

T H E Y ‘ R E   B A C K  !

Ruby-thHumm(male)-4-18-09-on feeder

Hi Gardening Gang,

Thel Brown wrote to let me know that she had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visit her West Deptford garden yesterday (Saturday, April 2) in Gloucester County, NJ (up near the Delaware River).

Don’t know about you, but I worked feverishly last night to get ready for them in my own yard. I boiled up a quart of solution (1 cup sugar & 4 cups of water), let it cool down in the refrigerator, and this morning filled and hung 4 feeders, hither & yon. I stored the extra solution in my refrigerator. This time of year you don’t need to fill your feeders, since activity is minimal (1 territorial male and maybe 1 female a week or so later, if you’re lucky). I only put 2 ounces in each feeder & will empty them, clean them thoroughly, & refill with 2 ounces of fresh solution once a week (unless the weather turns HOT & then clean & refill more frequently. I don’t fill the feeders with 4 ounces each until activity picks up in late June (when the first batch of young are “on the wing”).

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have spent the winter in southern Mexico (and as far south as Costa Rica). They arrived in the U.S. in late February and have been moving north, keeping pace with the opening of their favorite flowers.

So far all my garden has to offer is the first few flowers on my Flowering Quince shrubs and budding Red Maple trees. My Coral Honeysuckle vine recently leafed out, but I don’t even see buds yet. SO feeders are crucial now to newly arrived hummers.

Keep track of their movements by following this terrific website Hummingbirds.net

I’m looking forward to teaching a program all about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds for NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May on April 16 (Saturday). Consider joining me! The more you know about these winged jewels, the better your chances are of attracting hummingbirds to your own garden & holding on to them by knowing and practicing wildlife-friendly gardening. Details follow:

Ruby-th Humm on Cardinal Flower by Pat SuttonApril 16 (Saturdays) — 1 to 3 pm

“Hummingbirds 101 — All About Ruby-throated Hummingbirds & How to Attract Them — with Pat Sutton”

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May, 1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

Get ready, get set, Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are coming. Where have they been all winter? In the Tropics! Why leave a tropical area to return to New Jersey? Will more than one settle into a backyard garden? Where is the nest? What does the female use to build her tiny nest? Do I need to buy bottled nectar for my feeder? Is red dye needed in feeders? Did you know that hummingbirds like spiders (for at least two reasons)? Even if you think you know everything about these winged jewels, expect to be surprised by what you learn during this presentation by Pat Sutton, naturalist and wildlife gardener. She will show you an a actual hummingbird nest and will share essential tips on how to ready your yard so that you can be entertained by a blizzard of hummingbirds for the next five months. Before this program, download, print, and read the NJ Audubon articles by Pat Sutton: “How to Create a Butterfly and Hummingbird Garden” & “Recommended Plantings to Attract Hummingbirds, Butterflies, and Moths.”

Limit: 30 participants; preregistration is required. Cost: $15 member of NJ Audubon Society, $20 nonmember (includes handouts).

Take advantage of the following great opportunities to add additional hummingbird nectar plants to your garden:

April 30 (Saturday) — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Backyard Habitat Plant Swap

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May

1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

This year’s theme is caterpillar host plants! Now is the perfect time to thin out the perennial garden and share some of your garden success with others. Admission to the swap is one plant and a new or used garden tool. The new or used garden tool is your “shower gift” to help the nature center stock up on equipment to use in educational gardening programs. For your admission, you will be entitled to take one “swap plant” home with you. Bring additional plants to swap on a 1:1 ratio. Plants may be dropped off on Friday, April 29th, and you will be given a credit voucher to use on your return on Saturday. Please check out our Web site for a list of caterpillar host plants at NJ Audubon’s website. Admission: One plant and one new or used garden tool.

May 6-7 (Friday-Saturday)

Native Plant Sale & Native Plant Swap at the

Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Jersey Shore

in Pomona, NJ (Atlantic Co)

organized by fellow wildlife gardener Jesse Connor. Lots of excellent hard-to-find natives will be available, including Black Cherry and Red Cedar trees (in the plant swap). Even if you live outside of Atlantic County, it will be worth the drive. April 1st was the deadline for orders for the Plant Sale (but Jesse may have ordered a few extras of certain goodies). To learn full details about the Plant Sale and the Plant Swap download all 4 documents at the UUCSJS website under the header — UUCSJS Annual Native Plant Swap & Sale.

May 21-22 (Saturday & Sunday) — 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

ORDER BY April 30th for pick up May 21 & 22

10th Annual Plant Sale (for Wildlife Gardens)

at NJ Audubon’s Nature Center of Cape May

1600 Delaware Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204 (609-898-8848)

Your gardens will be the buzz, tweet and talk of the neighborhood when you get off to a good start with top-quality plants. We emphasize the use of New Jersey native plants, which benefit wildlife and have a strong ornamental appeal for the backyard landscape. Some non-native (but non-invasive) perennials and annuals, which offer an added boost to butterfly gardens, will also be available. For an order form, call the nature center at 609.898.8848 or go to the NCCM’s 10th Annual Plant Sale Order Form.

HAPPY SPRING & HAPPY GARDENING,

Pat

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds Have Arrived in the US

Hi Gang,

I’ll bet you’re as eager as I am for spring. Well, it is happening. Heard a Wood Frog calling from one of our Dragonfly Ponds in yesterday’s rain.

Our Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have spent the winter in southern Mexico south to Costa Rica. They’ve begun their migration north and have been arriving along the Gulf Coast this past week. They’ll continue moving north, keeping pace with the opening of their favorite flowers. By late March and early April they near NJ, often settling in by mid-April.

Keep track of their movements here.

Happy Spring!