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The Journey South, Hummingbird Migration
September 23, 2019

What a wonderful week, weather wise we just experienced here in my part of Michigan.

We celebrated Yolanda's birthday.

Made a three day event of it for her.

Friday and Saturday did bring some late summer heat and humidity.

Saturday evening and Sunday brought some needed rain.

(Notice the mantis in the middle of the picture, you may have to look a bit.)


I think all of the remodel and construction work around here is done.

Out home was a mess, and out of sorts for most of summer.

The results are just fine.

New readers, we had several projects going on to make home more accessible for Yolanda, and easier for us too.

At the bottom of this letter is a Tree Frog that Karen didn't see as she was changing decorations from summer to fall.

Had I not looked, this tree frog would've died in our shed.

Also, notice the hornets nest.

How it blends in with the surroundings.

Continue to care for your annuals.

(I enjoyed the three layers of clouds, and different movements.)

For many, it is time to start pruning back perennials and slowly getting your lawns ready for winter.

This might mean a Fall/Winter fertilizer, and start shortening the length of your grass by setting your mower a notch shorter and then another notch.

If you are like me, I continue to enjoy the bounties of the season.

Late season veggies, and all the tasty fruits and melons that flood roadside stands and markets.

Enjoy, as the season is fleeting.

Monarch migration continues.

This week's topic ..............

Is Hummingbird Migration.


It happens every year:

Creation has set up a wonderful system for all of nature.

The daylight hours grow shorter and
the temperatures become cooler.

All of the natural world's time clocks run on the length of day, with the warmth and cool days playing a part.

Plant life begins to shut down as
many of us look forward to the brilliant colors of autumn.

Leaves are shed, annuals die off, and perennials
die back after storing food to survive another winter.

Four legged creatures respond to the calls of nature as well.

Many are blessed with a winter coat.

Even I have been known to add a little winter wool (weight).

Yes, many animals will not only put on a thick winter coat, but some change colors as well.

Still other may migrate, add wool and change colors, like the Great Caribou herds of Alaska and Canada.

Still others feast and gorge on anything edible to gain needed weight to either survive hibernation or the lean times ahead.

Creation is so awe inspiring isn't it?

Most insects go into dormancy or may be unique and be a true migratory insect like Monarch butterflies.

While many species of birds tough out the cold northern winters, others have big plans ahead of them.

Our feathered friends have different ways of handling the cold of winter.

Some birds molt into a whole different color for winter like our American goldfinches.

Others actually add a winter coat by adding several hundred feathers and can adjust blood flow.

Still others migrate to warmer climates, or even to sub-tropical and tropical regions.

Birds like the snow goose often make the trip from northern Canada to the southern states in a non stop flight.

Other birds dawdle and take their time on the trip south.

Our beloved hummingbirds are no different.

Diminutive Feathered Marvels:

Poetry on Wings.

Flying Jewels.

Little Dynamo

Call them what you want.

We all admire them, and are in awe of their abilities.

Even the brash, sometimes cockiness that a hummer displays.

Some of your hummingbirds may be gone by now, and you may have other hummers that have moved in for a spell.

Hummingbirds need to fatten up and head south while food supplies are abundant.

Before killing frosts take care of many flowering plants and before the insects go dormant.

August and September are ideal times to fatten up and gradually head south.

Flowers are peaking and human feeders offer important supplements.

Equipped only with Creation's natural gifts, a hummingbird will automatically begin to gorge itself.

Even juveniles that are totally clueless, as parents don't bother to teach or train.

Male hummingbirds are out of the picture after mating.

The mother hummer looks at her fledglings as competition for food and will chase them away, as soon as they are able to care for themselves.

In reality, most hummingbirds just plain don't like each other and can show some real aggression certain times of the year.

(This picture is a few years old, but still a favorite of mine.)

Especially the Ruby-throated hummingbirds

There are times they tolerate each other, but a social bird they aren't.

Yet the God given instinct tells a young bird they need to add some serious weight and soon.

Fledglings or juvenile hummingbirds look much like their mother in color and markings.

Though in some species a young male will support a 5:00 o'clock shadow where a colorful 'gorget' (pronounced Gor-Get), will be after molting.

Sometimes a real feather or two of color will mix in with bearded look.

Hummers need to double their weight and spend a lot of extra energy to do so.

For the Ruby-throat, that means going from, one tenth of an ounce, to two tenths of an ounce.

And they need to do it now.

When the call comes, each little bird has hopefully doubled its weight and takes off on its own.

No flocks, no gathering place, they simply are here today and gone tomorrow.

By the time the birds reach parts of the south, it may seem like a flock has converged, but each hummer has shown up on its own.

For More Information, Read Hummingbird Migration.

By the time the birds reach parts of the south, it may seem like a flock has converged, but each hummer has shown up on its own.

I offer several nectar rich flowers, but I also bump up my feeders from 4 parts to 1 to 3 parts to 1.

In actuality, 3 parts to 1 is closer to more flowers than 4 to 1 ratio is.

This is key to helping them fatten up.

Read Hummingbirds, Feeding and Care for Feeders.

I don't need to see hummers at my feeders more often, I need them to fatten up.

Do not take your feeders down, you aren't keeping a hummer from migrating.

The truth is............

You will be saving a hummer life or two.

Keeping your feeders up and full will not keep the birds from migrating.

I am being redundant.

Remember, they eat lots of protein in their diets too and that doesn't come from sugar feeders.

They need insects!

Shortened days, not a lack of food, will tell the hummingbirds when to begin their journey.

Leave the feeders up at least three weeks after seeing your last bird, sometimes a fledgling gets a late start.

On occasion there is a confused bird or two as well.

This will help migrating birds that pass through your area.

It is important to leave your feeders up Clean and full.

Migrating birds need all the quick and easy nourishment they can find to sustain the incredible energy demands of migration.

It is vital that hummingbirds fatten up for their extended trips that require almost unimaginable amounts of energy.

Will you do your part?

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

"There is nothing so comfortable as money, - but nothing so defiling if it be come by unworthily; nothing so comfortable, but nothing so noxious if the mind be allowed to dwell upon it constantly. If a man have enough, let him spend it freely. If he wants it, let him earn it honestly."


Having money is a good thing,

Helping others with some of your spare cash is even better.

When the love of money gets in the way of your daily life, you have crossed the line.

Notice the word of God says "The Love of Money", not money itself.

"For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs."

1 Timothy: 6-10

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb.

A Blessed week to you .

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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