Thursday, July 28, 2011

Help western hummingbirds migrate through fire ravaged Arizona

The extensive wildfire burns in Arizona are creating concern by experts (ie, Southeastern Bird Observatory/Sheri Williamson) for hummingbirds migrating through there as there are fewer flowers for them and it has been suggested that birders in Colorado and other states along their migration routes help by supplying hummingbirds with more food to fatten them up.  I have extracted the following from an online ornithology forum:

  • "The fires are out now, thanks to the arrival of the late-summer monsoons. But over large areas, burned forests now offer much less understory and fewer hummingbird flowers. In what looks like a direct result of missing natural food sources, hummingbirds are being seen in unusually high numbers around towns, according to Sheri Williamson, director of the Southeastern Arizona Bird Observatory (SABO) in Bisbee, Arizona.
  • Williamson said she’s not worried about the long-term prospects of the hummingbirds—the forest and its understory will recover. “But we are coming into peak hummingbird migration season in the next few weeks,” she said. “I’ve got a yard full of Rufous Hummingbirds right now and it’s only going to get worse.” She noted that she has seven hummingbird feeders in her yard—about three times the number she usually has this time of year.
  • Williamson has a few suggestions for people who want to help ease the burden on hummingbirds:
  • Locals who don’t presently feed hummingbirds can start feeding them, and people who already do can add feeders for the next few months
  • Coloradoans, Utahans, and others who live farther north along migration routes could try supplying more hummingbird food than usual. “Feed those birds well so they’re nice and fat when they take off,” Williamson said, “Maybe that’ll give them a little bit of a cushion.”
  • [noting that fire will bring better habitat in the long run Williamson said,] "Things are going to eventually be much better for hummingbirds than they have been. But for a while—weeks, months, maybe a couple of years—things are going to be hard.”
So let's all put out some sugar water for those hummingbirds here in Colorado and help fatten them up.  Please post to your interested groups.

You can also help by sponsoring a Kaytee kit giveaway by purchasing the package, for a reduced price, via Amazon. Check Kaytee’s Arizona Hummingbird Disaster Relief site for details. Thanks.  SeEtta