Hummer Happenings in Georgia
Ruby-throats are Here!
The Ruby-throats are arriving and are being seen in most areas of Georgia. As I write this I have heard about sightings pretty much everywhere except the mountain areas. In the next week or so they should be arriving to a feeder near you in the mountains too. Most of these sightings are males, but the females will not be far behind. Once they get settled they will begin nesting immediately. Many of the birds you are seeing now are just passing through. If you do not have a nest nearby, you may not see many or any hummingbirds from late April through the end of June. Then regardless of where you live you should start to see some hummingbirds at your feeder. From early July through mid-October the young birds are learning to find feeders and once the nesting activity is complete all will begin to fatten up and start to migrate back to the winter grounds. I hope it is a good summer for everyone as you enjoy the smallest species of bird in Georgia in your yard!
We Have a New Website!
Please take a look at our new website. Some of the areas are still under construction, but there will be some new photos and content coming soon! Thanks for your patience.
In Memory of Buddy Rowe 1925 -2012
Buddy Rowe, our beloved friend and founder of Georgia Hummers passed away on Monday, July 2, 2012 and went home to be with Jesus, His Lord and Savior. Interestingly, Buddy passed away on his 64th wedding anniversary, joining his wife who had preceded him in death. Buddy loved three things with a passion: his family and friends, Jesus, and hummingbirds!
Buddy Rowe is survived by his 3 children, 3 grandchildren, 5 great-grandchildren and by his friend and neighbor, Lee, who helped care for Buddy and who is now caring for and feeding Buddy's hummingbirds. Buddy Rowe was a one-of-a-kind, sweet, passionate, loving man who will always be remembered not only by the beautiful family he leaves behind, but by those of us who have been deeply impacted by his friendship and his devotion and passion for hummingbirds! Georgia Hummers is so grateful to Buddy for what he has done to promote the study and love of hummingbirds in the state of Georgia. To quote Buddy, he was a "Hummer Lover!" Buddy will always be fondly remembered as the founder of Georgia Hummers, and he will be greatly missed!
Georgia Has Hummingbirds All Year Long
Georgia is a great place to watch hummingbirds. Like the rest of the Southeast we have hummingbirds all year long. While we only have one specie that breeds here, we have had eleven other species that have been recorded in Georgia. Our resident breeder the Ruby-throated Hummingbird arrives in Georgia in late February or early March and usually is last seen around mid-October. Prior to the Ruby-throats departure we start seeing the winter hummingbird species start to arrive. Most winter hummers show up at feeders in mid-November through December, but they could show up at anytime, even as early as August! These winter hummingbirds can stay into late March or early April. For more details on what is being seen and where in Georgia, check out the Winter Hummingbird Sightings.
To the right you can view two western species of hummingbirds banded in the Atlanta area several winters ago. The first two photos are of an adult male Calliope Hummingbird in Decatur, GA and the third picture is a young male Black-chinned Hummingbird in Roswell, GA. The adult male Calliope returned to the same yard again the following winter
We recommend that you leave at least one feeder out all year. You may get one of these western species spend the winter in your yard. If you do, let us know through Reporting Your Hummers! We would like you to report any hummingbird that you see after November 1st through March 1st.
Buff-bellied Hummingbird in Georgia!
On January 2 2010, Martha and Richard Armstrong had a very special visitor to their hummingbird feeder on St. Simons Island! Georgia's 2nd ever Buff-bellied Hummingbird. The bird was banded by Doreen Cubie Tues morning 1/5/10 and is sharing its feeder with a Ruby-throated Hummingbird. Here is a photo taken by Richard and Martha Armstrong on Jan 4th.
Broad-tailed Hummingbird in Georgia!
In the 2005-2006 season, we had three very rare visitors to Georgia, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds! All three of the birds that visited GA were hatching year males. Hatching year means the bird was hatched this calendar year, so the bird is approximately 4 months old. The Broad-tailed Hummingbird in the photo to the rightwas visiting a feeder in the Big Canoe subdivision near Jasper, GA. We also had one near Suwanee and near Lake Rabun. These records were the 4th, 5th and 6th ever record for Georgia. So keep watching those feeders, you may get one of these little visitors from the western US.
White Hummingbirds in Georgia
This summer was about average for white hummingbird sightings in Georgia. Every year about 2 to 3 reports come in of white or tan hummingbirds. These birds lack the melanin pigment in their feather and are either albino or leucistic. These birds while very beautiful and unique looking apparently don’t live into adulthood. All the reports so far have been of young birds and they are seen only in the summer or early fall. There have not been any spring or early summer records of these stunning birds. In 2004, Russell Johnson in Ellijay, GA had one show up in early September at his feeders and spent most of the month there. He reported that it was usually the dominant bird. To the right are couple great photos that he took of this bird.
Five Hummingbird Nests in Three Years!
I am not sure what the record is for the most hummingbird nests on a porch, but Gene and Gaye Bottorff are off to a good start. In 2002, they had a nest on one of their porch swings that fledged two young. To see photos of that nest and young click Gainesville 2002. Gene preserved the nest by taking the swing down and putting it in storage over the winter. It paid off. In 2003, a female hummer fixed up the nest and laid two eggs. For some unknown reason, this bird abandoned this nest and then a female started building a nest on his other porch swing! This nest fledged one young. This year, Gene noticed two females fighting over his porch light. Shortly after, one female started building a nest and laid two eggs. Only one of these eggs hatched and Gene assisted me in banding this bird at about 15 days old. Click on photos to enlarge.
© Rusty Trump 2004
After banding this bird, we went to look at the old nests on both of his porch swings. The nest from 2002/2003 was starting to deteriorate, but the nest from last year was repaired and new material was added to it. Gene got a ladder and we looked in the nest to discover two eggs. Below is the sequence of photos of this nest. Click on any photo to enlarge.
© Rusty Trump 2004
Above: In the first photo are the eggs. Note how the female was not finished putting the lichens on the nest. You can see the pink dryer lint that Gaye put out for the birds. In the second photo, the female is brooding the young. In the third photo, the first baby has hatched. You can still see the broken shell and the unhatched egg next to it. In the fourth photo, the young are 1 & 2 days old and the fifth photo shows them at 2 & 3 days old.
© Rusty Trump 2004
Above: In the first photo, the young are 3 & 4 days old. In the second photo, they are 4 & 5 days old. In the third photo, they are 5 & 6 days old. In the fourth photo, they are 8 & 9 days old. The fifth photo shows the young the day we banded them when they were 10 & 11 days old. Please note that it is unlawful to disturb or remove nesting birds without a federal and state permit.
Below: The next three photos shows the young at 10 & 11 days old. The second photo, shows the 11 day old nestling. The third photo shows the 10 day old nestling. This nestling must have been fed right before banding as you can see its crop is quite full and bulging. Look closely on its leg and you can see its new band!
© Rusty Trump 2004
Below: The first photo shows the young at 12 & 13 days old. The second photo at 14 & 15 days old. The third photo at 16 & 17 days old. The fourth photo is at 18 & 19 days old. The fifth photo shows the two at 20 & 21 days old. Both birds fledged the next day at 21 & 22 days old.
© Rusty Trump 2004