Wintering Hummingbirds

October through March

During the past 20 years there has been a steadily increasing number of hummingbirds wintering in Louisiana, both in number of individuals and number of species. The reasons for this relatively recent expansion are not known for certain, but probably include such factors as milder winters, expansion of wintering ranges from their traditional wintering areas in Mexico, and the increase in popularity of gardens designed specifically to attract and feed hummingbirds. Seven species of hummingbirds can regularly be seen in south Louisiana gardens, including Rufous, Allen’s, Black-chinned, Calliope, Buff-bellied, Broad-tailed, and the Ruby-throated. The Rufous Hummingbird, however, is the species most likely to be seen. Typically, the Rufous Hummingbird makes up about three-fourths of the hummingbirds identified during a Christmas Bird Count. In some winters small numbers of Broad-billed and Anna’s hummingbirds may make a winter appearance.

A few wintering hummingbirds such as Buff-bellied can be seen in the “wild” in the Towns of Cameron (Loop 2) and Grand Isle ( Loop 9). However, wintering hummingbirds are almost exclusively seen in homeowners’ yards. In fact, some homes are so well-known for their number and variety of hummingbirds that they are known as “hummer havens”. Many of the homeowners allow visitors to view their birds after giving permission. To contact people who are hosting wintering hummingbirds, call the Baton Rouge, Terrebonne or Orleans Audubon bird clubs (www.birdlouisiana.com), or subscribe to the listserv Humnet. Many wintering hummingbird enthusiasts can be contacted through Humnet. (To learn how to subscribe see FAQ’s).

 

   
   
photo credit/caption:Dennis Demcheck