Tips for Gulf Coast arrival of ruby-throated hummingbirds

Timing: Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically arrive on the Gulf Coast in early spring, around March or April, depending on the specific location. Keep an eye on local migration reports to anticipate their arrival in your area.

Provide Nectar: Set up hummingbird feeders filled with a homemade or store-bought nectar solution. Mix one part white granulated sugar with four parts water, and avoid using honey, artificial sweeteners, or red dye.

Native Plants: Plant native flowers and shrubs that attract hummingbirds, such as trumpet vine, coral honeysuckle, bee balm, and salvia. These plants provide additional nectar sources and habitat for the birds.

Water Source: Install a shallow water feature, such as a birdbath or misting fountain, for hummingbirds to drink and bathe. Ensure the water is clean and shallow to prevent drowning.

Perching Spots: Place small perches near your feeders and flowers to give hummingbirds a place to rest between feeding sessions. Natural branches or decorative twigs can serve this purpose.

Reduce Pesticide Use: Minimize the use of pesticides and herbicides in your garden to protect hummingbirds and other pollinators from harmful chemicals. Opt for natural pest control methods whenever possible.

Regular Cleaning: Clean your hummingbird feeders and water features regularly to prevent the growth of mold, bacteria, and algae. Use a mild solution of water and vinegar or a bottle brush to scrub the feeder components thoroughly.

Monitor Activity: Keep an eye on hummingbird activity in your yard and adjust the number and location of feeders as needed. Some territorial males may chase others away from feeders, so providing multiple feeding stations can help reduce aggression.