Hummingbird Migration: Garden Traffic in Decline

I’m going to make an extra effort this year to track the hummingbirds at our feeders.  Just one day after musing about their migration habits last week, I read Joan Morris’ column in the San Jose Mercury News.  One of her readers sent in the following:

Dear Joan: I’ve been feeding the hummingbirds from my patio in the same Palo Alto location for more than 10 years now.

Ms. McClellan of Saratoga, who wrote regarding how often her feeders need refilling presently, is probably experiencing what it is like to feed the migratory hummers that pass through our area each fall and spring.

Her Saratoga neighbors probably need to refill their feeders as often during these several weeks while the birds fatten up before moving south.

It will quiet down any day or week now as winter shows more and the migrating birds finish their trips south. Just a few hummingbirds stay over winter locally, and nectar needs will drop.

Then in the spring there will be another, shorter surge of feeding needed on the hummingbirds’ migration north.

Gavin Tanner

I have noticed the increased consumption of nectar at the feeders (we have three).  It’s really cooled down in the last few days, finally feeling like fall. My California Girl uniform of a thin t-shirt and cotton sweater are no longer enough to keep me warm.

I found an informative website called World of Hummingbirds. They have a form on their site for reporting migration habits in your area.  They ask you to wait two full weeks till the last sighting, before submitting details.  I’m looking forward to taking part in this one small way. They use the collected data to: “help researchers around the world better understand and protect hummingbirds.”  I’m all for that.

magnolia feeder

Magnolia feeder: All business

hummingbird green bottle feeder

Beautiful red throat

back garden feeder

Back garden feeder

multiple hummingbirds at the feeder

A rare event at our feeders. They’re usually too territorial to share all at once.

Kitchen window feeder

Kitchen window feeder

Halloween Countdown:

lindy with pumpkin

Lindy Lu loves pumpkins


Wasp Nest Revisted

The garden headline in our local paper today read “Mystery of missing wasp nests.”  How intriguing. Mary Ann K of Walnut creek wrote to the columnist, and had this to say:

“Wasps have been building a nest under the eaves just outside our sliding glass door to the patio  They were not aggressive, and we were able to freely enter and exit, being careful to close the screen door.  The nest grew to about the size of a tennis ball .  The other morning when I checked, it was gone.

We searched the patio and garden and found nothing.  Who stole the nest?”

Joan Morris, columnist for the Bay Area News Group, says that a number of creatures like to dine on wasp nests!  I didn’t know that.  Apparently birds will peck at the nest to retrieve the larva, eventually knocking it to the ground.  Opossums also enjoy snacking on the nest itself, and can easily climb to retrieve it.

wasp nest

Wasp Nest

wasp nest

Wasp working the nest

I checked on our little hive this morning to be sure all was well.  The wasps are quiet and passive, so it’s easy to forget they’re still there.  When they built the nest this summer, it concerned me to see it so close to our back door. After educating myself on the nature of these creatures, I decided to leave the wasps alone.  Now I feel like the protective mother, looking out for her babies in the nest. Are you as fascinated as I am, or a little creeped out (like my husband).?  The more I understand them, the more interesting they become.

Halloween Countdown

The Literate Gourd

The Literate Gourd