Hummingbirds in Texas


The tiniest of all birds descend on Texas every Spring as they migrate northward.  18 species of hummingbirds have been identified in Texas with 9 being common.  The greatest variety are found in West Texas.  The Davis Mountains and Chisos Mountains areas are great places to observe the black-chinned hummingbird, the black feathers on his throat catching the light and flashing a beautiful royal purple as the rapid beat of his tiny wings, up to 80 times a second produces the hum these birds are named for.  East of Interstate 35 including where we live in the Dallas/Forth Worth area the ruby-throated hummingbird is common.  To prepare your own hummingbird food mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water.  Bring the water to a boil, stir in the sugar, boil 2-3 minutes until sugar is dissolved and let cool.  Never substitute honey for the sugar.  It is toxic to the birds.  Red food coloring is not necessary.  The hummers feed every 10-15 minutes so you can expect a lot of activity at your feeder especially during migration.  It is recomended that  Texans leave their feeders up year round as some birds spend the winter in Texas.  At night they go into a hibernation like state called a torpor and arouse from it quickly as necessary.  The hummingbirds northward migration is timed to the blooming of certain flowers.  Many of them travel 2.500 miles from Mexico to Alaska. resting in South Texas after flying 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico.  If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden choose native plants of bright color with tubular shaped flowers.  25 percent of the hummingbird diet consists of insects so choose plants for your garden that attract insects as well.   When you are camping at Davis Mountains State Park in West Texas or Big Bend National Park set up your hummingbird feeder in a nearby tree and enjoy these tiny birds as they hover, fly up and down then backwards putting on one of nature’s greatest shows.

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