Hummingbird

A hummingbird gets nectar from a flower in this photo made by Jim Flynn.

The first hummingbirds of the year were spotted in Guntersville this week. Photographer Bob Blankenship saw his first one of the season early in the week.

But hummers are not the only birds coming and going. The spring migration is getting underway in earnest.

Retired State Park naturalist Linda Reynolds said it is time to get those hummingbird feeders out if you haven’t already.

“The recommended recipe is one part of sugar to 4 parts of water,” she said. “You need to heat it, but not boil it. The heat helps dissolve the sugar. There’s no need to put red dye in it. Most hummingbird feeders have red on them.”

When Reynolds was the active naturalist at the park, she kept records on the arrival of hummingbirds in our area. March 21 was her earliest recorded sighting, so you might say the hummers are right on time.

We’re not sure if the white pelicans that spent a big part of the winter on Guntersville Lake are gone. Reynolds said she hadn’t seen any here in awhile, but she did see about a dozen on Weiss Lake a week ago.

“The spring migration is definitely underway,” she said. “A friend of mine over in Madison had a Baltimore oriole on a feeder. Stuff is turning up all over Alabama. Purple martins are here and they are already nesting.

“Barn swallows and tree swallows are here. I saw my bluebirds fighting off some tree swallows that were trying to take over their house. So I nailed a bluebird box to the back of my boathouse and the tree swallows moved into it just fine.”

Reynolds will be traveling to Dauphin Island in April for a meeting of the Ornithological Society. All kinds of migrants will be coming across the Gulf of Mexico and that is an exciting time for birders to be on the coast.

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