BASICS: "Hummingbirds.....where is the person, I ask, who, on observing this glittering fragment of the rainbow, would not pause, admire, and turn his mind with reverence..." (J. J. Audubon).
This is a blog about my summer life at the Baiting Hollow Hummingbird Sanctuary, at my winter garden, Calypso, in the Bahamas, and aspects of life in general.
This private sanctuary is now permanently closed to the general public, as a result of a lawsuit brought by a neighbor. Only my friends and personal guests may visit (

Thursday, April 23, 2015

No hummer yet; another old clip

We went out to Baiting Hollow again this morning. A couple of the feeders had blown down (it gets extremely windy up there), and the others had swayed empty. Refilled and replaced them all (I  use only minifeeders which I only fill 1/3 to 1/2).
It was cold (50F) and blustery so I lit the woodstove and reclined in the back cabin while Claire went shopping (lunch and dinner). I closely observed 3 of the feeders over a 2 hour period but saw no visitors. Conclusion: no hummer has yet adopted the sanctuary as home so far this year.
This isn't surprising - my regular first arrival date is may 1, and I've never seen a hummer before april 27.  So - patience! - as for almost all of you waiting for their first hummer of the year.

Today I feel very slightly better, and I have gained 4 pounds - but still 15 pounds to go.
Meanwhile here's another clip from last summer: hummer feeding at Salvia guaranitica.


  1. I've been awaiting your update. I can wait longer for hummingbirds but I'm glad you're on the mend. ps The video is private; we can't see it.

  2. First male showed up at my feeder in Manorville yesterday. Have had my feeders filled for the last couple of weeks..just in case. Had been joking that they'd show for my birthday, and he did!

  3. Why does Long Island have so relatively few hummingbirds? If one looks at a website tracking their migration, they are well past LI and are already in Conn. Yet I'm seeing none. I'm at the end of LI on the north fork, and I am lucky if I can get one hummer to a feeder during the summer in spite of a large bed of salvia guaranitica, Cardinal plants, and feeders in the front and back of my house.

  4. Thanks everyone for your comments and encouragement. I am indeed very slowly on the mend, and swallowed the last yucky antibiotic yesterday, which should accelerate my well-being. Specifically here is an answer to Mike:

    Mike, first bear in mind that Lanny Chambers' migration map (at you are seeing only the leading edge of the advancing wave - and the earliest hummers we see on LI (eg the april 11 sighting in Islip Terrace) are probably on their way further north. Getting technical, the advancing wave probably has a Gaussian (bell) shape, and because the east coast is densely populated, it can easily detect the low-probability advancing edge. But the main peak probably occurs a couple of weeks later - i.e. today!
    Second, the males arrive a week or 2 earlier than the females, and they will only settle in really good spots, which means lot of trees and above all lots of lichen on the trees. Availability of feeders and nectars is almost irrelevant. Where they come in is in picking up the southward migration, where the numbers are possibly double the northward one. But that will only start mid july, peaking perhaps late august/early sept.
    Third, you are probably getting more visits than you realize: you cannot permanently watch both front and rear beds, and probably you don't even spend an hour per day watching. In Baiting Hollow even though I consistently have a resident male, I might only see him a couple of times a day, and very briefly, in june and early july. That's why I only open during august: most people would just get frustrated waiting in june. I'm lucky because I spend essentially the whole day, for many days at a stretch, working in the garden, or resting there, so get to catch these brief visits. In fact the adult male spends most of his time inspecting the entire 3.5 acres here, and is mostly inconspicuously perched somewhere.With a bit of luck I learn where some of these perches are, which increases my viewing opportunities - though he does change his favorite perches.
    Fourth, there is indeed a lower density of hummers on the island as compared to the mainland, at least partly because there are fewer woods and more people and houses. The best area on the island seems to be Manorville and surrounds - lots of preserved land.
    All of this means that getting regular hummer visits is hard work here - but all the more satisfying when it works out. And consistency over many years with flowers and feeders also helps.
    I predict that if you spend a good deal of time outside you will see one before midmay.
    - Paul