Hummingbird bill

Joined: June 7th, 2017, 2:11 pm

October 1st, 2017, 3:09 pm #1

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b


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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 3:18 am

October 1st, 2017, 9:33 pm #2

Carol, there is absolutely nothing abnormal about a hummer having pollen caked on its bill. It indicates that the bird has been hitting lots of flowers and likely it is well-fed. The pollen on its bill does not hinder the bird from feeding normally. I would see this as a good thing.

Your birds are also not at risk from a temperature of 45ºF though this cold snap might well be their signal to skeedadle.
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, LA
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Joined: March 6th, 2008, 2:20 am

October 3rd, 2017, 4:38 pm #3

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

I see it all the time. Here's one from last Thurs.:

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Joni
Elwood, IL
Zone 5b
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Joined: June 7th, 2017, 2:11 pm

October 12th, 2017, 5:10 pm #4

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

Nancy, thanks for your comment about the caked-on pollen on this hummingbird's bill. Here is another image taken on October 1, 2017, of this individual sitting on a favorite thin branch of a Purple Smoke bush. There is still plenty of pollen on the flowers for any stragglers, a bit wet today, and no hummingbirds that I've seen for the past two days.

I like the book, "Do Hummingbirds Hum?" by George C. West and Carol A. Butler. The authors wrote this verbatim about migration: "A great deal of research creating artificial light/dark situations in laboratories has demonstrated that the behavior of virtually all animals studied is sensitive to circadian rhythms. Circannual rhythms (from circa meaning "around" and annus meaning "year") are similar migratory behavior, triggered by both internal impulses and seasonal factors like the length of day, changes in temperatures and humidity, and the availability of food.

Hummingbirds evolved in the tropics, where there was no need for migration, but many species have dispersed and now live part of their lives in areas where the seasons change, and so they need to migrate to survive. The increasing hours of daylight (photoperiod) are the cue for songbirds to begin preparing for migration, but this may not be the stimulus for hummingbirds. For example, Anna's and Costa's hummingbirds move north in winter and begin breeding in December, before the photo-period has begun to increase. Many hummingbird species are permanent residents, especially those living near the equator, and although they may not respond to day-length changes, there must be other cues that stimulate them to begin their breeding season.

The instinct to migrate is so well ingrained in the hummingbirds that summer in North America that you do not have to worry that the presence of feeders in your yard will entice the birds to remain there instead of migrating. Hummingbirds will visit your feeders in late summer and fall, get fat, and then depart on schedule, despite the surplus nectar easily available in your feeder."




Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b
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Joined: June 21st, 2006, 1:24 pm

October 13th, 2017, 6:33 am #5

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

Carol,

Since we educate groups of people about hummingbirds and gardening for them, it is a very common misconception that if you leave feeders up past Labor Day the birds will stay and not migrate when they should. Hummingbirds migrate based on length of day and to a certain extent food availability. Most of this migration urge is embedded deep in their brains and nothing that we do can change it one way or another. We leave feeders out sometimes until Thanksgiving and this has never prevented our hummingbirds from migrating---they are typically all gone by the second or third week of October. In 2010 we had a very late hummingbird (did not depart until November 17) and our feeders helped that very late bird and we don't feel that providing food for him prevented him from migrating until he was ready. We hope he made it to the Gulf Coast area and spent the winter there.
Madison, WI
Zone 5a
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 3:18 am

October 13th, 2017, 3:57 pm #6

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

Kathi, to add to your 'on target' comments, I will say that in my studies, it has become obvious that creatures [especially birds] migrate when there is an abundance of natural food. They can ill-afford to wait until resources become scarce.

I am still seeing at least 4 individual Ruby-throateds. Very soon, they will be gone. I have 5 feeders out, but they are all using the flowers, which are abundant at my place.
Nancy L Newfield
Casa Colibrí
Metairie, LA
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Joined: May 19th, 2013, 4:51 pm

October 17th, 2017, 11:26 pm #7

This hummingbird has some yellow on it's bill, which might not be pollen. I wonder if it occurred from an injury or if it is pollen which is caked on. I watched it quite a bit this morning and the yellow did not come off during flight or while perching and grooming. I have at least three here this morning. The temperature was 44F when I got up today.

Hummingbird with yellow on its bill


Carol Trego
New Cumberland, Pennsylvania USA
Zone 6b

Well, I am patiently waiting for some to arrive...
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