I don't think the increased activity is related to the migration of a non-resident species. The birds showing up at the feeder appear to be our year-round residents, the Anna's hummingbirds (Calypte anna). While the seasonal migrations of Rufous hummingbirds (Selasphorus rufous) do lead to all-out hummingbird wars, its too early for them to show up. And none of the birds at the window have the copper-colored backs characteristic of the Rufous (not that it's easy to get close enough to check their plumage).
So, why is there suddenly such increased use of the feeder? Maybe the birds have cut back on their foraging because they're hard at work building nests or feeding their young? I'd like to believe that but I'm just a little concerned that my recent flurry of pruning activity may be a contributing factor.
In my garden, the hummingbirds' absolute favorite food source is Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink' in my front garden. I have 6 of these plants: 3 on each side of the central walkway. Up until last week they were in full bloom.
|Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink"|
|Cuphea ignea 'Starfire Pink' (after haircut)|
I swear I wasn't ignoring the needs of the hummingbirds with reckless pruning! I have 3 other Cuphea ignea 'Starfire' and 3 more Cuphea 'Kristin's Delight' elsewhere in the garden. As far as I can tell, 'Kristin's Delight' is identical to 'Starfire'.
|Cuphea 'Kristin's Delight'|
|Grevillea lavandulacea 'Penola'|
|Heuchera (no record of variety)|
|Cuphea aff. Aequipetala|
|Ribes viburnifolium 'Catalina Pink Currant'|
So where's the beef? The hummingbirds aren't talking - at least, not to me.
To make up for the lousy photographs of hummingbirds shown above, I'm including some much better pictures with the permission of ericnp.net (aka my brother), who is a vastly better photographer than I am. These pictures were taken about 50 miles northeast of my location. Bird identifications were provided courtesy of my mother-in-law.
|Female Allen's hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)|
|Anna's hummingbird (Calypte anna)|