Migration  |  October 11, 2019

Flight of the Hummingbirds

By: Tristan Palmgren

Though it seems to us like the weather has only gotten a little cooler, our hummingbirds sense a big change coming. They know that migration season is on us, and they’ve started to prepare. Some of them are already on the move. You may have already noticed changes in your yards as some of the hummers you’ve been feeding all summer have left, and that you have some new arrivals that have migrated from farther north.

Hummingbird migration is one of nature’s most fascinating phenomena. When hummingbirds realize they’ll need to migrate soon, they start bulking up for the trip. They know instinctively that they’ll be expending a large number of calories soon, and they increase their energy consumption to compensate. Hummingbird nectar is typically made at a concentration of four parts water to one part sugar (and this is as true for Songbird Essentials nectar mixes as homemade nectar). During the migration season, we recommend increasing that concentration to three parts water to one part sugar.

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They need all that energy for a reason. Though some ruby-throated hummingbirds spend their winters in the very southern tip of Florida, the majority of those we see here in Missouri will cross the Gulf of Mexico to winter in Central and Southern America. Their journey will take them hundreds and hundreds of miles over the ocean in just twenty hours. And they’ll do it all in one trip, as there are few to no islands for them to stop on. They’ll traverse all this distance on wings that are just about an inch and half long, and that they need to beat forty to eighty times per second to stay aloft. It’s no wonder they eat more before they go.

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Hummingbirds increase their body weight enormously before migrating, nearly doubling their pre-migration weight. They then expend nearly all of that crossing the ocean. It’s one of the most arduous journeys any migratory species undertakes, let alone a species as small and vulnerable as the hummingbird. Imagine the toll on your body if, every year, you were to drastically increase your body weight and then expended of it in one concentrated burst of exercise. Hummingbirds are more adapted to these sudden gains and losses than our bodies would be, but it is still quite taxing on them.

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Hummingbirds have been migrating in this style for millions of years. Their lifestyle well predates human civilization. If only for our mental well-being, it’s important to remember that hummingbirds are not dependent on humans to survive. Our goal in feeding these birds is not to replace or micromanage an ecosystem, but to supplement it, and to encourage desirable and colorful visitors to come to our backyards. However, their migration does mean that the hummingbird’s dietary needs change, and those of us who provide food for them need to be aware of that fact. The same hummingbirds that frequented your feeders in spring will be looking for something different, and stronger, at the end of the season.

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The fact that hummingbirds not only survive this trip but have thrived as a species is one of the many traits that make them wonders of nature. Another trait is their fantastic memory and sense of geolocation. Not only do they migrate incredible distances, they can pinpoint specific locations, and return to the same backyards that they left months and months—and thousands of miles—ago. If you’ve been feeding hummingbirds regularly throughout this season, you can place a good bet that you’ll see those same birds next spring.

Events  |  

Songbird Station Open House

We invite YOU to our Fall Open House for a day filled with fun, educational opportunities and
discounts! Refreshments available while you shop plus door prizes every hour.

When: Saturday, October 26th
Time: 11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Where: Songbird Station, 2010 Chapel Plaza Court, Suite C Columbia, MO 65203

Local photographers have been working hard all year to capture the perfect shot of their backyard birds. Please view their wonderful photos and cast your votes in-store the week of October 21st – 25th during regular business hours.

 

Events  |  August 13, 2019

2019 Photo Contest

Full Contest Rules:

Submission Period
January 15, 2019 – October 1, 2019

Exhibit & Voting
October 21, 2019 – October 25, 2019

Open House

October 26, 2019 11am -2pm
Contest winners will be announced at 2pm

2019 Contest Details

We invite our customers to come to our stores to view the winning pictures that will be on display for the next year.

Email submissions to:
kaylee@goldcrestdistributing.com

General Information

Subject: Wild Birds Only

Photographs from birds in captivity will not be accepted, this includes
events with wild birds.

Eligibility: General Public (Except SBS Staff)

Display Location: Songbird Station Columbia, MO

Submission Period:  January 15, 2019 through October 1, 2019

Photo Information:

Photographer Name & Contact Information

Photo Title or Information (i.e. Robin in Feeder, etc.)

SBS will assign a reference number to each entry

Suggested Subjects and Categories:

Wild Birds in their Natural Habitat

Wild Birds at Feeders, Baths & Houses

Wild Bird Behavior
Group Shots (2 or more wild birds)

People Enjoying Wild Birds

Photo Composition:

Must also provide a digital copy to kaylee@goldcrestdistributing.com
Resolution Size: 300 – (Photoshop is ok)

Number of Submissions:

Up to Three (3) per Photographer

Judging and Voting:
Photos will be judged during business hours October 21, 2019 through October 25, 2019 at close of business. All photos are judged by the public.

The Winners will be announced:

October 26th at 2:00 pm. 

Prizes

First Place: $100.00 Gift Card

Second Place: $50.00 Gift Card

Third Place: $25.00 Gift Card

Disclaimer

Songbird Station (SBS) reserves the right to edit photo comments to make them more clear to viewers. Songbird Station is not responsible for damage, loss or degradation of submitted photos. Photos must have been taken by the submitting photographer. Each photographer is responsible for all questions connected with copyright issues. Submitted images become property of SBS and photographer agrees to permit use of submitted photos on the SBS web site, social media, and in future SBS advertising without charge.