Hummingbirds arrive in Colorado

Natasha Lovato
A Broad-tailed Hummingbird sipping nectar from wildflowers in Parker.Ron Beller

Natasha Lovato / NewsBreak Denver

(Douglas County, Colo.) Hummingbirds are beginning to arrive in Douglas County, and now is the time to prepare for their arrival. Consider setting out a hummingbird feeder and downloading the bird tracking app by The Audubon Society.

In Colorado, a handful of hummingbird species make their way into the state every year, including Rufous, Calliope, Ruby-throated, Broad-billed, Costa's, Magnificent, White-eared, and Anna's hummingbirds. There are two nesting Hummingbirds in Colorado— the Black-chinned Hummingbird and the Broad-tailed Hummingbird. All of which play an essential role in the food chain as pollinators.

Hummingbirds are at risk, like other pollinators, due to habitat loss, a lack of abundance in nectar plants, the spread of invasive plants and pesticide use. According to Scott Rashid, director of the Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute, hummingbird populations have severely dropped in recent years.

"Numbers have been dropping exponentially because their winter grounds are being destroyed," Rashid said. "They migrate to Mexico and Central American areas, depending on the species, and because of deforestation their grounds have been destroyed."

Rashid explained that providing feeders now through mid-October is essential to give them the energy they need for nesting and being able to migrate before winter arrives.

The Hummingbird feeder recipe

· Mix one-part pure sugar cane sugar with four-parts water

· Bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present

· Cool to room temperature, and fill the feeder

· Store extra sugar water in a refrigerator

· Clean hummingbird feeders once a week thoroughly, making sure there is no excess soap present

"Keep the dye out of your feeders, don't buy those pre-made mixes," Rashid added.

Tracking hummingbirds

The Audubon Society's app can track hummingbirds and over 800 species of North American birds. The bird identification ability narrows down the possible matches in real-time. The app also can share photos, keep track of sightings, and more.

Click here for more information on the research Rashid and The Colorado Avian Research and Rehabilitation Institute conducted on hummingbirds.

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