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Helping hummingbirds

A male ruby-throated hummingbird perches in my backyard. These tough and tiny birds migrate long distances and must eat once every 10 to 15 minutes and visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers per day. You can help them survive by planting flowers and providing water sources. Visit for a list of recommended plants.
TRR photos by Sandy Long

May 21, 2014

They’re back! All around the Upper Delaware River region, hummingbirds are brightening our backyards with bursts of metallic green, red and golden plumage as they ply nectar feeders and early blooms for nourishment.

Hummingbirds must sync migration and nesting times with the flowering of nectar-bearing plants. According to Audubon, “climate change threatens to throw off this delicate balance, with unknown repercussions for hummingbirds.” (Visit to learn more.)

Scientific research is essential to understanding how climate change is affecting hummingbirds and to determining what can be done about it. To increase the effectiveness of this research, Audubon is encouraging citizen scientists to get involved in their project, Hummingbirds at Home, which focuses on gathering data about which species are visiting which locations and what types of nectar sources they are utilizing.

A mobile app has been developed and can be downloaded at no charge for people interested in conducting a Patch Survey of their yard or a nearby park or forested area using their smartphones. For those without a smartphone, the same information can be entered through a computer.

Audubon researchers will use the data to learn more about multiple aspects of the lives of hummingbirds and how best we can help them to thrive. Citizen scientists can also explore the data as it is gathered and compiled.

Even if you are not participating in data gathering, Audubon provides lots of helpful information about hummingbirds on its website. Visit to learn more.