Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.

Welcome to the Kentucky Native Plant and Wildlife Blog.
The purpose of this blog is to provide information on using native plants in the landscape, issues related to invasive exotic plants, urban wildlife management, and wildlife damage management. It is my intention that this information will assist you in deciphering the multitude of information circulating around the web and condense in some meaningful method as it relates to Kentucky. In addition, I hope to highlight a native plant that can be used in the landscape.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

When to take the hummingbird feeder down.

Let’s begin by talking ruby-throated hummingbirds because the peak of migration is now winding down and most of the birds will be gone by mid- to late-September.  The peak of fall migration in Kentucky is usually the month of August. Hence it should come as no surprise that all the best summer hummingbird flowers are dwindling, cardinal flower, trumpet creeper, trumpet honeysuckle, monkey flower, royal catchfly, hibiscus, jewelweed, passionflower, obedient plant, and our native clematis.  Because migration is a metabolically expensive endeavor, the birds at this time need not only nectar, but also protein and that is where other perennials come into play in helping the birds move south.  Some of these include things like blazingstars or gay feathers, asters, and goldenrods.  One of the most common questions I get this time of year is, “When do I take my feeder down?”  The short answer is when the birds stop using it.  Keeping it up may help that late migrant with a bit of food and you might be lucky enough to attract a rufous hummingbird which is becoming more and more of a common occurrence in the fall.  When you think about it, these are amazing little birds that weigh between 2 to 6 grams which equates to the weight of a dime to six cornflakes. Their wingspan ranges from 3 – 4” and are about 3” long.  They beat their wings about 53 times a second and they eat about twice their weight in food each and every day.  The birds do not form strong pair bonds and usually a male will stick around only long enough to finish courtship and mating which can take a day or two up to a week and then they are off doing their own thing and this is why the male birds begin migrating by mid-July from Kentucky. There is still some time left to enjoy the birds in the Bluegrass state and now is the time to prepare the landscape to attract the birds when they return to Kentucky in mid-April.

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