Migrating hummingbirds need the help of East Texans to survive their journey

EAST TEXAS (KTRE) – More than 18 species of migrating hummingbirds need your help during the Texas drought.

Experts fear the little birds will not have enough natural nectar to keep them nourished for their long migration.

Pine Creek Lodge owner Jean Loubat is accustomed to providing romantic getaways for East Texas couples.  This time of the year, he is staying busier feeding the appetites of numerous hummingbirds. "It's so interesting the way they fly and they fly so fast.  I would say sometimes we get about 25-30 at a time."

This year hummingbirds are depending on Loubat's feeders more than ever.  There are just not that many flowers around.  Hummingbird expert Cliff Shackleford prefers to give hummingbirds wildscape flowers like 'Bells of Fire,' for nourishment.  "That's a good rule of thumb plant for hummingbirds. Anything that's tubular in shape," said Shackleford.

But the author of 'Hummingbirds of Texas' says few flowers bloom during a drought so, feeders are essential in providing hummingbirds the nutrition they need to migrate.  "It's a good idea to put up feeders and what we recommend in Texas, since it's so mild, is to put up feeders year 'round. You won't keep a hummingbird from migrating by having a feeder up. That's an old wives tale," according to Shackleford.

Loubat has a cafeteria line of feeders, but on any given day, hummers prefer one over the other. "Right now they are on this and I don't know why because sometimes it's this one. So it's...I can't tell why."

The state non-game ornithologist may not know the answer either.  He does know the healthy recipe for hummers is energy drink.  " Just use 4 parts water, 1 part sugar and no red dye."

So, fill the feeders tonight and by morning you should have some flighty house guests.

You can find the book 'Hummingbirds of Texas' in local bookstores, or online.  The authors wrote the books to benefit the 'Hummingbird Roundup,' a statewide survey where volunteers count and identify hummingbird species in Texas.

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