YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Spring is here, flowers are blooming and now more staples of springtime are making their way up to the state.
The hummingbirds are on their way and should arrive in Ohio in the coming weeks.
Hummingbirdcentral.com tracks hummingbird sightings across the U.S. The website collects submissions of sightings, showing the closest sightings of the birds in Hillsville, Virginia on March 21 and Charlottesville, Virginia on March 7. Those with the website say they are receiving about 150 submissions a day and expect more sightings later this month.
Ebird.org, created by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, also serves as a tracker for various types of bird sightings. The ruby-throated hummingbird, which returns to Ohio each year, was recently spotted as far north as Nashville and Maryland but not in the state yet.
Laurie Brown, a wildlife research technician for the Ohio Division of Wildlife, estimates that Ohioans will begin seeing the birds within the next two weeks as the majority of hummingbirds typically migrate to the area in mid-April and May.
“Their whole role when they’re here is to reproduce, so this is where they come for their breeding grounds,” she said.
Many hummingbirds spend their winter in Central America or Mexico and migrate north in the spring, sometimes as far north as Canada.
Brown said it’s important to provide good, clean food for the hummingbirds while they’re here.
Some people use red food coloring in their feeders to attract the birds, as they are attracted to bright colors like red, but Brown said too much food coloring is not good for the birds. She recommends using only regular water with sugar in it for any hummingbird feeders.
Marne Titchenell, a wildlife program specialist with the Ohio State University, said it’s also important to include natural food sources for hummingbirds.
The Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute says hummingbirds are attracted to plants such as bee balm, cardinal flower, trumpet creeper, coral honeysuckle and columbine. Titchenell warns that coral honeysuckle and trumpet creeper can be aggressive and will need some tending.
Titchenell said bird watchers can also expect to see robins and cardinals more often, as they are setting up their breeding territories. Other songbirds will begin migrating to the area in the coming months.