Throughout the world, there are 320 species of hummingbirds, 18 of which can be found in America. In the state of Texas, this number drops to nine particular species, and in the Texas Hill Country specifically, there are five known frequenters and three rovers. Birdwatchers of the Hill Country report the likes of buff-bellied, Lucifer, green violet-ear, rufous, broad-tailed, Anna’s, broad-billed, and black-chinned. It sounds more like a mish-mash of ruffians than delicate hummingbirds, but the excitement they create in the birdwatching community is akin to finding a $20-bill in your coat pocket.
Welcoming & Tracking Hummingbirds in the Texas Hill Country
After leaving their southern migration areas, hummingbirds will traditionally reach the Texas Hill Country from mid-March to mid-May. Breeding begins in early April and continues through to early September, and they’ve been known to still be feeding their young as late as the beginning of that same month. Outside of some city settings, they breed near flowering meadows and woodlands, and the presence of a feeder has been known to draw them to nest close by.
Photo: Facebook/Lalco Residency
The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) completes an annual Texas Hummingbird Roundup Backyard survey, calling on Lone Star State bird lovers to participate through tracking local sightings. Receiving a package normally containing a survey sheet, hummingbird feeder maintenance tips, and a Quick Reference Guide to Texas Hummingbirds booklet for easy recognition of characteristics, those that complete the survey help to provide information on hummingbird-favored sites and feeding habits. In turn, this information helps TPWD to improve conservation as well as effectively track the Texas hummingbird population.
If you’re looking but haven’t seen these sometimes-elusive little creatures, the purchase and set-up of a proper feeder are sure to attract a regular visitor. Hummingbirds want a consistent supply of nectar. They also want it to be mold-free, so practice systematic cleaning of your feeders to maintain their visits. If you start to find that multiple birds are appearing, this is your indication to obtain more feeders and place them a fair space apart. These birds may seem small but their fiery, and competition for food can often get fierce. Aside from changing the nectar twice weekly, you simply need to be present and still to watch as a hummingbird takes advantage of your feeder offer and makes regular visits to your own Texas Hill Country backyard.