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INDIANAPOLIS – Peak hummingbird migration in Indiana doesn’t occur until April. However, birds start to arrive in March and stick around until the summer. How can you attract hummingbirds to your backyard? 

First, let’s talk about what kind of hummingbirds you will see during the migration period. According to Professor Barny Bunning, a wildlife ecology professor at Purdue University, ruby-throated hummingbirds are the one species of breeding hummingbirds in Indiana. Several other species show up rarely during the fall and winter. 

We have one species of breeding hummingbird here in the state. Several other species show up really rarely in the fall in the winter, as sort of stragglers from out west. The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only breeding species, and they typically show up in the first couple of days of April, probably peaking in late April early May in terms of migration. They are here all summer long, breeding in people’s backyards as well as other open areas. And then they leave mostly in September. If you have a hummingbird in October, it’s likely to be one of those rare species.

Professor Barny Bunning, Purdue University

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, you do have a few ways to do that. 

Hummingbirds feed on nectar, so planting flowers is one way to attract them. Planting a variety of plants that bloom at different points in the summer will help draw them in, too.  

Hummingbird feeders are another option. A simple mixture of regular table sugar, three parts or four parts water to one part sugar, works perfectly to attract hummingbirds. During peak migration, especially in the summer months, cleaning out your feeder every three or four days is recommended. Once the water starts to look cloudy, wash out the feeder and replace the water.  

If you have a pet at home, it is best to keep those animals, especially cats and dogs, away from the hummingbird feeder because they will scare off the birds. 

There are several websites where you can track and report hummingbirds during their migration this year. Hummingbird Central & hummingbird-guide.com are just two of the ones you can use.

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