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The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird found east of the Mississippi. You can expect them to return to the upper Midwest from late April to the first week of May. I have noted in the past that I normally start seeing them in my area of Southeastern Wisconsin around Mother's Day. To be sure you will attract hummingbirds, it is important to put out the feeder early enough and to keep it clean. Hummingbirds establish regular feeder routes early in the season, so make sure they add yours to their route.
We have several different nectar mixes available, but home made nectar can be prepared by mixing 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Prepare by boiling the solution and storing it in your refrigerator. Do not use honey in feeders, it spoils quickly and can cause harm or death to hummers.
It is important to keep the feeders cleaned and filled with fresh nectar every 5 to 7 days, or more frequently in hot weather. Keep your feeder up until all birds have migrated. Most birds leave this area in early September, but sometimes stragglers pass through for several more weeks. They will appreciate the extra energy they get from your feeder.
As with Ruby-throated hummingbirds, expect orioles to return to their breeding grounds from late April to the first week in May in the upper Midwest. Normally by Mothers Day here in Southeast Wisconsin.
Orioles are attracted to oranges and nectar feeders when they first return from their wintering areas, but later switch to an insect diet. In addition ot fruit and nectar, orioles are also attracted to feeders with grape jelly. While some orioles will eat oranges throughout their breeding season, providing jelly will help prolong your enjoyment of these beautiful birds.
Look for Goldfinches to turn gold again. All winter they have been a drab olive color for protection. The Goldfinch molts twice a year once in the spring and again in the fall.
The Goldfinch is one of the latest nesting birds; frequently, not nesting until late June. Sometimes females will switch mates after their first brood, leaving the male to take care of the fledglings. The female will produce another brood with the second male.