Monarch Migration

We touched on the monarch arrival back in our last newsletter, as this annual migration is a unique and amazing phenomenon in North America. The monarch butterfly is the ONLY butterfly known to make a two-way migration like birds do! Some fly as far as 3,000 miles to reach their wintertime home.

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Where are they headed, anyway? Monarchs in Eastern North America have a second home in the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico. These monarchs fly south using several different flyways, and then merge into one HUGE single flyway in Central Texas. It is truly amazing that these monarchs know the way to the overwintering sites even though this migrating generation has never been to Mexico!

As for those worried about the monarch population size – don’t fret! Chip Taylor of www.monarchwatch.org says that they are expecting a reasonably robust population to migrate south this fall. To aid in this effort of protecting and ensuring a successful trip, monarch waystations have been set up along the migration route – 25,131 waystations to be exact – with Texas holding the number one spot with 2,110 monarch waystations! These waystations hold a variety of milkweeds and nectar sources for these travelers to feast on.

Want to track the monarchs?

It’s super easy! Just visit journeynorth.org to see a live map of Adult Monarch Sightings throughout the country. Here’s what the sightings look like as we write this article:

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Amazing, isn’t it?

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Hummingbirds are back! Tips & Tricks to take care of your special visitors!

Every year they arrive in areas all over the Lone Star State. Hummingbirds, on their way from their wintertime stay in Mexico to breeding grounds across the United States, pass hummerthrough Texas every spring and then return south in the fall. Texas offers a chance to spot more than a dozen hummingbird species, you just have to know when and where to look!

Most hummingbirds arrive in Texas between mid-March and early May, and these spring months offer great opportunities to spot hummingbirds across the state! Many hummingbirds stay in Texas to nest during summer, while others continue to areas farther north. The southward migration that takes place in August to September offers some of the best opportunities to see these birds as they return to their winter homes in great numbers. Only a handful of hummingbirds stay in Texas year-round, but an occasional winter sighting is possible.

ruby-throated-hummingbird-male.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smartRuby-throated hummingbirds are the most commonly-seen in Texas along with the black-chinned hummingbird, both nesting in Texas before returning to Mexico.

Ready to see some of these beautiful, humming beauties in your yard this year?

  1. By far, the BEST way to see these little birds is by adding plants to your containers and beds that will attract and feed them! We have many hummingbird-friendly plants at our Garden Center!
  2. Hang a hummingbird feeder on your porch or on a nearby tree and fill with sugar water or hummingbird syrup – remember to empty out the old solution and replace with new, as leaving old liquid in their feeder can make them sick!
  3. Place a birdbath near the feeder for them to use as well.  
  4. Get them used to getting close to you and your family by wearing sunglasses (hummingbirds aren’t fans of our eyes) so use sunglasses and a handheld feeder to get close!

Got bullies? Add more feeders in a clump! If you have one male hummingbird that is dominating your feeder to the exclusion of all others, there are two ways to afford your other hummingbirds a drink.

  • One is to put up other feeders on opposite sides of your house, or out of sight of Mr. Bully. Of course, this may simply mean that you are setting up other fiefdoms for other male bullies.
  • Perhaps a better solution is to add two or three more feeders in the vicinity of the first feeder. This will attract multiple hummingbirds, which will quickly cure your bully of his territoriality. He will not be physically able to fight off all the other hummingbirds, so he will give up trying.

Still unsure or have questions on how to get started? Don’t worry! We have plenty of feeders and hummingbird-friendly plants at The Home & Garden Center. Follow these tips and get humming!

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