September is when most ruby-throated hummingbirds start migration toward their wintering grounds of Mexico and Central America. Most adult male ruby-throated hummingbirds have departed Michigan, leaving adult females and young. Only the adult males sport the red throat feathers.
Last Sunday afternoon, John Gatto of Stevensville was walking along Water Street in Benton Harbor when he came upon a distressed ruby-throated hummingbird being fed sugar water by Maddie Merle, who works at the nearby Phoenix Coffee Shop, and wrote:"I stopped to ask what was going on, only to find Maddie offering a spoon of sugar water to the distressed bird, perched on the sidewalk under the table. The shivering little hummer seemed quite out of it, but with a little coaxing the bird started lapping up the sugar water for dinner. After a few minutes of this, Maddie needed to head back to the shop and decided to move the tiny flyer to a safer place. She gently scooped up the bird, who sat in her hands just long enough for a portrait before flying off to an adjacent tree."The cardinal flower is one of our most beautiful native flowers, attractive not only to humans but also to hummingbirds. Brad Anderson recently captured an image of a ruby-throated hummingbird drinking nectar from one of the cardinal flowers at Warren Dunes Sate Park.Anderson also sent some nice photos of a small flock of sanderlings, seen at the water's edge at Warren Dunes State Park on Aug. 30. Sanderlings are shorebirds that nest along the shores of the Arctic Ocean and migrate to and from the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts, in part through the Great Lakes.Sanderlings begin their southward migration in July, most pass through our area in September, but some linger throughout the fall.
Jonathan Wuepper is an area naturalist. Report your sightings to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.