f you’re an avid bird watcher, you may be seeing an influx of Ruby Throated hummingbirds at your feeders provided you have an appropriate feeder or flowers for them to feed from. This influx is because these tiny, colorful, tiny and quick birds have begun their fall migration back to southern Mexico and northern Panama.
As they migrate southward, they refuel their bodies in the early morning as they travel by midday and forage again in the late afternoon in an effort to maintain their body weight.
The Hummingbird site says that August brings lots of activity with their peak numbers showing up in early September. Most are Ruby Throats with an occasional Rufous showing up in the mix.
On their way southward, the Ruby’s gather in Florida, Louisiana and along the South Texas coast in September in preparation for their final push to the south, either over the Gulf of Mexico or via an overland route through Mexico.
So to enjoy these beauties, put out an inexpensive hummingbird feeder in your backyard. And for even more thrills, put one on your windowsill for a close-up view, of the only bird in the world that can fly backyards.
Since hummers have to feed between 5-8 times every hour, you can stock your feeder with a commercial hummingbird feeder mix, or make your own. To do so, it’s recommended mixing four parts of water to one part of sugar. You may choose to boil the water first to better dissolve the sugar, which should be regular table sugar (sucrose) as they seem to like this best. And it’s the most digestible say the experts. Regular tap water is fine but if yours is hard water, this gives the birds extra electrolytes. If it’s soft, add a tiny pinch of salt to each quart of nectar but don’t overdo it or the birds won’t drink it. It’s also cautioned not use any red dye, honey, brown sugar or sugar substitutes as they could be harmful. And as a last reminder, keep your commercial feeders clean as dirty ones could spread disease. It’s recommended to soak the feeder in a 50/50 solution of white vinegar and water, and brush away any grime on or in the feeder.
PA FISH & BOAT COMMISSION (PF&BC) GIVEAWAYS
The PF&BC has partnered with The Rest of PA, VisitErie and Bass Pro Shops in Harrisburg in sponsoring two fall fishing getaways.
First prize is a weekend get-away package from Columbia Montour Visitors Bureau, Endless Mountains Visitors Bureau, Susquehanna River Valley Visitors Bureau and Visit Potter-Tioga Visitors Bureau. The package includes accommodations for up to four people including lodging, meals and exposure to fishing.
Second-place prize is an Ascend 10T Sit-On-Top fishing kayak donated by Bass Pro Shops.
The public can enter this giveaway by visiting www.GoneFishingPA.com from now until November 26, or by entering in person at the PF&BC table at Penn State Football’s Fan Festival outside Beaver Stadium, University Park, during all 2018 home Penn State football games.
Winners will be notified after December 19. A date, time and location for the winner to pick up the kayak will be determined in the weeks after the winner is notified. Other prizes will be mailed after they’ve been awarded. No purchase is required and only one entry per qualifying adult will be accepted.
HUNTING FILM TOUR COMING TO ARTSQUEST
Celebrate the spirit of the hunt with the only area screening of the acclaimed Hunting Film Tour (HFT) on Sept. 11, 7:30 p.m., at the ArtsQuest Center at SteelStacks, 101 Founders Way, Bethlehem. Tickets for the event, a fundraiser for the Lehigh Valley Chapter of the Ruffed Grouse Society and the nonprofit ArtsQuest, are $15 in advance at www.steelstacks.org and 610-332-3378, and $20 at the door.
The Hunting Film Tour is not only a showcase of short documentary films focusing on the world of hunting culture, but an incredible lineup of conservation-minded and fair chase films that capture the essence of the experience. The tour provides a home for unique films and filmmakers that capture the stories, landscapes and pursuits that make hunting a generational passion. From big game archery and rifle hunts, to exotic international quests and wing shooting, the 2018 tour features several films, each highlighting a different mission. The complete list of films and trailers will be available at www.huntingfilmtour.com in early August.
This special evening also includes screenings of the Ruffed Grouse Society’s “Project Upland,” a unique bird hunting initiative that captures the passions and traditions of the grouse woods to inspire a new generation of upland hunters. This multi-video production, featuring several short films, celebrates those experiences sportsmen treasure in the woods – stories and cherished memories that are essential to engage the next generation of grouse hunters and conservationists.
Guest are invited to arrive starting at 6:30 p.m. for Happy Hour to talk with fellow sportsmen, check out the vendors and enjoy a beverage or bite to eat from the ArtsQuest Center’s Mike & Ike Bistro (not included with ticket price). During intermission there will be an auction and raffle, with the chance to win hunting gear, trips and more!
Proceeds from the Hunting Film Tour benefit the Ruffed Grouse Society’s conservation work in the region, as well as ArtsQuest’s Step Outdoors Festival, a two-day, free event in June that encourages families and children to explore their outdoor pursuits.
For more information on the HFT event at SteelStacks, visit www.steelstacks.org.
Nick Hromiak has been an outdoors and automotive writer for over 30 years. He's been published in numerous national and state-wide outdoor magazines and newspapers.