A few weeks back we began our 2017 Hummingbird Monitoring station here at Grouse Mountain. We are one station of many that are involved in the North American wide Hummingbird Monitoring Network. It was a slow start to our season because of our late snowpack around the hummingbird gardens.
Even since the start of the season, however, numbers have been down. Across BC there is a trend this year of fewer birds returning. This could be related to our weather or it could be related to other causes of mortality or interruptions to the migration.
A new study put out from UBC indicates that the pesticides that we are using on our flowers may be impacting hummingbird health and population numbers. This is a fairly new study so more research is still required but looking at alternatives to chemical pesticides may help out these wonderful little birds.
At Grouse Mountain we have been running our monitoring station for the last 12 years - it is part of a very long term study to see what the overall trend for population numbers is for the Rufous and Anna's Hummingbirds. Unfortunately it looks like overall that trend is declining.
You can help hummingbirds out by planting a flowering garden, not using any pesticides and also hanging hummingbird feeders with a 3 or 4 parts water to 1 part sugar solution. No food dye is needed - just a colorful base to your feeder.
Be sure to stop by our hummingbird garden on the other side of our plaza in front of our Chalet the next time you are on Grouse Mountain!