If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the fast-moving hummingbirds making their way through North Texas as they migrate south for the winter.
Because the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is in the middle of the birds’ migration path, people have been seeing the tiny, long-beaked birds all over, making stops in backyards, parks, and around bird feeders.
“They’re one of the birds that actually work in pollinating flowers, and right now, they’re actually migrating through Texas. They’re coming from Canada from Maine and going through the central flyway through Texas. So it’s an exciting time to be a birder,” said Sam Kieschnick, an urban wildlife biologist for Texas Parks and Wildlife, speaking with NBC News.
Due to their fast-fluttering wings, hummingbirds must fuel up often to continue on their migration path. They feed on tubular and native flowers such as petunias, trumpet creepers, Turk’s caps, zinnias, and salvia.
“We’re observing the flower times – they can be changing, too. And if the flower times change, that also changes the migration because the birds try to mimic the flowering. So they’re moving through to get some of the flowers,” Kieschnick said. “So if we have these dramatic changes, that changes the flowers, which can change the migration.”
This summer’s record-breaking heat did a number on hummingbirds’ food supply, so they will need some help from humans getting to their final stop in Mexico or Central America.
Most garden stores have hummingbird feeders and offer pre-mixed hummingbird nectar. You can also easily make your own nectar at home.
Those with a green thumb could also opt to plant some hummingbird favorites.
“I encourage folks to use some of the native plants. This is good for our native pollinators, like our hummingbirds, but also good for the entire ecosystem,” said Kieschnick.
As the fall season approaches, other migratory birds will visit the metroplex.
Last year, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson ordered the lights downtown be turned off to aid migrating birds.