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VERIFY: No, hummingbirds are not declining in population

Hummingbirds should complete their second nesting cycle within the next couple weeks.

MILLEDGEVILLE, Ga. — Some folks on lake Sinclair say they haven't seen as many hummingbirds this summer as they usually do, so they asked us if the hummingbird population was on the decline. 

We spoke to Ornithologist Todd Schneider with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Terry Johnson of the Environmental Resources Network to verify.

Lynn Hill spends a lot of her mornings on the porch watching hummingbirds.

Hill said, "I just love them! I love the way they look. They're pretty, and just watching them little wings flying like little helicopters flying around."

However, recently, Hill says she's not seeing as many of those high-energy friends visiting her as they usually do this time of year.

Hill said, "I was asking Larry the other day, 'Babe, they're not coming like they used to. I know it's not time for them to fly away.' I said, 'Where in the world are they at? Is the hummingbird population declining?'"

According to Todd Schneider and Terry Johnson, the answer is no.

"No, the hummingbird population is actually increasing. You're just not seeing them right now because they are actually nesting. They are not at the feeders as much as this time," said Schneider.

Johnson said, "No, they're not declining. During the nesting period, the building of the nest, the laying of the eggs, the incubation of the eggs, and the feeding of the young is all done by the female. That usually leaves very little time to be visiting your feeder."

Likewise, hummingbirds don't survive just on your nectar on the porch.

They actually eat a lot of insects for protein.

"Half their diet or more is actually insects -- mosquitoes, gnats, small insects," said Schneider.

So the answer is no, the hummingbird population is not declining, they are just busy elsewhere.

Hill said, "They need to come back so I can watch them again!"

Hummingbirds should complete their second nesting cycle within the next couple weeks.

Then, you'll start seeing them again!

Johnson also said it's like the lottery. "Your best bet is to have flowers and nectar out for them to fly back and forth to."

The ruby-throated hummingbird is the only species of hummingbird known to nest to Georgia. 

For those of you who love hummingbirds, check out the Hummingbird Haven Project.

It is a joint Georgia Wildlife Conservation/Garden Club of Georgia project.

For information, contact Melissa Hayes at the Forsyth Wildlife Conservation Office.

Melissa can be reached by phone at 478-994-1438 and via email.