Verify: Will keeping my hummingbird feeder up mess with the birds' migratory patterns?

Celeste from Southern Maryland emailed us a video of the hummingbird feeder outside her house. She says her friends have been bugging her to take it down, claiming it will mess with the birds and keep them from flying south for the winter. She asked us to

WASHINGTON (WUSA) - QUESTION:

If I leave my hummingbird feeder up will it mess with the birds' migratory pattern?

ANSWER:

Nope, it's animal instinct drawing them to South America. A feeder or two won't make them stick around long.

SOURCES:

Robert Mulvihill- Ornithologist at the National Aviary

Mike Parr- President of American Bird Conservancy

PROCESS:

Celeste from Southern Maryland dangles a hummingbird feeder near her roof. Her friends have told her to take it down after Labor Day since keeping it up will mean the birds will stick around to snack and make their migratory pattern all out of whack. 


Celeste hesitated to take it down and instead asked the Verify team for confirmation: can you leave hummingbird feeders up throughout the fall?


Bird specialists at both the National Aviary in Pittsburgh and American Conservancy agree--feeders won't hijack a bird's instinct to migrate.

"Think about it this way, flip it around not the Fall but the Spring and birds are going north to their breeding grounds," Ornithologist Robert Mulvihill says. "You've got your feeders up in the Spring to feed the hummingbirds, does that mean that they never get hummingbirds in Canada because so many people in the United States are feeding them? No, because the end point of migration is not to find a feeder."

"Leave them up, why do you feed birds because you love to see them," Mulvihill says.


Just to be sure we checked with Mike Parr, President of the Bird Conservancy.

"People in DC will not get hummingbirds coming in the winter, they're not being kept here from a presence of feeders," Parr said.

Unlike adult children, hummingbirds will fly the coup regardless of whether mom's making dinner.

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© 2017 WUSA-TV


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