Little Bitty Birds

By Cynthia D. Ellis

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds add a special dimension of pleasure to many locations in West Virginia as the temperatures warm.  Here are some brief notes about those tiny fliers and their kin.  

Ruby-throats are the one hummingbird species routinely seen in West Virginia.  In recent years there have been enough visits by vagrant Rufous Hummingbirds to warrant their inclusion on the State Bird List.  Two other species each have single verified reports; they are Mexican Hummingbird [Preston Co., 2003] and Black-chinned Hummingbird [Jefferson Co., Oct.-Jan, 2006-07]. 

Down in the Kanawha Valley, in recent years, Ruby-throats have made their first appearance in the time period of April 11-19.  Feeders should be cleaned and refilled at least every 3rd day.  A solution of four parts water to one part white sugar is recommended with no red dye. 

May your hopes for seeing these little wonders be realized this year! 

Here is more info on arrival dates:  [see “maps”]  Hummingbirds (

And, from Brooks Bird Club, more on the Bird Records Committee and State Bird List  West Virginia Bird Records Committee – Brooks Bird Club

Editor’s note: A reader submitted an article to accompany this piece. Michelle Bass, on behalf of the Friends of Bay, has been teaching environmental educational workshops in Alabama and one of her young students, Nicole, found this article and thought it would be a good addition.