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Can Hummingbirds Take The Heat?

The hummingbird, a key pollinator in the Midlands, is at risk in a warming world.

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - As the number of warm days increases every year, hummingbirds might see their migration shift away from South Carolina.

Hummingbirds are an important pollinator here in South Carolina, eating nectar of wild blooms and spreading the growth of flowers and helping to fertilize agriculture.

But eating as well as resting and reproducing is becoming increasingly difficult as the world warms from climate change.

Instead of going out for food in increasingly hot summers, they choose to stay in the shade during the day to remain cool. They are also less likely to mate.

Warmer nights do not allow them to conserve energy during the midnight hours.

Their habitats are also starting to shrink as the climate changes. Early spring blooms, like the one we had this year, affect the timing between the flower’s arrival and the bird’s return from their winter homes. This makes it harder for the hummingbirds to find food and for the flowers to have their necessary pollinators.

The time between the bird’s first arrival and first flowering has shrunk by 13 days over the last 4 decades, giving male hummingbirds less time to find a seasonal location to settle.