Photo Credit: Karen Lebing
Caption: Hummingbirds in the area during the winter are not as rare as once thought. They are not as abundant as they are during the breeding season, but they are here, and not just at feeders. We have many reports of hummers feeding naturally, well away from homes. The influence of the Gulf Stream on temperatures keeps things warmer, and that is likely one reason so many hummingbirds overwintering on the Outer Banks. That, and the plentiful cover in the form of evergreen vegetation provide ideal habitat. In addition to blooming plants, tiny insects are plentiful throughout the coastal forest and marshlands even in winter. Yes, hummers are meat eaters all year round! If you visit Pea Island Refuge, keep an eye out for these little birds. Seen in the photo below is a Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris).
Visit National Wildlife Refuges Visitor Center on Roanoke Island. Open 7 days a week 9 am-4 pm Mon-Sat & Noon-4 pm Sun. Admission is free. https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Alligator_River/
USE YOUR MANNERS and BASIC COMMON SENSE! For the safety of yourself and your family, as well as the wildlife you are viewing, ALWAYS VIEW FROM A SAFE DISTANCE! If you see a change in the behavior of the wildlife (they move away, etc), you are TOO CLOSE! And. remember: all traffic laws apply on Refuge roads. Seat belts, car seats for children, etc. - whatever is required by the State on a public highway is required on the Refuge! Learn more about tips for safety during bear encounters at http://bearwise.org/bear-safety-tips/bear-encounter/