It's April Fool's Day! Here in the Tennessee Valley, it's time to put out the hummingbird feeders. The ruby-throats are returning.
According to my friend Chris Mahoney, the basic rule of thumb for maintaining your nectar feeders is "crazy day to crazy day" or April Fool's Day to Halloween. Chris lives in Chattanooga and will often see her first ruby-throated hummingbird of the season this early. I think the earliest I have seen one in my yard is the second week of April, but Knoxville is farther north and they certainly can be around my county days before I happen to spy one.
The thing to watch is red buckeye, a good tree to plant in your yard because of the hummer's affinity for it. The tiny birds seem to follow the blooming of this native tree north every spring.
(The photo shows a female but the adult males are the first to arrive.)