KERRVILLE, Texas – With the annual arrival of migrating hummingbirds expected to come soon, Kerrville resident Marion Lewis is ramping up his bird feeder business.
Lewis is a San Antonio-native, who now calls Kerrville home. A birdwatcher, Lewis has long been fascinated by hummingbirds. So much so, that in the mid-90s, as a retirement project he purchased Tejas Hummingbird Feeders, a small Hill Country company that handcrafts metal and glass feeders.
"I go into my workshop and just crank them out,” Lewis said.
With his workshop in his backyard, Lewis now lives in an ideal spot as many consider Kerrville synonymous with the fast-flapping bird species.
"(Kerrville) is located where the central and Pacific migratory flyways merge," Lewis said.
The tradition of attracting hummingbirds first started in Kerrville at the city’s Veteran Affairs hospital in the early 1900s.
"The patients there had hummingbird feeders in their rooms and the hummingbirds would fly into the rooms and feed,” Lewis said.
Those hummingbird feeders were constructed using hospital glass IV bottles. Now, Lewis spends wintertime constructing them from more conventional glass bottles and metal bases. They are sold at a local hardware store in town.
As you might expect, Lewis keeps close track of the hummingbirds migration.
"The birds are hitting the Gulf Coast right now,” he said.
They are expected to arrive to the area by St. Patrick’s Day, which will once again raise residents' fascination with the small birds. According to Lewis, the birds have an interesting personality and can often take on human qualities.
"If you don't keep your hummingbird feeder full, they'll come right to your window and let you know,” Lewis said.
Hummingbirds spend much of the winter in Latin America before migrating through Texas during the spring.