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Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tiny but Powerful

You can't wait until you see them to put the feeders out. Just the opposite. Once the heat of summer is really starting to weigh down on backyard life, that's when you just get that feel that they're probably already around. You won't see them just sitting around waiting for the bright red feeders to appear. They've got to be coaxed to come. The sightings and reports from this year show that they were in our area as early as the first week of April.

That's the way it was for me. I was sitting in the backyard when I just thought it was time for them to be here. The air was very still and heavy and nothing was moving in the yard. The 4 o'clocks were blooming. The butterfly bush was blooming. The hibiscus was blooming. It was time for the feeders. I'm not kidding that within 24 hours of putting my feeders out, they were here. I right now have four feeders in the backyard. The little things have their favorites and I can tell by the need to reload them which ones they are.
Recipe for artificial nectar (syrup):

~~~ use one part of ordinary white cane sugar to four parts water;

~~~it's not necessary to boil the water. The microorganisms that cause fermentation don't come from the water; they are transported to the feeder on the hummingbird bills;

~~~store unused syrup in the fridge for up to two weeks.

Little bits of info that might help:

~~~Distilled water can be used but there are some who think that it lacks some of the minerals that hummers need. Tap water is good.

~~~Do not put honey, Jelll-O, brown sugar, or fruit in your feeder. You'll find lots of articles that even recommend NOT putting red food color in the syrup. The red in the feeder is enough to attract the hummers.

~~~Keep the feeders clean. The sugary syrup will cause molding quickly if it's not eaten by the birds.

~~~If you see that a feeder isn't being used by the hummers when you know they're in the area, change out the syrup to a different mixture.

~~~Hummingbirds are carnivores. They eat flies and small insects and the syrup is just a fuel to power their fly-catching activities.

Once you know you've attracted them, expect to see them until mid- to late-August. Then they'll start heading back to Central America where they came from. Treat them well this summer and you'll have them back next year.


Jessica said...

Great post! Makes me want to get some feeders....but then, I've wanted to do something like that around here for awhile. One day. One day.

You know, you seem to always think that I get my writing ability only from Dad's side of the family, but I think you're showing me otherwise. You're talented, too! Really for real!

Angelia said...

Good job, Mom! I. too. have a question. Do hummers feel threatened by other birds? Like geese? I'm starting to wonder if we have any hummers around here. There's an abundance of mimosas around here.

I may have to put a feeder out to see!
Again, great job on your post!