Folks on the east coast just aren’t as lucky with varieties and season length when it comes to hummingbirds. CA and AZ see more species, with many being year-round residents.
BUT, we do love our ruby throated ones, and if you’re lucky maybe a rufous now & then too! Most can’t wait for their migration and the season to commence… simply because there’s something magical about them! We dig out and clean feeders in preparation, and track the birds’ activities on hummingbird migration maps. The anticipation and first arrivals are the best!
This year, you can get closer than ever to the tiny sprites by feeding them right from your hand. Hum-Buttons are unique hummingbird feeders that allow you to easily train the birds for this personal, up-close and awesome experience!
Offered in a set of three feeders, simply place them near an existing feeder and hummingbirds will soon be using them. Once they become accustomed, hold the feeder while standing as still as possible. Although it’s not rocket science, it does require a bit of patience.
Another helpful article at first is sunglasses! By avoiding eye contact, the sprites are more likely to fly in for a close-up.
Make your own nectar this year too (plain table sugar and water @ 1:4 ratio) and avoid red dye or anything else in the solution. There’s even a handy dandy container which requires no measuring, you can store it in the fridge and microwave if you boil the water (although not necessary). The self-measuring pitcher is called Nectar Aid and it was wildly popular last season, you don’t even need the spoon because it has a mixer attached.
Check the video below to see a Hum-Button in action, and as for the flying jewels… we wish you safe travels!
First and foremost, the Hummingbird Society recommends leaving at least one feeder out for stragglers or the occasional sprite who doesn’t head south! Wintering along the East coast, several birds have been documented enduring tough weather in the Northern hemisphere- and their dedicated hosts who manage to keep nectar from freezing!
Although the company is now defunct, Bird Brain hummingbird feeders are still around, but we’re partial to the elegance of Parasol’s feeders instead.
Both made from recycled glass, the ones made in Mexico are better quality than what comes from overseas. Their designs are unique, and Parasol’s love of birds shines through not only in their product offerings, but community involvement with raising awareness and conservation of the species.
In heir latest newsletter, the Mexican tradition Day of the Dead was explained and how Parasol was involved with the annual fall celebration. Their altar theme was dedicated to Martha, the last passenger pigeon. She died 100 years ago in a zoo after spending many years in captivity. Once an overly abundant bird, the passenger pigeon became extinct in a period of one hundred years due to indiscriminate hunting.
Martha is considered a symbol of the threat that humans pose for some species, and that’s why Parasol honored the centennial of her death and its relevance with their Day of the Dead altar. Several hummingbird species are currently listed as critically endangered, and The Birdhouse Chick is a proud business sponsor of The Hummingbird Society. A portion of proceeds from each hummingbird feeder sold goes towards the society’s ongoing conservation efforts.
They were really great feeders, so it’s sad the company’s no longer around. Trying to find replacement parts for the old Bird Brain hummingbird feeders could pose quite the challenge. A recent customer would absolutely attest to this fact.
Even their feeders with the rubber or plastic flowers… nada, zip, zilch, replacements just don’t exist.
But wait… the light bulb goes off and it’s a brainstorm for Bird Brain. Parasol! Yes some Parasol’s feeders use a red glass flower with a long stem. But will they fit correctly? The only way to know is try and see. So with said customer on the phone, one glass hummingbird feeder from each company was pulled to experiment.
It worked – like a charm too! The glass flowers actually looked better than the original parts. Even with the stem a little bit shorter, it doesn’t have much bearing as hummingbird’s tongues are twice as long as their beaks. Sometimes there’s concern that the feeder port doesn’t reach to the bottom of its vessel, but truth is, it’s not required.
So you’re actually in luck if searching for Bird Brain feeder port replacements, because Parasol’s work great!
By the way, if there’s been a lull at your hummingbird feeders you’re not alone. Many people are saying the same thing. It could be the sprites are nesting, or maybe there’s just not as many this year? In either case… they’re back! We spotted several last week, and our local bird buddies said the same thing. So it’s time to clean your feeder and be sure nectar stays fresh. And in about one more month, prepare to be dazzled when their migration begins. You may even need to another feeder!
To help celebrate and honor Earth Day (which should really be everyday), our friends over at A Lucky Ladybug are giving away one of our recycled art glass hummingbird feeders. Since somebody has to win… it’s definitely worth a shot entering! The contest starts on Earth Day, Tuesday 22nd.
Do you have yours out yet? It’s time, it’s time! Because once again spring is late, many of the flowers hummingbirds naturally feed from aren’t yet available, nor are the insects on which they feast. After such a long journey over the gulf, the tiny sprites are hungry and tired… they need food to re-fuel for the continued journey North.
Here’s the Ruby-Throated migration status according to sightings reported to hummingbirds.net… see? It’s time!
If you start seeing hummingbirds and then you don’t, they may already be nesting, regardless of weather. Mother Nature gives them some serious hard wiring. For example, that crazy fighting over feeders-even when there’s plenty for everybody. It’s not just territorial. Their survival instincts are so strong, that claiming a particular hummingbird feeder is actually a matter of life or death for them!
So get your feeders out of storage and first give them a good cleaning. Warm soapy water and a thorough rinse does the trick. Mix up a batch of nectar (consider making your own this year-it’s so simple). The solution can be made a bit stronger during migration periods as extra calories are helpful… especially when natural food sources are scarce. With smaller feeders, be sure to watch nectar levels so they don’t run dry, and do keep nectar fresh, changing it every few days. If hummingbirds come across spoiled nectar… they may not return to that feeder later.
Oh yeah, and don’t forget to head on over to A Lucky Ladybug on Earth Day (Tuesday, 4/22) and enter the Give-Away! This 16-ounce capacity glass hummingbird feeder, complete with red Parasol ant moat and nectar could be yours… for many seasons of use by tiny sprites!
Take your hummingbird feeders a step further by helping Audubon track the tiny sprites this season. All habitats and feeders are welcome; from the old bird brain hummingbird feeders to honeysuckle and trumpet vine to colorful annuals providing food…. watch near fountains too, another favorite of this flying jewel!
NEW YORK, NY (April 1, 2014) – With spring officially upon us, the National Audubon Society invites birders and nature enthusiasts across the country to help track the health of hummingbird populations with Audubon’s Hummingbirds at Home app. This citizen science project utilizes the power of volunteers to compile data at a scale that scientists could never accomplish alone.
Every spring, numerous hummingbirds migrate long distances and must eat several times their weight in nectar daily to stay alive. Hummingbirds visit our yards every year, looking for nectar from our gardens and feeders. As flowers bloom earlier because of warming temperatures, the impact on hummingbirds which rely on nectar could be significant. The degree to which hummingbirds are able to adapt to accommodate these changes is not completely understood. Hummingbirds at Home was designed to bolster current research by collecting data from volunteers across the country that offers important insight on the effects of climate change and the birds’ well-being.
“Increasingly people are seeing the impact of climate change in their own backyards, from early blossoms to extreme weather,” said Dr. Gary Langham, Chief Scientist at Audubon. “This is a fun, family-friendly citizen science project that works in the classroom or in the kitchen.”
Hummingbirds at Home differs from other bird monitoring programs in that the focus is on recording the species, nectar sources, and feeding behavior observed. In the case of bloom timing mismatches, Audubon hopes to eventually learn if alternate nectar sources, like feeders, make a difference in hummingbird breeding success and survival.
Participants can get involved by spending a few minutes as frequently as they wish to collect invaluable data from feeding areas in their gardens and communities. Audubon’s Hummingbird at Home app makes it fun and easy. There is no cost to participate and using the free mobile app or website makes it simple to report sightings and learn more about these remarkable birds. For more information visit, www.hummingbirdsathome.org.
The National Audubon Society saves birds and their habitats throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education and on-the-ground conservation. Audubon’s state programs, nature centers, chapters and partners have an unparalleled wingspan that reaches millions of people each year to inform, inspire and unite diverse communities in conservation action. Since 1905, Audubon’s vision has been a world in which people and wildlife thrive. Audubon is a nonprofit conservation organization. Learn more at www.audubon.org and @audubonsociety.
Their migration south will soon begin as will the “crazies”! Mobs of them, buzzing, fighting, darting around feeders to stake their claim. Tiny bodies need lots of energy for the trek back to winter breeding grounds in Central and South America, and it’s big attitude when it come to fueling up for the trip. Territorial would be an understatement, the sprites can become pretty fierce and downright possessed around feeders!
It’s been a weird season for hummingbirds, many folks report fewer numbers upon their initial arrival, the extended winter weather likely to blame. Fewer (almost none) of the birds’ natural nectar sources were available for their journey northward, possibly causing many to perish. It wasn’t until much later in the season we started seeing more numbers at feeders… and many of them being juveniles.
And soon again it will be time to go – the dwindling hours of daylight is what signals their clocks that it’s time. It’s a total myth that leaving feeders out will keep hummingbirds from leaving… Mother Nature tells them otherwise.
You can really make a difference in helping these flying jewels by offering as much food, and as many sources as possible. If you haven’t done so in the past, try making your own nectar before the season’s over (you’ll be glad you did). It’s really so very simple: 1 cup plain table sugar to 4 cups water… that’s it! Nothing else in the solution as it’s harmful, no red dye needed. We boil one cup of water just to dissolve the sugar more effectively – add 3 cups of cold and no waiting for it to cool. Store unused nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Some say the solution may be made stronger during migration as more sugar equals more fuel. Never stronger than a 1:3 ratio though.
Keep nectar fresh and consider hanging an extra feeder or two so there’s not so much fussing and fighting. Multi-port styles are a good idea as they allow more birds to feed at once… provided they can all get along!
Most of the Bird Brain Hummingbird Feeders offer 2-3 ports and some of them are still around. In fact, they’re being manufactured again under a different name – so they must be worth it! The Mini-kins are perfect for this time of year because they come in a set of three and may be placed in separate locations. Again… less fussing and more eating will suit hummingbirds best for their long trip ahead!
Although hummingbirds may have shown up a few weeks earlier this year… their trip home to Central and South America will likely be on target for early fall. If the tiny sprites are present and guzzling your nectar, just wait about another month when numbers may double, or even triple!
The long journey back requires lots of energy, and nectar from feeders is an excellent source to keep hummingbirds engine’s fueled! Even when your resident birds may have already split… groups from further north and some stragglers will stop for refuge.
Last year, we were absolutely inundated with hummingbirds during the fall migration, even our cats (from inside the screened porch) went bonkers seeing and hearing all the buzzing activity! More feeders were needed fast to accommodate the passers-by, and these little glass ones fit the bill well. The Mini-Kins are Bird Brain hummingbird feeders, and sold in sets of three. Hand blown glass in vibrant colors, they’re easy to fill & clean, and two feeding ports are better than one!
Be ready to offer migrating hummingbirds fuel for their long journey home. Keep nectar fresh and hang an extra feeder or two in the next few weeks. Keep leaf misters on during the day (their favorite), and if you have birdbaths with fountains, be sure the water is clean for them as well.