Wild bird migrations are one of those pretty amazing feats of nature. Instinct is so keen, it’s what keeps birds alive. Hummingbirds don’t begin their long journey just because the temperatures start to drop. It is the dwindling hours of daylight that signals them it’s time to go.
Many Ruby Throats are mobbing feeders right now, furiously drinking as much as they can in preparation for the long trip to South and Central America. How these tiny birds manage to fly so far is beyond me? The other pretty amazing thing is that hummingbirds practice site fidelity. Which means if they find a friendly yard with food, shelter and moving water, you can bet they’ll be back next season.
The show at our window hummingbird feeder right now is spectacular! There’s hardly a moment throughout the day where it’s not occupied. Constant feeding (and fighting) has been going on for a about two weeks. If you have nectar feeders, especially a window hummingbird feeder, be sure to keep it filled with fresh nectar for the next few weeks. Even if you think your hummers have left for the season, many that are traveling from further north of you are likely to stop by and fuel up! Be on the lookout for the occasional flying jewel, your efforts will be well rewarded.
Hummingbirds are feeding like crazy right now, fattening up and getting ready for the big migration back to their wintering grounds in Central and South America. Feeders seem busier than ever with almost frantic activity at our place.
Because of the heat, sugar water is changed every two days, so filling the larger hummingbird feeders is almost pointless. Eighty pounds of sugar were used to feed our local hummer population this season…and that’s a lot of nectar!
If you don’t make your own nectar-give it a try before the season’s over. Hummingbirds really seem to prefer the simple sugar water solution, and it saves money too.
The recipe: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water…that’s it! No red dye necessary. Use plain white table sugar and nothing else as it will harm hummers. You don’t even need to boil the water as microorganisms and bacteria are actually spread through the bird’s beaks on the feeder ports. We boil 1 cup of water, simply to help dissolve the sugar more effectively. And contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds will not “stay” if you leave feeders up – Mother Nature tells them when it’s time to go!
After switching from commercial nectar to the plain sugar-water solution, we’ve seen three times as many hummingbirds as before. For some reason, they seem to prefer the home made version with no additives better than packaged nectar products.
Sometimes you have to look closely to see the liquid level in the clear glass hummingbird feeders, and folks always say “shouldn’t it be red?” but the hummingbirds just know. Even though the the glass and the nectar are clear in color, hummingbirds flock to these feeders now. Four feeders are emptied almost daily, and it’s always a site to behold… for sure!
Making your own nectar is so simple too. One cup plain table sugar to four cups of water – that’s it. No need to boil the water, but it does help to dissolve the sugar quicker and more thoroughly. Any microorganisms are actually spread by hummers themselves, as they are carried on their bills. Never use anything but pure cane sugar (white table sugar) as it’s harmful to the birds and may be fatal.
The other great hummingbird enticer is leaf misters. They love to flit back and forth in the gentle mist. Any moving water will attract hummingbirds, especially a fountain added to your birdbath.
Try your own nectar and notice the difference in hummingbird activity at your place…Happy Birding!