The Arrival of Spring and Hummingbirds

From -3 to 83, degrees that is, in less than 30 days.  April has taken the high road with these great temperatures.  With thing beginning to “spring” into bloom, the birds are taking every advantage of these glorious days.

We’ve had two different customers report that the hummingbirds are here and with the Journey North link or you can watch as they expand their territory north.  Isn’t it amazing how quickly the time is going?

A couple of days out wild flowering we’ve seen several birds beginning their nests and the singing is incessant from morning til night.  Hummingbirds usually chime in at dawn to begin their busy days.

You may find that you only have one species of hummingbird that will visit this summer, the Ruby-throated, although there are more and more reports of the Rufous hummingbird nesting east of the Mississippi.  All hummingbirds are aggressive, especially the males.  Their aggressiveness is due to the fact that they do not understand that the feeder may provide them whit an unlimited quantity of food.  To them it is all of the food that they have and survival may depend on the ability to defend it.  If you want to attract more than one hummer you might try putting up two to three more feeders out of sight from one another, perhaps on opposite sides of your house.

Due to their poor eyesight, hummingbirds are extremely attracted to the color red because it is easier for them to see.  Most humming bird feeders have red on them somewhere, but if you are having trouble attracting them, try adding a piece of red ribbon on to you feeders.  If is not recommended that you use red coloring or red colored hummingbird food as the red in the dye has been found to cause their egg shells to be very fragile and thus crack and loose the little ones before they hatch.  Red added to the feeder in the form of a ribbon or artificial flower works well.

Hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned and nectar changed weekly. If you see black spots inside you feeder this is mold and you need to scrub it out with a good bottle-brush. You should never use harsh detergent to clean your feeder. Rinse your feeder with hot water every time you change your nectar to help prevent this.  Do not fill the feeder more than half full in the beginning because they won’t be able to drink all of it before it needs to be changed.  As the number of hummingbirds increases, you may find it difficult to keep up with keeping them full.

Since sugar is a key ingredient in hummingbird nectar, you may experience problems with ants being attracted to your feeders.  An inexpensive way to remedy this problem is to purchase an ant guard.  This provides a barrier from your feeder to the ants to keep those pesky ants away.  You will however need to replace some designs every season.  Others simply fill with water and can be sued over and over.  A drop or two of vegetable oil in the water will help the water no to evaporate so quickly.

Did you know: Hummers beat their wings from 60 to 200 times per second. They have very weak feet, which is why they prefer to fly.  They live an average of 5-6 years in the wild and must eat every ten minutes or so to keep up with their high metabolism.

Keep your eyes peeled so to speak, there is probably a hummingbird sighting in our near future.

Happy Birding!

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