Hummingbirds 2010 Feeding

@EvrWonder (3577)
Canada
April 11, 2010 9:19am CST
Amazing! I am so pleased to see the hummingbirds back in full force. Since we are experiencing the hummers in numbers greater than ever before, I wanted to ask other MyLotters if they are seeing more this year than last and if so, What area are you in? I am in BC, Canada. The throats of these birds are truly magnificent, from neon pink to dark red, even orange. It is fun to watch them, entertaining the spectators constantly. Currently we have two feeders up. (We are going to get two more for the other side of the house) One with pink flowers and one with red flowers. Both feeders are active with the hummingbirds, from daylight to dark, everyday. Although I read in one discussion that the feeders were needing to be refilled daily, we have not that many. We replenish both feeders once a week. There are two particular hummingbirds that are a hoot to watch. One will be at one feeder and the other at the next. The one at the far feeder will come to what seems to chase the other hummingbird off the other feeder but that bird picks up and takes off before the other hummer reaches him. Cute. I wonder why they chase each other.. I read a similar discussion that helped to answer: Why do humming birds fight over the feeder http://www.mylot.com/w/discussions/2080794.aspx It is said that it is the males fighting but allow the females. How many hummingbirds are you seeing this year and are you feeding them as well? Proper Proportion of Water and Sugar is 1:4 It is not recommended to use honey as honey attracts mold far too easily and is extremely toxic to the humming birds. Use only a Granulated Sugar. I add the sugar and water, bring to a boil and then cool before filling the feeders. Never Use A Brown Sugar. Unprocessed cane sugar is okay for humans but said to be very bad for hummingbirds due to the high levels of Iron! Use only granulated sugar and tap water, boiled. Filtered water will be more susceptible to growth of bacteria. There is a powdered feed mixture for hummingbirds, available from stores but I have read that it is not recommended. Never Use A Dye Colored Feed or use dye in your hummingbird feeders either. The hummers do not need their feed to be red in order to attract them. Just yesterday I seen a seed food formulated for hummingbirds. Has anyone fed the hummingbirds a feed mixture of seeds and such and if so, How do you put it out for them? We have a bird house that is actually like a loft so many birds, small ones to the size of the blue jays can enjoy the feed but I am not sure if the hummingbirds are frequenting it. I don't think so. I only see the hummers at the water/sugar feeders. Clean the Feeders at least once a week and replenish so to avoid any mold build up. I use a 1/2 cup of vinegar per feeder and a pipe cleaner type bottle cleaner, thoroughly cleaning the feeders, before rinsing out with hot water a few times. I smell the feeder afterward to assure there are not reminiscence of vinegar left. Do not use Soap to clean your feeders. The hummers don't like soap and is extremely hard to rinse out. Straight vinegar does the trick. Birds with Magnificent Memory I have read that the birds will return year after year to the same feeders as they are able to recall where they were when they were there the year before. Therefore if you are feeding the birds with a feeder, it is important to put the feeders out where you hung them the year before. Safety for the birds to to not place the feeder too close to a window because the reflection can confuse them, sometimes causing accidents that can lead to premature death.
2 people like this
6 responses
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
11 Apr 10
Wow, I thought humming birds came out later in the summer. I never had a feeder, but used to grow calla lilies which attracts these wonderful and beautiful birds. Unfortunately my lilies kept dying and now I have no more..:(
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
11 Apr 10
I'll second that. My Cana Lilies didn't come back. I am thinking because the ground there gets so soggy during the winter. Oh yes the hummingbirds are here now and have seen them around for the past couple months now. In BC Canada anyway. Thank you for your response.
1 person likes this
• United States
11 Apr 10
I knew cana lilies should be dug up in the fall because they are sensitive to the cold and wet. I did this, but the last time I replanted the bulbs, they never came up..:(
1 person likes this
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
13 Apr 10
Hm.. I never dug mine up.. I will try again perhaps and put the dug up ones in a cool dry place over winter to see if this will help them continue on. Thank you for your comment.
1 person likes this
@CatsandDogs (13964)
• United States
14 Apr 10
You are correct in the amount of sugar to water, One cup of sugar and four cups of water however, do not let it boil. It does something to the mixture and the hummingbirds won't feed off of it. Another thing, don't add ice either because again, the hummingbirds will not feed on it because it does something to the mixture. How I come to know this is, I've done both and both times, the birds wouldn't come near the feeders which was so disappointing. Just get the water to a near boil then turn off the heat or move the mixture to another part of the stove to cool. I'm trying a new trick now and am hoping it works which is, I took my pan of the mixture and waited about an hour then I put some kitchen towels on the shelves in my refrigerator and put the still hot pan on the towels to cool. Being this is the first time of this season of having my feeders out, I haven't seen any hummingbirds feed just yet but I'm hoping. Another thing, I was told that the dye mixture at the store is bad for the hummingbirds to not ever buy it. I wonder why that is but since then, I've made my own for it's much easier, much cheaper and good for the birds. Enjoy the hummingbirds!! Spring is here and summer to follow! lol
1 person likes this
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
14 Apr 10
Good point to not let the water boil. I have also read to bring the water to a gently boil, Then add the sugar and stir until dissolved. I add the water and sugar and bring to a gentle boil before taking off the heat to cool. They seem to be feeding regularly. I think a gentle boil may be alright but a hard rolling boil, with the sugar added may be the culprit here. I think to cool the mixture in the fridge would not change the composition as such that the birds will dislike the feed. Unless, there are strong food smells being emitted in the frisge that could then transfer themselves to the hummingbird water sugar mixture. You know how ice water in the fridge can do that, right? I am sure that within time, those birds are going to have you hopping, keeping the feeders replenished. I agree that the dye mixture is not a good idea, for birds, dogs, humans and more. I still see people using it and stores selling it. Makes my mind crazy. We can only try to educate the ignorant so to help keep the birds in optimum health. Do you make your own dye? How is that done if you don't mind sharing. Sounds interesting. The dye from the store is basically a chemical so is why it is not recommended, especially in the hummingbird feeders. I imagine a natural source would be fun if the birds still fed alright but be caredul. Know what nutrients and minerals are in the new concoction. Personally, I just use the water and granulated sugar. After all, it is the red of the feeder that they go to, not the color of the feed. I am so waiting for summertime, although I do enjoy the Spring time, almost more because the temperatures are far more tolerable. Thank you for your comment.
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
13 Apr 10
Oh evrwonder!I would love to have hummingbirds that would feed from a feeder. I would love to see one! I know they are in my area but I have only really seen one once and at first, I thought it was a bee. I will have to try a feeder this year. I will take your advice about them also because I certainly would not want to harm them.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
13 Apr 10
Hello Jen, Nice to hear from you and to see your smiling face this morning! It is a fantastic event to have the hummingbirds visit. They are magnificent to look at when they are feeding. Beautiful little things. I hope you can attract many year after year if you put a feeder up (but not to close to a window, right?). Take the feeder down every year, before it freezes, clean it and store for the next spring. Apparently they begin to migrate back (to my area anyway, BC Canada) in January and March and is when the babies are hatching as well. I think it is January that they breed.. Have fun Jen. Thanks for your response!
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
13 Apr 10
Jen, I know exactly what you mean when you say you thought it was a bee. LOL I heard a loud buzzing sound very close to my head and ducked, only to find out it was a hummingbird, not a bumblebee as I had at first thought. They are scary little birds! Evr, I didn't realize you live in BC! I ALMOST got to go there on the 17th of this month because my husband is going on a business trip and asked me if I'd like to go. Well, we both had to renew our passports but, because of all the commotion in moving here three years ago and having to move my mother's things here as well, I lost my passport along with my birth certificate somewhere in this house, so I didn't have enough time to renew my passport. We could have met! I was going to meet pergamanno and it would have been twice as nice to meet you as well. Maybe next time.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
14 Apr 10
Sweet and absolutely, that would be a hoot. I hope that you find your passport soon. Something you want to at least know where it is.. Keep me informed, okay?
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
12 Apr 10
I was going to put my hummingbird feeder out next month but, after reading this, I'll be putting it out today. I have hummingbirds come year after year. I can't say they're the same ones, although I assume they are because they always seem to find their way to the feeder. I love watching the little guys at the feeders, even if they do bully each other. Heck, they bully ME if I'm standing (or sitting) too close to their feeder, even though I'm the one who fills it! I've been planting vines and bushes that attract hummingbirds, too. I'm trying to get them used to going to the flowers while they're in bloom because the feeder is right off my deck and I'm out there almost every day. The little guys scare me when they buzz past me, I assume to warn me to stay away from the feeder. Dumb birds, they don't seem to understand that I'm the one feeding them.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
13 Apr 10
Heehee. Great response, thanks. Yes, I assume there are ones re-visitng but also showing their young their way to the feeder too no doubt! Planting to attract the hummers is an awesome idea. A couple years ago I took interest to the butterfly garden idea as well as for the bees but have remain too busy to implement yet another garden. Perhaps this year as I still want to do that too! Would you please share with us what plants you are using to attract the hummingbirds? As for the bullying, I have read that the birds will make that humming noise so to fend off that which they may find as a threat to their food source. Who knows why they may bully you too when you are the one feeding them. I would suspect because they are a wild animal and can not be domesticated. Whereas blue jays seem to understand who feeds them. They squawk like mad when we come home, wanting more peanuts. Smart! Thanks again for your response and Enjoy!
@mentalward (14697)
• United States
13 Apr 10
I have orange and yellow trumpet vines, along with a scarlet honeysuckle vine. I just planted the trumpet vines but the honeysuckle vine was planted last year. They're supposed to grow very fast so I'm sure the hummingbirds will be happy soon enough. I've also just planted two butterfly bushes and some bee balm. They also attract hummingbirds. I've thought about getting a Rose of Sharon bush because they bloom so late in the season and hummingbirds also like them. I'll probably get one or two of them next year. I've already spent enough on this year's plants.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
14 Apr 10
Thank you so much for your post! I like the idea of the Rose of Sharon bush flowering later on. I will look into it. The bee balm sounds interesting also and I love the butterfly bush although I have not got any of those, yet. Will do. Honeysuckle is a good idea. I am building a garden on the outside perimeter for native plants, shrubs and a few cedar trees. Trees have been in for a year now and am reading the soil for all else. Honeysuckle would be awesome there, thanks again! I am unsure what a trumpet vine is but will look into that also. Thanks so much! Oh my Gosh~ Look what I just found via MyLot Search option: Hummingbird Gardens http://www.hummingbirdworld.com/h/gardens.htm Nice! Choose from your area for plants to attract hummingbirds. In fact there are several interesting links. This is awesome. Thank you very kindly for getting back. Enjoy!
@GardenGerty (99159)
• United States
11 Apr 10
I do not see hummers in Kansas. I do not know why. I always did in Oklahoma. Maybe if I put out feeders they would come. You posted an excellent and informative discussion about your hummingbirds and I learned a lot I did not know before.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
12 Apr 10
Great GardenGerty. I am pleased that the discussion was informative. I am not sure why that there appears to be no Hummingbirds in Kansas either, since there are sightings there. I am including a link for you regarding Hummingbirds in Kansas http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/242673/hummingbirds_in_kansas.html There very well could be hummingbirds but since there are no feeders out, they come and go so fast that you don't get even a glimpse of them. These little birds are Fast! Thank you for your response.
@savypat (20246)
• United States
11 Apr 10
It is still freezing here so I haven't put the feeders out yet, I also have seen no birds yet. I usually wait until they show up and ask for the feeders to be set up. They come every year so as soon as I show myself outside they will come and hang out until I feed them. I only feed the sugar and water and I make very sure to keep it very clean, this has been successful for us to we won't change.
@EvrWonder (3577)
• Canada
11 Apr 10
Nice, I recall a discussion regarding your hummingbirds. Thank you for your response. Hopefully it will warm up soon and the freeze will thaw. We are up to 13 degrees daytime now but the nights are cold. There was ice the other morning and frost is still a common early morning occurrence. It is so enjoyable having the hummingbirds around. Really livens things up! We too are continuing on with what we did the last year as well, besides introducing a couple more feeders. We have many more hummers this year, which is a bonus. Have you ever left seed food out for the hummingbirds and if so, have you seen them feeding on it?