Here come the Hummers!

I am ridiculously excited about the return of the Hummingbirds.  At last update they were already sighted in Southern Missouri! My goal this year is to attract as many Hummers as possible during their Northern migration, so I will be washing feeders and putting them out TODAY. This increases the potential that they will stay in my gardens for the season. Last year I got my feeders out late and did not have my usual flock of Hummers entertaining me and pollinating my gardens. I do not plan to make that mistake again.

Did you know that during migration a hummingbirds heart can beat up to 1260 times per minute and its wings flap 15-80 times per minute, according to an article I read at http://www.hummingbirdcentral.com?!?!? No wonder my flock chases me down when their feeders are empty … they are STARVING!! To keep them happy and healthy we need to keep their feeders clean and provide them with fresh “nectar” daily. During the hot months I will feed them twice a day and sometimes more just to make sure they have fresh nectar and because they pester me relentlessly if the feeders are empty! Did I mention how “well trained” I am? 😂

Watching the hummers flit around my flowers and feeders is a favorite activity of mine and looking at the map below from hummingbirdcentral.com it seems that our hummer guests are most likely a Ruby-Throated variety. The adult males have a bright red throat and shiny, green body feathers, while the females and juvenile birds feathers are more muted brown with white throats. Keep your eyes posted though because we could have an unusual visitor, including the very rare albino bird that has been spotted in the US the past few years.

Map showing the approximate breeding ranges of four major hummingbird species in North America: Rufous, Anna's, Black-chinned and Ruby-throated

As you probably know or have guessed, I prefer not to use chemicals on the farm. It is just healthier for all of my animals, myself, and the environment. To keep my hummer feeders sparkling clean I soak them in a baking soda, white vinegar, hot water solution and use a long bottle brush to scrub the inside surfaces. Rinse well with hot water. Add fresh nectar and get them outside. My quick nectar making method is to use a quart mason jar. Add 1 cup white, sugar to the quart mason jar and fill halfway with warm water. I put the lid on and swirl it around until most of the sugar is dissolved. Then fill the rest of the jar with cold water, swirl to mix and pour into feeders. Easy Peasy. Once my hummer gaggle is establish I will heat water on the stove with sugar until dissolved or put it out on the south porch in mason jars to “brew” like sun tea. Regardless of the method you use, the ratio of sugar to water is 1:4. Oh, and please do not use red dye in their nectar, it can be very unhealthy for them. Google this if you want to know more. If you want to add red to your feeders then use your imagination and be creative with the feeder, not the nectar.

Here are some Pinterest ideas for feeders. I planned to show you how to make a few, but since those little hummers are so early this year they arrived before I was ready. Best laid plans, right?! We will do it soon, but for now just get what you have ready.

jelly jar hummingbird feeder
Use a jelly jar. It not only gives them nectar, but a place to rest while they feed.
This is really self explanatory, but I’m really not sure about it. Maybe add a dowel rod through the center for a perch? Maybe I will make a few and see how they work …??
shaker hummingbird feeder
Expand the holes of a salt/pepper shaker, add a chenile stick/pipe cleaner “flower” in red to attract and give them a perch for feeding. Such a cute idea and super easy!
Recycle your water bottle into a hummer feeder. Add a feeder spout, wire hanger, and Viola!

Ok, I’m off to go buy sugar. See you back here soon and we will get a few homemade hummer feeders made. Watch for the supply list a few days in advance on fb.me/thediyauntie.

See you soon.

~Auntie D

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