Friday, May 20, 2011

Return of the Hummers

Hummingbirds are indeed back! It's great to have the hummingbirds back. I get alot of them at my feeder each summer and all summer long I have the best time watching my little hummers at my feeder. It starts out every year around the same time sometime the beginning of May I set out humming bird feeders. Do you have your feeder out yet? Don't worry it's not too late. However the folks who put out their feeders early seem to have the best luck attracting hummers. So ,if you haven't already, get out your feeder soon. Everyone seems to enjoy the humming birds. I marvel at the tiny size, at their flying skills, and the fact they are able to fly thousands of miles, and yet locate exactly the same feeder they ate from a whole year ago. Amazing! It's ironic that the birds can find our feeders when many of us can't. Did you know that while most birds mate for life or at least have a rock solid bond during mating season that this is not the case with hummingbirds? Yep, They hate all that mushy stuff. In fact they hate each other. Female hummers are extremely resourceful, independent and almost no use for males. When most female birds arrive on their breeding grounds they immediately begin to look for a mate. Not Ms. Hummer. Mating is the last thing on her mind. The first thing she does upon arrival is build a nest, and she does it alone. She doesn't need a mate telling her where and how to build it. Once her nest is completed, she takes a quick trip over to a males territory, does what she has to do, and is done with him. (Sounds like my kinda girl) As you can imagine, hummers nests are small built about ten to twenty feet above the ground, but it may be low. Most nests are located just below a layer of foliage. The foliage not only hides the nest from predators, but it also provides protection from rain and the heat of the summer sun. I have never seen a nest. I have tried numerous times to find one. Finding an active hummingbird nest is not an easy thing to do. Remember the female hummers are single moms. There is no male friendly neighbor or mother-in-law to watch her kids while she is off gathering food. Foliage is all she has to protect her babies when she is not there. The female rarely flies directly back to her nest.; she often makes several false stops along the way. I guess I could try to locate the nest in the fall, when the leaves are off the trees. I will have to put that on my list of things to accomplish this year. A few more thoughts: The formula for making hummingbird food is four parts water to one part sugar. Red food coloring is not required and not recommended. However, changing the food and cleaning your feeder twice a week is important. Why? If Ms. Hummer visits your feeder and it's not fresh, she may not return. She'll simply cast you aside like she's done to all of the males she's met over the years. You don't want to end up like them.

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