About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

How drought affects hummingbirds


The HighView™ feeder has a perch that invites
hummingbirds to rest comfortably as they drink.
Made in the USA from Lifetime guaranteed
unbreakable polycarbonate.
Hummingbird feeders may be more critical than ever this year. Many residents in our area have reported a recent increase in activity at their hummingbird feeders. Because of the excessively hot, dry summer, the hummingbirds’ food source of nectar laden flowers is very low.

You can help by offering hummingbirds the correct nectar solution (sugar water) of four parts of water to one part of common table sugar. We advise against adding red food coloring, honey or any other sweeteners. Click HERE for the complete nectar recipe.

Place the feeder in a shaded location and change the nectar every 2-3 days to help prevent spoilage. Easy to clean and fill, the saucer style hummingbird feeders at Wild Birds Unlimited are the most popular. They have a lifetime guarantee, built in ant moat and don't leak. Bees usually leave these feeders alone but bee guards can be added to the ports if bees, wasps or ants become a nuisance.

Also, by hanging multiple hummingbird feeders around your yard, you make it difficult for a territorial hummingbird to patrol every feeder, allowing other birds to visit.

You can also leave all the spider webs you see outside alone for the hummers to pick clean and encourage fruit flys to your garden by tossing in old banana peels. The banana peels break down rapidly and fertilize the garden but more importantly attract small flys for the hummers to eat.

The next couple of months are your best opportunity to see hummingbirds. Adult hummingbirds as well as a horde of juveniles have begun to head south to Central America and their winter territories, traveling thousands of miles.

It's estimated that more than seven million Ruby-throated Hummingbirds return to the tropics each winter. As they make their way south, hummingbirds will take part in an eating binge that is unmatched at any other time of the year. The reduced amount of natural nectar sources will drive more migrants towards feeders to re-fuel. Hummingbirds require a high-calorie diet to build fat reserves for their long stretches of flying. You can literally watch hummingbirds at the feeder becoming roly poly.

Hummingbirds need the extra body-weight to convert into fuel to travel the 1,400 miles south. They also wait for favorable weather and take advantage of tail winds. Southbound ruby-throats rebuild their reserves in the early morning, travel about 23 miles during the day and forage again in the late afternoon to keep up their body weight. Watch for birds that blow in to your yard for a pit stop and then ride out on the next good wind.

Related Articles:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I've also seen a LOT more hummers this year. My feeders always have 1 (or 3!) at them at a time, every time I walk by. And they sure are territorial. Here is one of my favorite pictures I've taken so far: http://raegun.com/hummingbird.jpg