Thursday, May 21, 2009

In Anticipation of Hummingbirds

I'm running a little late this year getting my feeder up. I usually have it ready and waiting for the first arrivals by the last week in April, but with one thing and another, I only put it up two days ago.

This is the first year I've put up a hummingbird feeder at our new apartment (we've been here for two years). We're in a much more downtown neighborhood than we used to be, and I'd been wondering if there were even any hummers in the area. But one morning last August I surprised one feeding at my petunias, so I made a mental note to put up a feeder this spring, just in case.

I can't remember lunch dates with friends, or where I left a very important phone number, but I sure as heck remembered about the hummingbird feeder so out it came on Monday. Tuesday morning I boiled up a batch of nectar and when I got home from work I filled the feeder and hung it on the trellis just outside our door, with cautious anticipation.

The nectar mix I make is ridiculously simple:

• 1 part sugar to 4 parts water
• Boil to kill any possible contaminates like mold
• Let cool, then fill your feeder
• Leftover nectar can be kept in the refrigerator

Notice there is NO red dye in the nectar recipe. It is totally unnecessary and could be harmful to the hummingbirds. Also, never ever use honey. There's a spore in it that can kill the hummers.

Still Life with Sugar

I had great plans this year for buying all sorts of red and pink flowers to plant in the yard to attract hummingbirds and figured that maybe in a month or two we might get a visitor. So I was so surprised and delighted when Paul e-mailed me at work today to tell me that he had spotted a hummer at our feeder already! "Green and female - that's all I got." he said. Wonderful!!! But not all that helpful for identification as I believe that describes the females of all three species of hummer that we get here. Nevertheless, I did a little Happy Hummer Dance. If only more of my projects were successful that quickly!


Laure Ferlita said...

Awesome! Love the hummers, but can't seem to attract them here. Congrats on the quick success!

Heather said...

Hi Gabrielle. Thank you for stopping by my blog. I have this exact same hummingbird feeder. We've had our hummers around since the end of March. I don't know where you're located, but to have 3 different species of hummers that come around? You're lucky! We only get one (ruby-throated). I enjoy your blog, and will be checking in often!