Hummingbirds are starting to migrate south right now, or they will be thinking about it really soon. End of August beginning of September, according to Hummingbirds.net , is when they start to notice that the days are getting shorter and they begin to get an overwhelming urge to fly south and not stop.
Right now at the hummingbird feeder, I am starting to notice sporadic use. The other day, I noticed 4 fighting over it from time to time. The last few days have been hit or miss. Last year, I took my feeder down right away as soon as I noticed that the birds were no longer around, but according to Hummingbirds.net I am supposed to leave it up so the birds coming from Canada have something to eat along the way. Also, this will invite them to stop again next year.
This year has been especially busy for my hummingbird feeder. It wasn’t common, but a few times I would see four mostly there were just two or three. Lots and lots of refills for the feeder. It was also a job this year keeping the wasps away.
I believe, the most important tips to remember when feeding hummers is to keep your feeder clean and replace the nectar ever few days whether it is gone or not. Especially in warm weather, the solution goes bad quickly. I mentioned this in my first humming-bird post, I make my solution and all it is is 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. Warm the water and sugar up until the sugar dissolves and let it cool. I fill the feeder with about 1/2 cup of solution and keep the rest in the fridge. Every few days I pour out what is left in the feeder and fill with another 1/2 cup. I have a new batch in the fridge and may not use it up this season depending on my humming-bird traffic. Whatever I don’t use I will throw in the freezer until next season.
It’s been fun watching the hummingbirds this year. I think next year I will graduate to two feeders. We will see. It’s almost too much fun to think about right now.
The Farm Wife
Get your hummingbird feeders out.
Because of our warm spring, hummingbirds have already migrated into our area and some have been here almost a month or so. I read recently, I believe it was in Martha Stewart Living the April edition, that the nectar that we feed the hummingbirds in our feeders should only be left out for a couple of days. It goes bad quickly especially in warm weather and can hurt the little guys. Only fill the feeder enough for a couple of days worth. Like any bird feeding, make a commitment to it if you are going to offer food. Keep feeders clean and stocked.
The nectar I make is 4 cups water with 1 cup sugar. Bring the water to a boil and add the sugar. Stir until dissolved. Wait to put it in the feeder until it cools. I fill the feeder just for a few days worth and keep the rest in my refrigerator. I do not add red coloring. The birds seem to find it just fine and the feeder has red on it. I sometimes will have 3 fighting over it.
I just put my feeder out yesterday and the kids and I have been keeping an eye on it. No sign of a hummingbird, but there was a wasp enjoying and sugary mixture. I grab my towel and am going to hit the feeder to get the wasp off. Right when I am beginning to swing, my first hummingbird flew near the feeder. It spots one sight of me in mid swing and high tails it out of there. I was so angry, I scared my first hummingbird of the season. Not to worry though, as soon as the coast was clear the ruby throated bird came back. I have now spotted it a few times today.
I have been trying to get a good picture of the little hummingbird, but he seems to be a bit smarter than me and wont come near the feeder when I am standing in the shadows with my camera at the ready. You can just take my word for it that he is here and he is fun to watch. Better yet, get a hummingbird feeder at your local hardware store. Make the surgery mix, and wait for the birds to come and find it. They are so much fun to watch. The kids yell “HUMMINGBIRD!” every time he comes to the feeder and we all stop what we are doing and watch it for second and then carry on just like nothing happened.
The Farm Wife
BIRDS ARE OUR FRIENDS!
Birds are your best friend if you want to garden organically. If given the right habitat, birds will eat thousands of insects that will eventually become a problem in your garden. Even Chickens will take care of tomato worms in the garden. Of course, they will also take care of the tomatoes if you don’t keep an eye on them. Having as many birds as possible calling your yard home is a good goal to have. The best way to do that is by providing them with habitat. Birds need food, water, a home and shelter. The food and water are pretty self-explanatory. Bird houses are great, along with bird houses though, birds like to have trees and other shrubs they can hide in. A really good idea is to put a bird feeder next to a tree or a branchy shrub like a pussy willow. Birds prefer not to eat at a feeder that is out in the middle of a yard. They, of course, will if they have to but they would choose to have some protection. The same goes with a waterer. Set a bath under or next to something they can quickly fly into if they need some shelter.
Good example of bird feeder placement. Pussy willow and Corkscrew willow are shrubs in background.
Another idea to attract birds to your garden area is to throw in a few sunflowers along the perimeter of your garden. By a few I mean like 3 to 5. Because sunflowers are so large you can’t grow a row or they would block the sun from the garden. Finches will jump from leaf to leaf as they scope out your garden bug situation. Then in the fall leave your sunflowers sit through the winter so birds can come enjoy the seeds. The next spring you will have to thin out sunflower seedlings. If you do not have a garden yet and are still thinking about that perfect spot, keep the birds in mind. You can’t plant a garden under a tree, but you can plant one by a tree as long as it won’t shade too much for example plant on the south side of a tree. You also want to keep in mind the trees root system. Don’t plant so close that you will be digging up roots when planting your veggies.
Those are just a few thoughts on birds to get us thinking about our gardens and gardening goals for the coming growing season. If you have any other tips or thoughts on birds please don’t hesitate to share with us.
Fourth Generation Farm Wife,