Hungry Hummingbird

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bob

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Here in Seattle we're having what we call a cold snap. It's currently 24 outside, and the high was about 29. (Yes, I know, for some of you that would be considered spring, but this is Seattle, not North Dakota...)

Due to our normally mild climate, some hummers spend the winter here. So when I get home today, I noticed that the hummingbird feeders on my porch are both frozen into nectarsicles. I figured I'd take them in, thaw them out, and put them back out in the morning. It's nearly dark outside, so I figured they weren't feeding any more today, and I leave before daylight this time of year.

I took down the larger feeder, and as I was unhooking the smaller one (their favorite) when a little guy flies over and hovers about a foot away from me. He looks right at me, looks at the feeder and I swear I could almost hear him say "Just where do you think you're going with that?" hovered there for a bit, and then flew off. I kid you not, there was no mistaking his questioning what I was up to.

So I quickly took it inside, ran hot water to melt the popsicle that was in there and then put in an fresh feed, heavy on the mix and light on water. I used lukewarm water to try and keep it liquid a bit longer without risking burning their tongues.

It only took a moment for him to show up after I hung it up, and he's drinking like mad...
 
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K

Kale

Guest
#2
Bob those little guys have a way with buzzing up to my face staring at me then siting on my clothes line.All during August they will all just hang out on the clothesline.
I do 4parts water to 1cup of sugar and I boil the water first to get the chlorine out.I do no use red coloring it is said to not be needed.While that is in the making I'm cleaning out my many feeders.I do rotate so they always have fresh feeder nearly every day.They are so interesting to watch.I love them.I even had a change to talk to one this year and whistle a tune as he sad there staring at me .I think he was wondering where the white coats were
My son called to tell me he had them out his window in October..Little stinker...
I am not sure they leave Mi so soon due to the cold. According to my books, it states lack of insects.

Here are to of my little buddies...:D:D:D

Kale:)
 
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bob

Administrator
Staff member
#4
how do I keep them from freezing?...
I'm bringing mine inside overnight during the real cold.

Even so, they ice up pretty quickly but the sugar water seems to stay liquid for quite a while. There's ice, but there's still liquid (presumably very sugary) inside as well.
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#6
thanks sir....I would think for the winter you should up the sugar in the mix any ways...correct?
I generally do make it a bit richer in the winter, but to be honest I don't know if that's the right thing to do or not. I just figure they need "high test" this time of year. But I don't know if it can be too sugary for them or not... I don't want to cause them any problems.
 

Flower4Yeshua

Super Moderator & vegemm
Staff member
#7
I know at some point it is to be 1 to 3 part and some times higher...but can not remember if summer is richer time or winter...
 
K

Kale

Guest
#8
I wouldn't up the sugar although it will not freeze as fast.
It is said that they gauge their distant by their drink if they are buzzzzzzzzzzing from a quick sugar rush they will over estimate their distance and if there is no "food" or feeders (sugar water) out for them along their travel they will expire.


White Sugar water is to get them to the bugs, perching will allow them to rest and store some energy thus may be allowing them further distance.
You can research to find out about the water sugar ratio change. All that I have read,(mostly books) clearly state not to. One may find a site that says it is ok but I go with the majority just to be safe. Don’t want a hummer's life on my conscience!
I have read much on the fluid colors, it is said that the premix isn't suggested. No honey of any kind for any reason. It is also said to cause a bacteria in their tongues and throat and / or tumor.

I have been watching them to see if color does lore them and.. Although I found them on several reds (plants) I saw them on yellows and several other colors.
And. my feeders are faded and they still come for their day long sips.
I know it does look nice..red water hanging there; but. if it isn't helping the birds, I simply don't care how cool or pretty my feeders are as long and they are clean and fresh for the little hummers..
I had an acquaintance that thinks she can just mix and do whatever she wants, claims the birds go there to drink.

Just my 2cents..

Jump in you Hummer watchers!
What are your thoughts on this?:D:D

Kale:)
 
M

Mari-Jo

Guest
#9
I do the 4-1 also, but are you not to cut that back to 3-1 later? I am sure I read that someplace, just not sure where.........lol..........I know Papa2mykids would know.............I thought it was in one of his newsletters, but I may be wrong on that...........now I am double guessing myself.............:rolleyes:
 
#11
MJ, I do the more concentrated when they come back here in spring from their long flight north, a little boost after their long journey. I don't do it in fall before they leave. By that time they should be pretty plump and ready to go.
They normally leave here by the second week in September but I keep the feeder up for a couple of weeks after that for straglers that are coming from further north.

They normally come back sometime in and around the second week in May.
 
#12
feeders

I do the more concentrated when they come back here in spring, a little boost after their long journey. I don't do it in fall before they leave. By that time they should be pretty plump and ready to go.
Ditto for me on the mix boost for Spring - I put out 3-4 feeders in May and do them 3 to 1 for the first 2 fills - after that it is 4 to 1. We are very high up (over 5,500 ft) and the mountains here stay covered with snow all but July & August, so figure anything that can make it here in those conditions needs a little boost. Read it reccommended somewhere too, but can't recall where.
 
#13
Here in Seattle we're having what we call a cold snap. It's currently 24 outside, and the high was about 29. (Yes, I know, for some of you that would be considered spring, but this is Seattle, not North Dakota...)

Due to our normally mild climate, some hummers spend the winter here. So when I get home today, I noticed that the hummingbird feeders on my porch are both frozen into nectarsicles. I figured I'd take them in, thaw them out, and put them back out in the morning. It's nearly dark outside, so I figured they weren't feeding any more today, and I leave before daylight this time of year.

I took down the larger feeder, and as I was unhooking the smaller one (their favorite) when a little guy flies over and hovers about a foot away from me. He looks right at me, looks at the feeder and I swear I could almost hear him say "Just where do you think you're going with that?" hovered there for a bit, and then flew off. I kid you not, there was no mistaking his questioning what I was up to.

So I quickly took it inside, ran hot water to melt the popsicle that was in there and then put in an fresh feed, heavy on the mix and light on water. I used lukewarm water to try and keep it liquid a bit longer without risking burning their tongues.

It only took a moment for him to show up after I hung it up, and he's drinking like mad...
Bob, what kind of hummingbirds do you get there? I'm the most crazed hummingbird fanatic around. I watch their behavior because I'm so fascinated by their habits.

I've had that happen to me countless times. There's a big tree that is outside one of my bedroom windows, and they like to perch themselves up in the top of that tree. Sometimes one or two hummers will act like they are standing guard over the feeders, but it never fails, especially early in the morning or just before dusk that they'll come around expecting to partake in a meal, and if I take the feeders down, which I do a lot because it gets so hot here, they look like they are livid that I've removed their food source. The crazy thing is that they know when the nectar isn't fresh, and they'll come around and look like they are putting their beaks up at the feeder, trying to advise me that they want fresh nectar. They'll refuse to drink stuff that's not fresh, but the moment I bring out the fresh, they'll guzzle away!

Has anyone ever tried to get hummers to drink from their hand? There is a link to some amazing videos on the hummingbirds.net website. They also have migration maps there, and people are reporting the FOS (first of spring) Ruby Throat spottings and they are being recorded there.
 

Kya D

Active Member
#14
Ms Susan
I used to put my finger up to the feeder and my hummers would come perch on my finger and feed
They are just so sweet
 

bob

Administrator
Staff member
#15
Bob, what kind of hummingbirds do you get there?
These were just the plain old Ruby Throat ones. One had more red than the other, does that mean they were a male and female maybe?

In any case, I'm sad to report that I've not seen them since that extreme and long cold snap we had. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm guessing maybe it was too long and cold for them to survive. We don't typically get snow here in Seattle and when we do it's usually only for a day or two, not weeks at a time.
 
#16
These were just the plain old Ruby Throat ones. One had more red than the other, does that mean they were a male and female maybe?

In any case, I'm sad to report that I've not seen them since that extreme and long cold snap we had. I hope I'm wrong, but I'm guessing maybe it was too long and cold for them to survive. We don't typically get snow here in Seattle and when we do it's usually only for a day or two, not weeks at a time.
Yes, Bob. Male hummingbirds are much brighter and more colorful. The females are kind of bland by comparison. That may be nature's way of allowing female hummer's to blend into their environments. I didn't know you had Ruby Throats up there. I thought they were indigenous to the eastern part of the U.S.

As for the cold, in 2006, this part of Texas had a real cold snap where the temps dropped below freezing in March, something they typically don't do at all. It was after the migration period and we got 5+ inches of snow the Saturday before Easter Sunday. I left my feeders out, hoping that the nectar wouldn't freeze, but I suspected the hummers would need the extra sustenance. I even made fresh nectar, making it even stronger. The typical recipes for nectar call for 1 cup of sugar for every quart of water. (4 cups.) During the migration period, especially when hummers are heading back south, experts recommend that nectar be made at a concentration of 1 1/3 cups of sugar to 4 cups of water. Those hummers flocked to the feeders constantly. By the following Monday, I had to refill them. The snow started to melt, and the hummers went on as normally. There is a period during which the females are nesting and the males seem to be less visible. This usually happens about a month after they make landfall for the spring migration. If you live in a breeding area (which is most of the country from Texas eastward,) about a month after migration, don't be surprised if your hummers go missing for about a month. The females are sitting on the eggs in the nests. Check out the definitive ruby throat website
 
#17
I haven't seen any hummer's yet.But I got my feeders full and ready.I found feeders on clearance last fall for 50cent so I bought 6 more.:)
 
#19
Best feeders I have found are either the plain plastic feeders made by First Nature (available at Pet Smart and usually at Walmart,) because they have a wide mouth on the jar part, and that makes it easier to clean. Aside from that, the reservoir and feeding ports are easy to dissemble and clean, and there aren't extra parts that can break or get lost. Other than that, there's another one that is glass and that one is called the Best-1. It's substantially more expensive. The first nature feeders should cost about $7.99 for a 32 ounce feeder. There's also a 16 ounce feeder. Ease of cleaning is the my biggest consideration when choosing a feeder. Otherwise, it's too easy for mold to grow in the feeder and that's a guaranteed recipe for keeping hummers away.

Spider, they just made landfall in coastal areas of Florida, Texas and elsewhere along the Gulf. It takes a week or two for them to venture inland.
 
#20
Best feeders I have found are either the plain plastic feeders made by First Nature (available at Pet Smart and usually at Walmart,) because they have a wide mouth on the jar part, and that makes it easier to clean. Aside from that, the reservoir and feeding ports are easy to dissemble and clean, and there aren't extra parts that can break or get lost. Other than that, there's another one that is glass and that one is called the Best-1. It's substantially more expensive. The first nature feeders should cost about $7.99 for a 32 ounce feeder. There's also a 16 ounce feeder. Ease of cleaning is the my biggest consideration when choosing a feeder. Otherwise, it's too easy for mold to grow in the feeder and that's a guaranteed recipe for keeping hummers away.

Spider, they just made landfall in coastal areas of Florida, Texas and elsewhere along the Gulf. It takes a week or two for them to venture inland.
LOL I'm ready to see them again.
 


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