Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Attracting Hummingbirds

We spotted a gorgeous ruby-throated hummingbird in our garden this week. It has been visiting a patch of blooming delphiniums and Larksur. This has encouraged us to fill our hummmingbird feeder with nectar. I found this recipe for hummingbird food online. The boys and I have a rainy afternoon activity.

How to Make Hummingbird Food

by Jane Lake

Bee balm, honeysuckle, clematis, impatiens, phlox and fuchias are some of the common flowers that will attract hummingbirds to your garden. But hanging a hummingbird feeder where you can easily see it is probably the best way to observe the hummingbirds in action.

There's no need to buy expensive hummingbird nectar - make your own, from this simple hummingbird syrup recipe.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

1 part sugar/4 parts water

Boil the water first, then measure and add sugar, at the rate of 1/4 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water.

Let cool and store excess in refrigerator until ready to use.

Do not add food coloring, honey (which ferments), or artificial sweetener, which has no nutritional value.

You will need to clean your feeder every few days, with hot water and a mild (10%) bleach solution to inhibit mold. Rinse thoroughly before refilling with water syrup.

The wing beat rate of hummingbirds varies by species, with the common Ruby-Throated Hummingbird averaging a wing beat of about 53 per second, seen by the human eye as a blur. The wings move in a figure eight pattern to produce the gravity-defying hover effect for which hummers are famous. The energy needs of this little bird are amazing - they must feed every 10 to 15 minutes throughout the day, consuming up to two thirds of their body weight in food. An important part of the hummingbird diet is sugar, from flower nectar, tree sap and, of course, backyard feeders.

Hummingbirds cannot smell and depend on their eyesight to seek out flowers and food sources. Inexpensive hummingbird feeders are readily available and will attract the busy little birds without the need for coloring the food - the bright red plastic and easy food source will keep them coming throughout the day. Since hummingbirds are territorial, you may want to hang two feeders - one in the back yard and one in the front, to accomodate as many hummingbirds as you can.


Shirley said...

I love these little birds. Last year a hummingbird built a nest that we could see into from an upstairs room in our house. It was an amazing thing to watch the baby hummingbird grow.

S said...

That would be so cool to watch hummingbirds develop. I have been trying to get a good photo of the visiting hummingbirds. They are too fast for me and I never seem to have the camera when I see the perfect photo opportunity. Thanks for your comment.

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