THE START OF
RUBY THROATED HUMMINGBIRD'S FAREWELL
Tiny as these sprites are, their 5000 mile journey to winter breeding grounds in Central and South America is no less than amazing. And the fact that they'll be back next year, claiming the same yards and feeders-as they're known to practice site fidelity. It's no wonder hummingbirds are considered the "flying jewels" and adored by so many of their human hosts. They're likely to be the hands-down favorite of all migratory birds.
For the next three months, these birds will continue their trek south, therefore it's extremely helpful and highly recommended that you keep feeders up and filled with fresh nectar. It's a total myth that if you leave feeders up they won't go! Nature tells them otherwise.
If you're buying nectar at the store… forget about it! Make your own from two simple ingredients: pure cane sugar (plain table sugar) and water - nothing else! Any substitutes will harm the tiny birds, and no red dye needed either. We think they prefer home made nectar over commercial mixes anyway!
The typical solutions' ratio is 1:4 (sugar to water). But during the migration when hummingbirds are fattening up for the trip ahead, a stronger sugar water solution may be mixed at 1:3. More calories equals more energy! No need to boil the water either, we boil one cup just to dissolve sugar more effectively. Change the nectar and rinse the feeder every few days if temps are above 90 degrees. Store unused nectar in the fridge for up to two weeks. Wish we'd started this years ago!
Unlike most birds who travel in flocks, their migration varies as hummingbirds are highly territorial. Aside from defending and fighting over feeders here, they're eager to stake out winter homes before the competition gets the best spots!
You may want to consider helping the tiny sprites with an extra feeder to accommodate passers-by from further North. The fanfare show promises to be well worth your effort! Although the company Birdbrain is long gone, some of their best eco-friendly, recycled glass feeders are still around. The Mini-Kins are great this time of year as you you can place them in different locations, easing the territorial aspect of feeding. Sold in sets of three, the no-drip design and vivid colors will last for seasons to come. Unlike the plastic feeders sold in big box stores, glass hummingbird feeders won't yellow, they're easier to clean, and you won't need to replace them.
Help hummingbirds on their way this year… they may even grace your place next season!
Written by: Beth Wheeler
The Birdhouse Chick
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