Thursday, August 8, 2013

They're back!

Last summer we hung a hummingbird feeder outside our kitchen's big picture window. The feeder was filled with a red concoction made from a base we purchased and mixed according to instructions. I remember hanging it and having "customers" within 30 minutes.

The hummingbirds are fascinating to watch. There are three spigots on the feeder but the birds don't seem to do group activities well. If one is feeding and another one flies up, the one that was already there appears to chase the other one away, even though there is plenty of room for both of them. I say "appears" because (a) I don't really know what's going on in the world of hummingbirds and (b) they move so fast that it's hard to tell who would be chasing whom.

Anyway, I was anxious to put out the feeder again this summer. I did so about six weeks ago, mixing from the same base we had stored in the refrigerator from last year. I followed the instructions exactly.

But no hummingbirds came. Not a one. I asked Kelly, my bird expert, about it and she suggested that maybe the mix was "stale" and I should start over again. I did, using the same mix again, with still no results.

I think what Kelly meant was that I needed a new mix altogether. Wife agreed. She found a recipe and mixed up her own hummingbird nectar. Interestingly, it has no color. The mix we used last year was bright red and I thought that was what attracted the hummingbirds.

Wife read that as long as there is some hint of red on the feeder, it is not necessary to color the water. In fact, the instructions for the recipe she used recommended against it, saying the food coloring might make the nectar bitter.

Each of the little spigots is red but they are so small that I was doubtful that would be enough to attract the little boogers.

Not to worry. I am happy to report this did the trick. They are back in force and they're not any nicer to each other than they were last year. It's still one at a time. They are a still a big kick to watch.


Kelly said...

Great shot of the hummingbird! They're too fast for me to capture. And you're right, they do not like to share and can be downright mean!

I hope our mutual friend in LR doesn't see that you consider me your resident bird expert. She knows FAR more than I do!

quid said...

Success! And that's a great picture you got of your visitor!