Friday, April 30, 2010

Post 2 - An old friend returns

One of our ruby-throated hummingbirds came back this evening. It was a gorgeous day, in the 80s (still 75 now), and sunny, so Barry and I were having dessert out on the back deck. We had a plant hanger which we bought in Maine, on which we hung two hummingbird feeders last year and the year before. Well, while we were finishing up dessert, one of the little critters just showed up on the top of the hanger, looking for his red feeder.

Now people think birds are dumb, but hummingbirds will REMEMBER where they were fed last year, and after a flight all the way from South America to Kentucky, they will come back to the same feeding station for as long as they are alive.

Now if you want to feed the hummingbirds in your back yard, DO NOT use any liquid with red food coloring or dye in it. It can actually damage the hummingbirds' livers. Take 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water (or any 1:4 proportion). Boil it for a few minutes, let it cool, then put it in the feeder. Don't worry, it WILL attract ants, but just clean them out every time you refill the feeder.

Hummingbirds are very territorial, so you may want two or more feeders.  Males will generally chase the females away from the feeder unless the females have mated with them.   I guess that's the hummingbird's way of saying "dinner and a movie" after mating!

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