For feeding hummingbirds, it’s the sweeter the better

Each and every spring around Mother’s Day weekend is when I normally see my first ruby-throated hummingbird of the year.

Rainy days don’t seem to slow down the hummingbirds. This ruby-throated hummingbird was keeping a close eye on the feeder while perched in a nearby tree. Flickr photo by Courtney Celley/U..S Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region

Rainy days don’t seem to slow down the hummingbirds. This ruby-throated hummingbird was keeping a close eye on the feeder while perched in a nearby tree. Flickr photo by Courtney Celley/U..S Fish and Wildlife Service, Midwest Region

It’s always a lone male. Followed by another male. And then another. And another. And so on.

Shortly afterwards a few females arrive, until, all four feeders are alive with a dizzying multitude of buzzing wings, dive-bombing bodies, and chirping beaks. So intense is the battle for space and feeding ports, that it’s a wonder any of the birds get to feed at all, yet, truth be told, I find myself filling the feeders daily, until the bulk of the mob disperses to establish separate breeding territories elsewhere.

And, as is always the case, three to four pairs stay behind to nest near my home.

Although a hummingbird lull at the feeders occurs every summer, and is to be expected, because the adults are busy capturing insects and feeding them to their hungry and demanding youngsters, I’ve nevertheless gone through 25 pounds of sugar this season -- and I’m about to buy another 20 pounds to get them through the remainder of August and September.

Hordes of adults and fledglings — and migrants later on — have begun their relentless daily draining of the feeders.

It’s hard to say exactly why I attract so many hummingbirds, but I presume it’s partly because I provide them with a steady, reliable, and high sugar-content source of energy. While some people opt for the four-to-one ratio, I’ve been mixing three parts water to one part sugar for many years. As well, I’ve plenty of nesting habitat and wild flowers, too. So who knows? Hummingbird haven? Maybe. 

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Source, image(s), credits & more: DLOnline | Blane Klemek