Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Where Are My Hummers?

It's the time of year that we hear this often, "My hummers were here but now they are gone." They are not gone, but there is less activity at the feeders. Mom is now on the nest and she's eating mostly a protein diet. When the eggs hatch, she will feed the babies a protein diet. When the young are ready to leave the nest, they will be in search of nectar. So this time of year, about all you will see at the feeder are the males in the area. And since females generally outnumber males in an area, you might feel that your feeder has been abandoned. Do not dispair. Keep the nectar in your feeder fresh. About 3-4 days in the heat of the summer is the maximum time limit for nectar to be out. It's just sugar water. Dump it out and fill it again. Be patient. You will again see lots of activity at your feeder.

We are also hearing about more and more oriole sightings. I have read that oriole behavior is similar to hummer behavior in that females will not visit the feeders as much while they are on the nest. I know that is true at our house. Other birds, however, are enjoying the grape jelly and oranges that we have out. It seems that the fruit eating birds are the colorful ones. We have some gorgeous red-headed woodpeckers that visit daily.

Hummingbird fact for today: Not all hummingbirds pollinate the flowers from which they feed. Some short-billed species routinely bypass the pollination mechanism by inserting their bills between the bases of the petals or through holes created by insects or other birds.