Attracting Hummers

Not so long ago, I was visiting at a friend’s house, and her backyard was abuzz.

Hummer after hummer flew toward her feeder, sucking greedily from the slots, then spinning off. They chased one another, hovered suspended in the air, chirped, and put on a fascinating show.

I was hooked. I had to have a feeder of my own.

So the next time I was in WalMart, I browsed through the garden and outdoors section, finally deciding on a hummingbird feeder.

With nectar to go inside.

The nectar was red when I bought it, though the hummers don’t seem to care one way or another!

I took my prize home, followed the directions for making the “food,” and hung the feeder right outside the kitchen window.

Where, I hoped, every time I washed my hands at the sink, I’d be able to watch the tiny creatures.

I waited. And prayed for the arrival of some hungry “guests.”

At last, I was rewarded! Hummers have found my feeder, and they’re coming often to eat.

I’ve since learned that these tiny birds (about 3.5 inches in length), flap their wings approximately 80 times per second (thus, the humming sound!). Unlike some other birds, they don’t mate for life; the mama birds handle all the nest-building and baby-raising. The nest is about the size of a ping-pong ball; the eggs, the size of a jelly bean.

Hummers migrate annually, spending winter in the warm southern climates. Prior to their trip, they must “fatten up,” nearly doubling their body weight. People can help by setting out feeders (1/4 c. sugar, 1 c. water, NO red food coloring!); if temperatures are predicted to dip in the evening, bring the feeder in so the birds don’t have to drink cold food.

For more hummingbird facts, check this out.

16 thoughts on “Attracting Hummers

    • Ah, Kathy, this is a great time to visit the Midwest! The weather has cooled, but you can still get some good deals from farmers’ markets and such. I hope your visit is wonderful, and I’m so glad you’re getting to enjoy the hummingbirds!

  1. I didn’t color my nectar and they weren’t nearly as interested in the feeders as they are the beebalm. They are fascinating to watch!

    • We’ve never really courted them before, but when I saw how interesting and active they were at my friend’s house, I wanted to try replicating it. I’m surprised it worked!

  2. How fun! I love hummingbirds but have never gotten a feeder because I don’t really want to attract bees. (I’m not anti-bee; I like them just fine…just not in my yard.) I hope they continue to visit your feeder and provide you plenty of photo opportunities 🙂

    • I was afraid the Sheltie would run them off, but they don’t seem to mind him at all! And despite their humming and chirping, he doesn’t bother chasing them off, either. Who’d a thought?!

    • Year round? How fortunate you are! I think the ones I’m seeing are the females because they’re rather drab in color. Still, they’re fascinating to watch. You grow Birds of Paradise, too? Wow, that must feel like Heaven!

  3. Some of them are here already, although October is the height of their migration. I’m going to be gone now and then in the coming weeks, so I decided not to put a feeder out this year. It’s not good to get them accustomed to one being in a certain place, and then not keep up with it.

    I’ve never heard of bringing the feeders in at night. I don’t think they would mind cold nectar, as long as it doesn’t freeze. Of course, it’s a rare thing down here when anything freezes, so what do I know? 😉

    • Hmm, you might be right about not having to bring in the feeders at night. After all, they suck nectar from cold flowers, don’t they?! But where I am, fall nights can be quite cool, which probably will encourage the birds to migrate on anyway. Thanks for pointing this out.

  4. Debbie, how delightful to be able to watch these little birds stop by for some nectar! I can’t remember the last time I saw a hummingbird. You’ve totally made me want to go out and buy a hummingbird feeder! ha! 🙂

    • That’s how I got suckered into it, Bella! If you’re smart, you’ll run fast the other way — these little darlings have a way of making you care (and worry!) about them. Will they survive their long flight south? Will they have enough food to eat? Will the cats leave them alone? Makes me weary just thinking about it!

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