Who doesn’t love to watch hummingbirds? They are very interesting and tranquil creatures and easy to attract by using feeders or by planting flowers in your yard.
Feeders are pretty inexpensive and easy to maintain so anyone can enjoy them. Hummingbird watching can be an exciting and fun-filled activity for the whole family.
The Rubythroat hummingbird is common to all parts of Alabama. The male can be recognized by his deep red throat patch and dark green back. The female looks like the male except she has no red on her throat and has a lighter green back.
During their daily activity, hummingbirds burn a tremendous amount of calories, which is easy to believe given how fast they move. They usually need to feed about four times an hour.
Hummingbirds have tubular tongues that extend deep inside flowers to reach the nectar. They also eat insects but they make up a small part of their diet, they much prefer the nectar.
Hummingbirds don’t feed at night, so it has to slow its body functions during the night. Here’s an interesting fact; this state of suspended animation is called torpor.
The hummingbird’s body temperature and heart rate (normally about 200 beats per minute) drops and breathing slows to about 5 percent of what would be expected for a sleeping bird of hummingbird size. Hummingbirds can come out of torpor very quickly, especially if they feel there is a threat near.
Landscaping Birmingham AL – How to Feed Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are easily attracted to feeders in the spring, usually beginning in April or early May, however, you can enjoy them all summer. Many types of feeders are commercially available, and most seem to work well.
A feeder that has a bee guard works best because it keeps bees from using the feeder. If there are bees are attracted to and near the feeder, hummingbirds will not go near it.
Feeders are filled with nectar solution that’s either purchased or can be made at home easily. For a homemade solution, mix 1 part table sugar to 4 to 5 parts warm water. The warm water makes the sugar dissolve faster. Allow the solution to cool thoroughly before filling the feeder.
There isn’t any evidence that hummingbirds need any nutrients other than pure, white table sugar. It’s extremely important to keep your feeders clean. Rinse the feeders with vinegar and hot water at least once a week, even if some solution is left. Avoid using detergents. Don’t allow mold to grow on the feeder or let the feeding solution become cloudy. Discard old feeding solution and store extra fresh in the refrigerator.
Never use honey as a substitute for sugar in the solution. Hummingbirds cannot digest honey. They will eat a honey-based solution, but they will soon die from lack of nutrition. Honey may also transmit a fungus that is lethal to hummingbirds.
If you find that ants are attracted to your feeder (which is quite common), coat the monofilament line (used to hang the feeder) with vegetable oil. The oil will keep the ants from climbing down the line. Some feeders have a reservoir on the top, where the line attaches, that can be filled with oil to keep ants from getting to the sugar solution.
Use these tips to enjoy a wonderful Hummingbird watching season!
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