Spring is Hummertime!

Rufous Hummingbird by Dan Mitchell

Look a little closer among the beautiful spring flowers, and maybe you will see them. Tiny, acrobatic, fearless little flying jewels, hummingbirds are the favorite birds of many Northwesterners. With a little luck, a little patience, and a hummingbird feeder in your yard, soon you could find out for yourself just why that is.

Of the 15 species of hummingbirds in the western U.S., two are common to our area.  The Rufous Hummingbird may migrate over 2,000 miles form southern Mexico to its summer home in the Pacific Northwest.  The Anna’s Hummingbird ventures no farther than it has to to find food, so many are year ‘round residents.

Hummingbirds are amazing aerial acrobats, hovering, flying backward, upside down, or rocketing off with breathtaking speed – whether feeding, defending territory, or maybe just showing off!

All that fancy stuff takes energy.  A hummer can consume half its weight in sugar each day, so your feeder will be a welcome supplement to the natural food supply.  Backyard Bird Shop features modern, easy-to-clean, drip-free feeders like the Hummzinger line of U.S.-made feeders, ant resistant, with a continuous perch for great viewing.  The Little Flyer and Nature’s Best feeders are other great choices for carefree hummingbird feeding.

Make your own nectar by dissolving ½ cup of sugar in two cups of boiling water.  Cool before filling your feeder.  You can keep the unused nectar in the refrigerator up to two weeks.  Be sure to clean and refill feeders at least once a week to prevent harmful fermentation.  The birds will find it more readily if you hang it near red, tubular flowers, like fuschia, salvia or trumpet vine.