While working in the yard on Saturday, I met with a rather sassy visitor… who told me I was invading her space! It was a bold little hummingbird, who dive bombed me a few times, to let me know I was too near her lunch. Had she known I was the one providing her sweet little meal, she might have been more gracious… but as it was, I retreated and let her eat in peace. As a reward for giving ground, I was treated with a wonderful display of aerial acrobatics.
Our family loves hummingbirds. We have two hummingbird feeders and I keep them clean and full all Summer.
After the kids spotted one a few weeks ago, we hurried in to make the nectar and get our feeders out.
My kids will sometimes set up their chairs a short distance from the feeders, sit very still and watch the show. They think it’s funny when one hummingbird chases another away from the feeder. “That one is greedy,” or “The one with the black head is really tough,” they say.
Ben learned about hummingbirds in school today and here are a few facts according to him:
- Hummingbirds can flap their wings 200 times a second. “A second, mom… not a minute… a second!”
- They can dive up to 60 miles an hour.
- Ben says their wings move faster than a speeding bullet. (I’m not sure if that’s true! Sounds like he might be mixing them up with Superman…)
- Hummingbirds visit up to a 1000 flowers a day for food… and they also eat bugs and spiders (“Yuck,” said the girls.)
- They can fly upside down!
- The have the biggest brain of any bird (according to weight I assume!)
It is easy and really cheap to attract hummingbirds to your yard, and there is no need to buy hummingbird food. “Make it Do” your own nectar. Here’s how:
4 parts water / 1 part sugar (there is no need to add red food coloring)
- Boil 4 cups water.
- Remove from heat and add 1 cup sugar.
- Stir to dissolve.
- Allow water to cool and fill your feeders.
- Save any unused water in the refrigerator.
Be sure to change your water out often, especially during hot weather. During the hottest days of the year, I change out my water every other day.
About once a week clean your feeders using 4 parts warm water to 1 part white vinegar. Since I don’t have a brush for scrubbing inside my little bottles, I “Make it Do” by pouring a teaspoon of rice in the jar with the vinegar solution, cover the opening with my hand and shake. The rice is abrasive and cleans good as new.
Make sure to plant hummingbird friendly plants in your yard as well. They love my bee balm (monarda), delphinium, trumpet vine, and red columbine.
If you are feeling really crafty today, here’s a great article on making your own hummingbird feeder from Birds and Blooms.