More on Hummingbirds
In the spring hummingbirds will be on the move thru the Great Plaines north to nest. They do nest along the Missouri River valley as well as other heavily treed riparian areas in the Central Plaines. If you want to attract these little jewels as they pass through have your hummingbird feeder out about the first week before Mother’s Day. You may need to freshen it, but they will arrive.
I believe most people begin to feel summer slipping away shortly after the Fourth of July. But the arrival of hummingbirds on their southerly retreat during the first few weeks of August seem to alert birders of the seasonal changes to come. Wild Bird Habitat generally recommends that people have their hummingbird feeders filled and ready by the 15th of August. However over the past few years these little jewels seemed to begin arriving during the first week of August, and in good numbers, staying well into September before moving on. Here is a few tips for attracting hummingbirds:
► Have hummingbird feeders out prior to their arrival, usually the first week or two of August. Keep the nectar fresh, changing home-made nectar at least every other day. (the refined sugar in home-made nectar ferments rapidly in warm weather creating bacteria) Commercial nectar needs changing once a week. To save on nectar, fill the feeder half-full until the hummingbirds are seen at the feeder.
► When making home-made nectar (one part table sugar to four parts boiling water, completely dissolve sugar and refrigerate) never use artificial sweeteners or add any type of coloring. Pre-mixed nectars have become very popular and eliminate the mess of mixing powdered nectars.
► Hang hummingbird feeders in as much shade as possible. This will prevent over-heating and keep the product fresher.
► If you have a dominating hummingbird that prevents others from enjoying this sweet treat, place another feeder on the other side of your house, or out of sight of the first one, to allow others to feed.
► Bright colors and tubular plants attract hummingbirds. Some have increased the opportunity to attract these little birds hanging red ribbons and other decorations near feeders.
► Remember, nectar only provides carbohydrates for energy. Hummingbirds are insect eaters feeding on small spiders, aphids, and invertebrate insects. Avoid pesticides that might eliminate this high protein food source.
► If you didn’t get your feeders out early don’t worry. It may take a little more time to attract hummingbirds, but they will come. They will readily use nectar feeders during dry weather. Tubular plants produce less nectar during dry spells. Keep the feeders going until the hummingbirds have completely migrated out. As insect eaters, no amount of nectar will prevent them from migrating out when the time comes.