Well, it’s that time of year again to dust off your hummingbird feeders and fill them with that delectable sugar nectar. I’m sure most of you know to use sugar and water, never use honey, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners or food coloring when making your homemade brew. I put my feeders up about a week ago and so far I have a whooping 2 Ruby-Throated hummingbirds, but I know they will soon be joined by many more. I normally put up at least 3 feeders in different locations so they can fly from one to the other, but all still in my line of vision so I can enjoy the show.
Here are some interesting facts about Hummingbirds:
Average weight 3 grams…a nickel weighs 4.5 grams.
They have 1000-1500 feathers, the fewest number of feathers of any bird.
The maximum speed they travel is 30 miles an hour, but can reach up to 60 miles an hour when they dive. Hummers can also fly backwards, and are the only group of birds able to do so.
When migrating, hummingbirds take very long flights – the Rufous makes the longest trip – more than 3000 miles from nesting grounds in Alaska & Canada to their winter habitat in Mexico.
The Ruby Throated hummingbird flies 500 miles non-stop across the Gulf of Mexico both in spring & fall migrations. Wow I find that to be amazing.
Their life span on average is 3-12 years.
These birds use their forked-shaped tongue to drink nectar and they can lick 1-15 times per second.
Hummingbirds need to consume about 1/2 of its body weight in sugar everyday. The average hummingbird will feed 5-8 times every hour.
Additionally, these birds need 8 times their body weight in water on a daily basis so they say a garden fountain with a small spray nozzle will help attract them. So far I haven’t seen mine drink from the fountain…..have any of you?
Despite their small size, hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive bird species and will regularly attack jays, crows & hawks that infringe on their territory and backyard birders often have one dominant hummingbird that guards all the feeders.
In closing, I have to say these precious flying jewels are one of my favorites and I never tire of watching them. So it’s off to the store to stock up on extra bags of sugar to make sure the feeders remain full until they head out leaving Oakridge on to their next journey.
[You’ll find a great recipe for homemade nectar for your feeders on the “Bird” tab of this website.]
As many of you know this is my first time to chair the Birding Committee and our first time to be involved with the Birding Census. We hosted the dinner the night before the actual Birding and in attendance where Amy & Jim Hardy, Brenda & Gary LaVergne, Terri & Mark Prasatik, Terri & Bret Dingley and Grady & Glenda Lambert. We divided into groups giving each an area of the ranch to scout and record all the different birds we could see or hear. The magic hour to meet the next day was 6:45am, yep you read that right 6:45am. It was fairly foggy that morning but the birds didn’t seem to mind. I have to say that we had a blast being in the woods so early and watching the wildlife awaken serenading us with their own music. My husband, Fred, enjoyed it so much he talked about it for days…who knew Birding could be so much fun! The total number of different birds spotted were 43 and the top 5 birds with a count of 100 or more were the American Robin, Northern Cardinal, American Goldfinch, Cedar Waxwing and the Chipping Sparrow. There were many on the list I didn’t know, but now with my birding book in hand my knowledge is growing every day.
I want to thank everyone who took the time to participate in our Birding Census and hope you all can join us next year as we are truly blessed to live in an area that has so many birds & wildlife to see right out our front door.
It won’t be long until our Barn Swallows return to their mud nests for spring and we are so thankful they remember how to get to our house each year. The complaints I get about these birds are they’re so messy, they dive bomb me and my pets and their chirping is so loud. But before you go so far as to knock down their nests, listen to the link below and see how many insects, including the dreadful mosquito, that each bird eats hourly, daily & monthly…it’s mind boggling. To help with the mess we put a large piece of square tile under each nest that collects their calling cards & can easily be picked up, washed off and replaced as needed. After listening to the voice-over below, I think you will agree that having Barn Swallows is a blessing and nature’s incredible insect/pest control that is TOTALLY ORGANIC!
(You may need to copy the links below into your browser to view.)