Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hummingbird Food

Spring must be here. As I was clearing pine needles from my garden yesterday evening the familiar trill of one of my favorite birds flew by. He’s right on time. I’m making their food right now.

Hummingbird Food

1 part sugar
4 part water
boil - for several minutes
let cool - serve
refrigerate the rest up to 2 weeks

Do not use honey

It’s a fine line between being enthralled with these feathered friends and being mystified. They are spectacular right now because I haven’t seen them in several months. We have three kinds that visit all summer: the Broad-tailed, the largest of the three at 4 inches, the Calliope, the smallest North American bird - about 3 3/4 inches, and the Rufous- the unofficial toughest - similar in size but just a tad bigger than the Calliope. The Rufous always arrives a later in the season. We are just out of their usual range but I’ve seen them every year for the last seven. Till they arrive we have a fairly nice thing going on with the males of the other two species being dominant, most of the time, but getting along well enough. They will let the females have their turn. I have seen three females out smart or at least distract a male long enough to get to the feeder. Also witnessed, three and four females eating at one time but rare to see the male join in on community eating.

When the Rufous shows up the mix changes and battles begin. Even if he is not eating he guards “his” feeder to be sure no one eats. Though not much bigger than the Calliope his attitude sure is. But his rufous color is both beautiful and unique and I can't help but love his spunk.

I’ve had them all let me know they are out of food by swinging back and forth in front of the door till I notice them.
We’ve also had them come right up to our face and do a similar back and forth movement with a loud twill. Or the whizzing right by our ear just to mess with us? To have some fun?

One time housesitting in Big Sur, watering their garden for a long while, one approached three times, as though he was checking me out to make sure I was safe or smart enough to understand what he wanted. A shower. Sure enough on the third try he went in and out of the spray as I held it still. I stood amazed.

Gotta go. I just heard him fly by looking for his food that is cooling right now. I better get out there. I don’t like to keep them waiting. I’m still the student learning what ever I can from these little guys.


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