"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Seeing fewer hummingbirds at the feeder?

Hummingbirds swarmed this feeder in Santa Ynez. Photo taken March 25, 2011.

      It's normal to see fewer hummingbirds at your feeders this time of year. Anna's and Allen's are currently nesting in Southern California. So the female is feeding largely on insects for the extra protein needed for her brood. And because she feeds her nestlings every 15 minutes, she tends to stay close to the nest. Hummingbirds are extremely territorial. Aggressive males will attempt to run off others in an effort to protect his female and feeding territory.
     And be sure to keep your feeder clean. Hummingbirds can contract a deadly fungal infection from dirty and moldy feeders. The infection causes their tongues to swell, making it impossible for them to eat. They end up dying from starvation.
     Replace the nectar and clean the feeder thoroughly at least every week in cool weather. As temperatures heat up, we need to do this every day. Clean feeders with white vinegar and hot water. Scrub out any signs of mold with a clean brush. Hummers may reject your feeder if you use soap.
      You will be rewarded with a spectacular display.
      Tweet this to your friends.
      Happy birding!

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