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September 3, 2009

Hummingbird Print

 Hummingbird print
Hummingbird Print
Those you who know me and have visited my place know that one of the fun things to do when you visit is to watch the hummingbirds duking it out over the feeders in the backyard. Over the years I have taken many photos of these fearsome warriors that sometimes actually catch each other on the wing and then wrestle on the deck. This particular photo happens to be my all-time far. I can't imagine ever stopping taking photos of these beautiful birds.

If you are a fan of hummingbirds, and who isn't, here's my recipe for "home brew" hummingbird feeder nectar: make a 25% solution of white sugar and water. That's it!

I make 8 cup batches at a time, so I first of all measure out 2 cups of sugar and then add 6 cups of hot water to make up a total of 8 cups. Stir it for long enough to dissolve the sugar. It doesn't need to be colored; I know in the stores it's sold with red food coloring, but they do that just to make you feel like you are getting something for your money. Do NOT use powdered (icing) sugar! I keep the nectar in the fridge and top up the feeders when they are emptied. I always sterilize the feeder at each refill by rinsing it out with some bleach solution and then rinsing the feeder well before refilling it. This stops bacteria growing inside the feeder.

An interesting thing I have discovered over the many years of having hummingbird feeders in the yard is that for some unexplained reason the birds prefer some feeders over others. In fact, I have had some feeders that the birds refuse to feed from despite having left them in the yard for months with fresh nectar in them. Wish I knew the answer to this mystery.

Since I have provided nectar year-round for something like 11 years now, my place is definitely "on the map" for hummingbirds, with spring being peak season in my yard. This is the only time of year when the birds tolerate having company at the feeder and this last spring I had as many as 10 or more birds feeding from the same feeder at the same time. Once nesting season passes, though, one bird dominates and then it becomes a matter of his standing guard over the feeders all day long, divebombing any other birds that dare go near "his" feeders. That's just what the hummingbird in this photo is doing. Other birds at this point have to become opportunists, sneaking in under the radar as and when possible and at great peril of being severely beaten up. Oh what entertainment! It's just like being at the Colliseum!

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