Friday, September 2, 2011

Hummingbirds duels

As I sit in front of my computer this morning, I am being entertained by what is going on outside my window.  A duel of sorts.  Let me explain...
I enjoy feeding the birds as well as gardening.  Every year, I put out my two hummingbird feeders.  This year had a slow start.  Where were the hummingbirds?  The food would sit and no birds came.  This was odd.  I always have hummingbirds.  As summer has progressed, the birds have found my feeders once again and I have regular visitors.  Two feeders with more than two hummingbirds is where the dueling comes in. 
Prior to beginning to feed them, I had not known how territorial hummingbirds are.  It is comical to watch one sit on or near the feeder with a watchful eye out for a competitor.  As soon as one comes near, the chase is on.  I can look out my window and see two birds zipping by.  And noisy!  I could hear them across the street going at it earlier this week.
It has been extremely dry here in central Illinois this summer, so I think that my hummingbirds are appreciative of the constant supply of food.  It has been a difficult year to keep plants alive and blooming.  Perhaps dying flowers have made them more dependent on the feeders.  With the high heat, the sugar water can go bad quickly, and it is important to keep fresh food in the feeders and wash the feeders well.  Mold likes to try to grow if you aren't careful.  The food is very easy to make.  There is no need to buy the more expensive red tinted food at the store.  Here is the recipe that I use:

Hummingbird food
Four parts water, boiled
One part sugar

For example, this morning I boiled two cups water and then added 1/2 cup sugar.  Stir to mix.  Once the sugar water has cooled, I pour it in clean feeders.  The food does not have to be red.  I read once that putting red food coloring in the food can be harmful to the birds.


charlie b. said...

Hummingbirds are such fun to watch! I find they’re pretty shy when they first arrive. We have a feeder on our front porch, and in the beginning of the summer, they fly away and won’t stop if you’re sitting there. By mid summer, they're defending their feeder and aren’t shy anymore. On more than one occasion, they’ve flown up and hovered right in front of me and even my dog... just looking - it’s as if they were curious or something. Funny!

I make my sugar-water food the same way, and also use it in the oriole feeder. Like your blog, btw – I found it and have started following. : )

Peggy said...

Thanks, Charlie...I started following yours as well. :)

HolleyGarden said...

They are so territorial! I placed more feeders out than hummingbirds - just to see what would happen. They still fight! I think if these birds weren't so small, no one would like them!

Peggy said...

Holley, that is a something that I hadn't thought of before, but you are right! :)

YeagerFarm said...

Hi, from East Texas! I found your blog a few weeks ago and been following it ever since! I have to agree with you about the hummers-I love siting on the back porch in the afternoons after I get in from work and just watch them fighting over 3 feeders-hubby says we had a total of 8 one day last week!

Peggy said...

Yeager Farm, thanks for following my blog. :) I hope you all can get some more rain there in TX soon. It is dry here, but not nearly the severity I have been hearing about there.