Guess who came to dinner? Well, last night I got home from work a bit earlier than usual (light traffic in Houston rush hour, a rarity) and I heard something at the back door. I pulled the curtain back and lo and behold, there was a Hummingbird, apparently curious about his reflection in the glass of the back door.
He was small, as hummers are, and brightly colored (as the males are). He was so small, I almost thought it was a big moth but then, with the window acting almost as a one way mirror, I was able to stand there and watch him come very close. It was pretty neat.
It was a pleasant sight, and a good harbinger that Spring is finally here (though you might be so sure here lately, it got down to 46 degrees last night!). I know those of you in the rest of the country/world might laugh if you are still experiencing "Winter", but 40's for Houston in April is not that common. But I digress.
The little guy flitted around for a good 5 minutes before disappearing over the fence. Sadly, I haven't yet put out my hummingbird feeder, but I'm working on that this weekend. For the last several years, I have been making my own hummingbird nectar. It's much cheaper, very rewarding, and best of all, it's better for the birds than the stuff with the red dye in it.
Here is the recipe I use every year:
1 Part Sugar
4 Parts Water
This means if you use cups, just use 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.
This ratio is closest to what is found in nature.
Bring the water to a boil, add sugar and stir until dissolved. Boil for just a minute or so, this gets out the impurities that might be in the sugar and takes the chlorine out of the tap water as well.
Don't over boil, this could change the ratio if too much water evaporates.
Fill your feeders and store the rest in the fridge for 2 weeks.
OK, you may be wondering, "doesn't it need to be red??" It's always red when you buy the powder?
Generally, any feeder you get will have red color on it to attract hummingbirds. Usually the feeder portion will be red. There is evidence that the red dye that is used in commercial hummer food might actually be dangerous for the birds. They don't need it in their diet, no extra "stuff" necessary.
So get out there and feed our beautiful little friends. I call them the "jewels of the garden". It's rare for me to see them in Houston, especially in downtown Houston. I hope to one day have them by the dozens out at the farm. I have some blown glass ball hummingbird feeders that I've been saving for the right occasion. The feeding tubes broke somewhere along the way, but they sell them at Amazon of course.
For further info on Hummingbirds, visit the following sites: