Friday, June 30, 2006

hummingbird feeder : How to woo a hummer in summer

Stories by
Anchorage Daily News

Published: June 11, 2006
Last Modified: June 11, 2006 at 04:52 AM

Want to encounter a hummer this summer? To increase your odds, hang a hummingbird feeder and plant the kinds of flowers they like.

As for feeders, go basic, said hummingbird researcher Stacy Jon Peterson of Eagle River.

"A lot of people will have fancy glass feeders with tubes and all this stuff. A feeder that has a lot of nooks and crannies can get a lot of mold growing in it, so I like simple ones."

Nectar ferments quickly, so feeders must be cleaned and fresh nectar added at least once a week -- in hot weather, every three days or so. When the nectar starts to look cloudy, it's time. If you see black spots, it's time too. That's mold.

To clean a feeder, go at it with hot water and a bottle brush. Do not use soap. Once a month or so, soak the feeder for an hour in a solution of a quarter-cup bleach and a gallon of water, then wash it thoroughly with hot water and a bottle brush and allow it to air-dry.

There's no reason to buy commercial nectars with additional vitamins and protein. It's a waste of money, Peterson explains on his Web site, Hummingbirds get their protein and other nutrients from eating bugs and spiders.

To make nectar, mix one part granulated sugar and four parts water -- a quarter cup to a whole cup makes plenty. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator for a week or two. Boiling helps the sugar dissolve faster but isn't necessary. It doesn't make the nectar last longer.

Never use artificial sweeteners. Never use honey. And definitely do not add red food coloring. Most feeders have red parts on them, and that's enough to attract birds.

Red dye hasn't been shown to cause cancer in hummingbirds, Peterson said. It has, however, caused cancer in mice in the kinds of concentrations used in some commercially made nectars.

Ants can be a problem if feeders are leaky. Some feeders come with ant guards. They can also be purchased as add-ons. Among home remedies found on the Internet is greasing the feeder hanger with petroleum jelly or vegetable oil. But Peterson said that's not a good idea because birds can get it on their feathers.

Bees can be troublesome, too. They apparently can't see red well but are attracted to yellow. If your feeder has yellow parts, take them off or paint them red.

Hummingbirds are fond of nasturtiums, fuchsia, salvia -- all kinds of flowers that produce good nectar. Lobelia, lilac, cosmos, bee balm, columbine, impatiens, hollyhock, petunias, nicotiana, geraniums, begonias.

"They tend to prefer reds, but they'll investigate any bright color," Peterson said. "It's interesting, though -- a lot of hybrid plants that we grow for beauty don't produce a nectar the hummingbirds eat."

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

hummingbird feeder : Use MSN Search and Win Prizes...Again!

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

MSN has loaded up the prize wagon again and is giving out free stuff to users of their search engine. A Few months ago they tried a similar contest that hast been an ongoing thing that most people have forgotten about, so to pump new life into the contest MSN has added all new prizes to their Search And Win Contest. Some of the new prizes include: Lots of gift certificates, travel vouchers, golf clubs, electronics and more. And just like last time the keywords you need to search for to trigger a chance to win are in the source code. I wonder if Nick from threadwatch's hack still works?

Here's the list:
charity, donation, fund raising, donate, donor, united way, volunteerism, peace corp, katrina, burberry, art, fine art, disaster relief, pilates, organic, conservation, preservation, historic preservation,, sierra club, bono, bill gates, bill and melinda gates, melinda gates, cartier, sotheby, caviar, food, wine, philanthropy, red cross, environment, foundation, homeless, philanthropic, volunteer , public television, tsunami, booster club, pta, school district, auction, fund raiser, jungle party, saint jude's, st. jude's, marlo thomas,, one world, net jets, mandarin oriental, french laundry, gucci, vertu, fine wine, port, bordeaux, burgundy, theaters, movie theaters, theatres, movie theatres, AMC, AMC theaters, movie listing, movie listings, top movies, top blockbusters, blockbusters, movie reviews, hollywood, summer blockbusters, box office, box office hit, Just my luck, popcorn, movie critics, fandango, jack black, will ferrell, luke wilson, owen wilson, Akeelah, V for vendetta, 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Posted by: Evan Roberts 10:47 AM

Thursday, June 22, 2006

hummingbird feeder : garden letters


Editor's Notebook

Steve is out of town, so this month's column was written by me, Bob the water turtle (glub). As a rather shy aquatic reptile, I'm usually content to let Steve do the talking, but one issue really steams my shell (glub, glub). Immersed as ( often am in pond scum, my world is mostly green. But you humans fait to notice a great way to jazz up a green landscape-summer-blooming native azaleas. Start with sweet azalea (Rhododendron arborescens), shown at left, with fragrant, white flowers sporting spidery, red stamens. Follow that with plumleaf azalea (R. prunifolium), which bears orange-red flowers in July and August. Finish with hammocksweet azalea (R. serrulatum); it flaunts fragrant, white flowers anytime from July to September. Order them from Woodlanders, (803) 648-7522 or order will be shipped in the fall.

Now, I know what you're thinking (glub): Turtles don't use the internet. Oh, really? Who do you think has been sending you all that spam? -BOB


Do you have any suggestions for landscaping to camouflage airconditioning linitS? SPRING TUCKER * WAXHAW, NORTH CAROLINA


Refrain from planting shrubs close to your AC units, because you'll need to maintain access for any future service. You also don't want to impede airflow. We suggest erecting a wood screen around the units. Wooden screen panels attached to treated 4x4 posts can be designed to be removed easily. These screen panels have spaces between slats to allow air to pass through. Place the screen at least 3 feet away from the AC units.

My yard was once a wooded area but has been cleared and sodded. Tree suckers keep sprouting through the lawn. How can I remove the buried tree stumps?



You can't-not without destroying the lawn you worked so hard on. Regular mowing should eventually exhaust the roots and end the sprouting. To hasten the process, cut the tops off the sprouts, and then paint the cut ends with triclopyr (Brush-B-Gon) or gtyphosate (Roundup), mixed according to label directions. You may have to do this more than once.

Are you supposed to cut off the flower spikes that appear on coleus? I think they look nice and would like to leave them on.



Whether you cut or leave them really boils down to a matter of taste. Some people don't like the spikes and think that they detract from the foliage. Others say the plants grow bushier when the spikes are removed. Ultimately, if you like the spikes, just leave them. After all, it's your garden.

My beautiful border of pink dianthus stays lush and green until August, but then patches turn brown and die. What can I do about this?



Dieback of dianthus is common in the South. The combination of summer heat, high humidity, and heavy, poorly drained soil often causes this favorite perennial to melt. To prevent this, choose a different spot to grow your dianthus next year. Plant in loose, well-drained sou where air can circulate freely, and choose selections that tolerate high heat and humidity such as 'Bewitched,' 'Bath's Pink,' and 'Firewitch.' (You can order them from Sunlight Gardens, 1-800-272-7396 or, or Forestfarm, (54!) 846-7269 or

I've discovered a great way to keep ants from traveling up the post holding my hummingbird feeder. I simply spray the post with vegetable cooking spray. The ants have given up trying to climb it. The feeder has been ant free for almost a month.



Tips of the Month are ideas readers say work for them. We do not test them. Submit tips on a postcard with your name, address, telephone number, and e-mai) address Io Garden Tips, Southern Living, P.O. Box 523, Birmingham, AL 35201 or by e-mail to For each tip published, you will receive a copy of the new Southern Living Garden Book.

Copyright Southern Progress Corporation Aug 2005
Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

hummingbird feeder : Furry encounters

By Mark Nale
For the CDT
We have had quite a week for wildlife in my household.

It started with running into a pair of baby raccoons while on one of our evening walks. The ring-tailed raccoons were not quite sure what to make of their first encounter with us two-legged mammals. They were curious, yet afraid, and definitely cute as they took turns attempting to hide under each other.

Of course, my daughter assumed that they were abandoned and wanted to take them home, while the rest of us insisted that it would be best if we left them alone. A compromise was reached, and we put some tuna out for them away from the highway, hoping for the best.

The following night, we were awakened by our dogs' barking. This happens dozens of times during the course of a year, and we get tired of turning on the spotlights, only to see nothing but the late-night forest that surrounds our house. Our dogs often have what we call "ghost barks." We quieted the dogs and went back to sleep thinking nothing more of it.

Vandalism was apparent the next morning. We noticed a large branch was broken off of one of our redbud trees and the bird feeder that had been attached to that limb was missing -- no ghosts this time. We had had a late night visitor -- a bear had knocked down every bird feeder, put them on a pile and proceeded to eat or lick whatever nourishment was available. All told, we lost two hummingbird feeders, two small suet feeders, a thistle seed tube feeder and an expensive metal and plastic squirrel-proof sunflower seed feeder. The squirrel-proof feeder had been well made, but it certainly was not bear-proof.

There was also evidence that the bruin had been rummaging around in our garage, but no damage was apparent. Later, 25 yards away from the house, I discovered a clear plastic pretzel tub that had been carried out of the garage. Apparently the bear had chewed it open to get the salt and the few crumbs that might have been inside. Two hanging flower baskets had also been toppled and a large potted Norfolk island pine was bent over.

I was not surprised that the bear would have been attracted to the old suet feeders. To be honest, they should have been taken down and cleaned in early April. However, the attraction to the hummingbird feeders did surprise me. Then I remembered that one of the nectar feeders had mysteriously "fallen" from its branch a few nights earlier in the week.

The hummingbirds (and the bear) had to do without nectar until our feeders were replaced two days later.

Our next animal activity was another raccoon. This time, a baby was disoriented and sitting along the side of the highway near where the other two young raccoons had been. One of its eyes was either missing or infected. It did not appear as if it had been hit with a car, but it did not run away, either. We decided to rescue this one in a sweatshirt and, without touching it, I carried it home. After calling the Game Commission, we drove it to the wildlife rehabilitator near Bellwood.

On our return trip from the rehabilitator, two baby raccoons were again along the side of the highway in the same area as before. Fortunately they scampered away. Following their direction of travel, I was able to spot a large hollow tree about 35 yards off the highway, most likely their den.

Our week-long animal encounters were yet to be over. That night, Sage, one of our Shelties, jumped up on our bed to huddle between my wife and me, and started a low growl. Then we heard a noise right outside of our bedroom. It was 1:15 a.m., about the same time of night that we had been previously awakened, but had not looked outside.

My wife looked out the window as I flipped on the rear floodlights. Just a few feet from our house, standing on its hind legs, was a bear pawing at the newly-hung hummingbird feeder in our injured redbud tree. She yelled (rather loudly), "It's a bear -- a big bear," and the medium-sized bear splashed through our small water garden, across a flowerbed, between two rhododendron bushes and took off into the woods. Any bear looks pretty big when it's only seven feet away.

We took the nectar feeders down at dusk the following night, but just as we were settling down for the night we heard a loud bang outside. After I took a few seconds to process the sound, I recognized it as the metal lid from the 30-gallon can where we store birdseed on our elevated deck.

I fully expected to see a bear on our deck when I flipped on the lights, but instead they were furry masked bandits -- three raccoons, two adults and a youngster, had popped the lid off the can and were helping themselves to the sunflower seeds. That probably had not been their first visit, either.

Several days before that, we had come down in the morning to see the lid lying on the deck and about 8 squirrels "fighting" over the chance to eat out of the can. I had assumed that a family member -- not me, of course -- had carelessly left the lid loose on top.

We have been invader-free the past few nights and hopefully removing the suet, taking in the hummingbird feeders at night and closing the garage door will discourage the bear from returning. Having a bear in the backyard does not frighten us, but it does -- and should -- make us a little more cautious before we step out the door after dark or let the dogs out for their before-bed "business."

The Game Commission puts out a news release each spring about how to avoid creating nuisance bears. Mark Ternent, bear biologist for the PGC has the following advice for homeowners wishing to avoid bear encounters:

"Now is the time to keep bears from becoming a nuisance later in the summer," Ternent said. "Bears that wander near residential areas in search of food are less likely to stay or return if they do not find anything rewarding. Conversely, if bears find food in your backyard, they quickly learn to associate residential areas with food and begin to spend more time in those areas.

"The best solution is to prevent bears from finding food at your house in the first place," Ternent continued. "Food placed outside for any reason -- whether it is food for wildlife, pets or unsecured garbage -- is food available for bears. Homeowners should remove any source of food or make it unavailable to bears."

Food placed outside for pets or wildlife, such as corn for squirrels, might attract bears, also. Even bird feeders, as we learned, can become bear feeders.

According to Audubon Pennsylvania, feeding birds during the winter months is fine, but at other times of the year you run the risk of attracting problem bears. If you do choose to feed songbirds during the summer, avoid foods that are particularly attractive for bears, such as sunflower seeds, hummingbird nectar mixes or suet. Bring feeders inside at night or suspend feeders from high crosswires, so they are at least 10 feet above the ground and away from over-hanging branches.

It should be noted that a regulation prohibiting the feeding of bears went into effect in 2003. The regulation made it unlawful to intentionally "lay or place food, fruit, hay, grain, chemical, salt or other minerals that may cause bears to congregate or habituate an area."

According to the commission, the intent of this regulation is to reduce human-bear conflicts, not to put a stop to other wildlife feeding or songbird feeding. However, the regulation enables PGC Wildlife Conservation Officers to issue written notices that direct landowners to discontinue songbird and/or other wildlife feeding if bears are being attracted to the area and causing a problem.

We have a population of about 15,000 bears in the Keystone State. Ternent noted that, although they are not strangers to Pennsylvanians, bears are often misunderstood.

Outside noises should be checked, but do not do it on foot with a flashlight. Black bears blend in too well with nighttime surroundings, providing the chance for an unwanted close encounter. Instead, do it cautiously, using outside lights to full advantage and from a safe position, such as an elevated porch or an upstairs window.

"Bears needn't be feared, nor should they be dismissed as harmless. They simply need to be respected," Ternent said.

He stressed that, in the past 25 years, fewer than 15 people have been injured by bears in Pennsylvania. More importantly, there are no known records of a Pennsylvania black bear killing a human.


Mark Nale, who lives in the Bald Eagle Valley, is a biology teacher and member of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers Association. He can be reached at

Sunday, June 11, 2006

hummingbird feeder : What Gift Can I Give A Bird Lover This Christmas?

Choosing gifts for any animal lovers can be quite a pleasure, as it is often a gift that is shared by the recipient with her animal friends or pets. This is especially so with bird lover gifts. People who really love birds tend to want them to enhance their gardens, to encourage ...

by Roy Thomsitt

Choosing gifts for any animal lovers can be quite a pleasure, as it is often a gift that is shared by the recipient with her animal friends or pets. This is especially so with bird lover gifts. People who really love birds tend to want them to enhance their gardens, to encourage real wild birds to visit time and again, or even stay for the breeding season.

A gift for a bird lover can therefore be a gift of life, a promotion of nature around the home, visible from the windows or while tending the garden. Encouraging wild birds to their gardens is something that millions do in the northern hemisphere, especially in the winter when many wild birds suffer from food shortages.

At Christmas, cards are commonly adorned by robins, their red breasts contrasting so vividly with the white snow. But that pretty picture can be deceiving, with the harshness of winter depriving the robin and other resident birds of the sustenance and warmth they need to survive until spring. It is that threat that brings out the best in bird lovers through those winter months.

It is not just winter, though, that encourages true bird lovers to think about the birds. In the summer, too, many Americans and Britons have taken to encouraging birds to nest in their gardens or on their homes.

What Gifts Can You Choose For A Bird Lover?

Christmas comes as the coldest of winter approaches, so if you know someone who cares for the wild birds, it can be a good time to buy a bird gift that will help them with their feeding of the birds in their garden. This will not only help the regular bird visitors to their garden, but encourage new visitors too. Sometimes in the worst winters, some rarer birds may give lots of pleasure and excitement to the garden's owner as they come seeking food and shelter.

If you are not a bird lover yourself, and are not sure of the sort of things you can buy as a gift, here are a few ideas for you:

Bird Feeders

Bird feeders can be the winter saviour for many birds in a cold winter. This is especially true with small birds, who have to eat continually from dawn to dusk to survive the night. Those nuts that are put out in a simple nut feeder could save those birds lives on many a night when there is frost and snow around.

The variety of bird feeders is very wide nowadays. Window feeders have been around a long time, but they too have grown in the variety available since the first plastic versions appeared a few decades ago. In more recent years, some very decorative, and attractive feeders have been created, and there is a wide choice of these available now as gifts for your bird lover friends and relatives.

Remember also that you can get feeders that are for particular species of bird. You will find feeders for bluebirds, hummingbirds, orioles and other beautiful birds.

Should you decide to buy a bird feeder as a Christmas gift, it may be a nice touch too if you added a supply of an appropriate bird food. That could mean the happy bird lover setting the feeder up Christmas morning, and having some very special feathered visitors for Christmas lunch. And I'm not talking about the turkey!

Bird Houses or Nest Boxes

If you want to brighten up Christmas by looking ahead to spring, then you will find another range of bird lover gifts with bird houses, or nest boxes as they are more commonly called in the UK. While bird houses may not be used until spring and summer for nesting, there are two good reasons for setting them up early.

Firstly, some birds will use them as shelter in bad weather, so again, this is a gift that could be a life saver. Secondly, house prospecting amongst birds can go on long before nesting. If the bird house goes up in December, you can bet that this new piece of prime real estate will be eyed by many a bird passing through the garden or by the house.

Bird houses make for quite an exciting gift for bird lovers, as the gift will bring lots of pleasures once the first birds use it for nesting. It is also a great way to teach children about birds as they watch the parents building the nest, the laying of the eggs, the hatching of the nestlings, and then the feeding of the young before their departure. A real pleasure for bird lovers young and old alike.

About The Author:
This bird lover gift article was written by Roy Thomsitt, owner and author of and

Copyright Roy Thomsitt -

hummingbird feeder : What is the Right Plant and Where Do I Put It?

Know if your plants are disease-susceptible. Your choice of plants used in your garden is as important as the soil that you put those plants in. Select plants that are disease resistant and they will...

by James Ellison

Know if your plants are disease-susceptible. Your choice of plants used in your garden is as important as the soil that you put those plants in. Select plants that are disease resistant and they will be much more easy to maintain and will give you the look you are wanting. Food for thought is use plants that are native to your area.

The experience you get will tell you which are the troublesome plants. Obtain your plants from reliable sources and ask those people for their suggestions. They should be happy to help you because of return sales. The local cooperative extension service should provide much needed info for you. Some catalogs will list disease resistance plants.

Experience will eventually tell you which plant diseases are most troublesome in your region. Your local nursery and cooperative extension service are also good sources for information on local diseases and disease-resistant plants. Seed and nursery catalogs often list disease resistance in plant descriptions.

There are resistant varieties that exist for such diseases as apple scab, armillaria root rot, bean mosaic virus, blueberry mummyberry, cherry viruses, juniper tips and twig blights, lilac bacterial blight, powdery mildew, pea enation mosaic virus, potato scab, black spot, rust, tomato fusarium and root-knot nematode, fireblight, verticillium wilt, and other diseases.

What does the wrong exposure do to your plants? Take a long look at the conditions you have in your garden and choose your plants accordingly. Plants are usually clearly marked whether they prefer sun, partial shade or complete shade.

Shade plants grown in sun turn yellowish and grow poorly. They will get a sunburn which will develope dead spots on their leaves. Avoid south or west exposure. The sun lovers are often stunted and spindly when grown in the shade. If they grow at all, they are usually weak looking and have few leaves. Reduced flowering on many plants may result from shade placement.

Use water conservation landscaping whenever you can. Most gardeners in drought climates have come to realize the importance of water conservation.But in areas where water is plentiful, however, waste in the garden is way too common. We take our water supply for granted by wasting more than we ever need and in many areas, more groundwater is pumped than nature can replace through precipitation and runoff.

Why not use drought-tolerant plants. These plants grow well with little water once they are established. Mulch every plant you have.

Some grass species need less water than others, but lawns generally need a large amount of water to stay green and growing. If you replace the grass with drought-tolerant ground covers or flowers you'll save a large amount of water and even - money. If you can click here to read a funny story that hits the nail on head for what I am saying here.

Probably your favorite plants will have high water requirements. By grouping and mulching these plants allows you to irrigate them together, thus reducing water waste.

What about fruit-pollination requirements! Many beginning gardeners are confused when their fruit trees fail to bear fruit. Could be a pollination problem.

Certain types of trees produce bigger and more abundant fruit with cross-pollination between different cultivars. The others, cross-pollinating is mandatory to get any fruit at all.

Learn a fruit's pollination requirements before planting. If your space is limited, pick a self-pollinating fruit, such as European-type plums or almost any of the peach cultivars.

Pollination will not happen without insects, butterflies or hummingbirds. When chemical pesticides are routinely used by a neighbor or yourself, the honeybees and other pollinating insects can be reduced so that fruit production suffers. Go organic.

About The Author

James Ellison makes it easy for you to understand picking plants and knowing where to put them. If you need to know more about organic gardening visit:

Copyright James Ellison -

Thursday, June 08, 2006

humming feeder: Attracting Wild Birds

As more land is used to accommodate the ever-growing human population, yards and city parks become important bird habitat. Diversified landscaping and feeding stations offer an oasis of resources in ...

by Paul Duxbury 8

As more land is used to accommodate the ever-growing human population, yards and city parks become important bird habitat. Diversified landscaping and feeding stations offer an oasis of resources in the middle of human domain. Feeding and watching birds gives families the opportunity to practice conservation right in their own yards. Children can learn and enjoy the wonders of nature right from the kitchen window. Children will be able to observe the hatching of young chicks and learn how many birds help control the insect population.

One fun aspect of feeding birds is learning what birds are visiting your backyard habitat. There are several good identification field guides such as National Geographic, Peterson's East & West and Birds of North America through which the wild birds can be identified. Birds are grouped by physical characteristics. It is fairly easy to distinguish a duck from a songbird by just looking at body shape and size, as well as the beak and feet shapes. These physical characteristics will help identify birds: size, body shape, colors, markings, beak shape, feet and wing shape in flight. Birds have a variety of calls. Good listeners can learn to tell the difference between "chickadee" and "cheerily - cheerio - cheeriup" calls of the Black-capped Chickadee and the American Robin. The most important element is the type of food offered to the wild birds. The widest variety of food sources ensures the widest variety of birds. Ensure that your bird feeder is kept clean. Old, moldy seed left in the feeder will not attract wild birds. Not only is the food type important, but the time period you feed and the consistency of feeding is very important as well.

Many people will only feed the birds in the winter months, which is when they need it most, however, by feeding throughout the spring and summer months you will attract the migratory birds returning from southern climates. In addition, by feeding in the spring and summer, parenting birds will have easy access to a food source for their young. Food like seeds, protein rich insects and worms, flies; birds love mosquitoes, spiders, aphids and ants. Do not kill all the bugs in your yard if you want birds. Flowers, shrubs and trees will encourage a rich insect life in your yard that will, in turn, provide necessary food for wild birds. If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden, this can be accomplished in several ways. If you plant honeysuckle, common lilac (with purple flowers), red geraniums, nasturtium, red petunias, red salvia, coral bells, columbine, fuchsia and even scarlet runner beans, there is a good chance that you will see hummingbirds feeding among your flowers. Fresh, clean water made available year round is an important element of attracting wild birds.

The simplest and most readily available is a shallow birdbath. Birdbaths can be kept thawed even in winter by a birdbath heater. Most garden birds like a water source far enough from surrounding vegetation to offer surveillance against a surprise attack from squirrels, rats, big birds. If there is water falling or dripping making sound this will attract birds even more towards the backyard. Birds are dependent on flight for safety; they are most vulnerable when they are "grounded" to rest, feed or nest. To a bird, protection means staying both comfortable and safe. Again, a wide variety of plant vegetation and trees will find the best range of habitat for birds. The selection of plants and their arrangement in the landscape are important in making a bird feel at home. Protection from cold winds and driving rain allow birds to maintain body heat, and keep healthy. Birds that are exposed to cold, wet and windy weather are very vulnerable to exposure and resulting death. Without protective cover near by, wild birds will not frequent bird feeders even if they are the best feeders with the most desirable seed. Build nest and bird houses for birds to raise their families and provide them with shelter. When the birds will feel that there is a shelter provided to take care of the baby birds they will build their natural nests and start living and heave their family. If you specially want to attract humming birds then take care that your feeders are full because they will begin moving south as early as July but it will take several months for the birds to begin to reach the southern U.S. and they can use your feeders during the trip. They eat lots of protein in their diets too and that doesn't come from sugar feeders and they need insects too. It is important to leave your feeders up and full. Migrating birds need all the quick and easy nourishment they can find to sustain the incredible energy demands of migration. It is vital that hummingbirds fatten up for their extended trips, particularly those crossing the Gulf of Mexico. For several weeks after your regular summer hummingbirds have left your flowers and feeders, migrating birds could be quickly passing through your gardens unnoticed. Leaving your feeders up for at least three weeks after seeing your last hummingbird feeder is essential.

About The Author

Paul Duxbury is Head of Training for a major UK Charitable Organisation with a wealth of experience in personal development, management development, e-learning and operational management. In addition he owns PK eBooks ( and has just published a series of Bird Watching eBooks which can be found at

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

hummingbird feeder: About Hummingbirds and How to Attract Them to Your Garden

Visualize watching a bright green hummingbird in your garden moving from flower to flower in search of the tasty nectar within. These beautiful and tiny birds weigh about 2 to 20 grams and are found...

by Lesley Dietschy

Visualize watching a bright green hummingbird in your garden moving from flower to flower in search of the tasty nectar within. These beautiful and tiny birds weigh about 2 to 20 grams and are found in a wide variety of environments from the high Andes to lowlands, and from dry desert areas to rainforests. They have slender beaks, extensible tongues, ten primary feathers, and tiny feet suitable for perching but not walking.

Hummingbirds can fly straight up, straight down, backwards, left, right, and even upside down. While most birds obtain their flight strength only from the down stroke, hummingbirds have power on the up stroke as well.

Most hummingbirds flap their wings about fifty times a second and have a very fast heartbeat and high body temperature. They feed every ten minutes or so throughout the day and typically consume two-thirds of their body weight in a single day. Their source of nutrition is primarily nectar from flowers, as well as sources of protein from insects and tiny spiders.

The key to attracting hummingbirds to your garden mainly consists of the right type of flowers and places where they can perch and rest during the day, such as trees or large plants. Hummingbirds are guided by visual means and are particularly attracted to certain shades of red. According to The Hummingbird Society, there are several possible explanations for their preference of red blossoms. Given that insects also see nectar, they can be regarded as competitors. Nearly all insects see well in the visible and near-ultraviolet light but poorly in the red end of the spectrum. Also, a red blossom may appear nearly black and unattractive to a number of insects, but not to the hummingbird, which can see the full visible spectrum but also some in the ultraviolet. This makes it less likely that an insect has taken nectar from a red flower. Another likely explanation is that during migration, red blossoms effectively contrast with a green environment more than other colored flowers do.

Hummingbirds are welcomed guests to nearly all gardens. By planting flowering shrubs and plants that are their favored food source, we can easily attract them to become regular visitors to our gardens. Below is a short list of their preferred flowering plants by common name, separated by region:

Southeastern United States:

Butterfly Bush

Cardinal Flower

Coral or Trumpet Honeysuckle

Cypress Vine

Native Trumpet Creeper

Texas Sage

Southwest United States:

Indian Paintbrush


Lily of the Nile

Mexican Honeysuckle

Texas Sage

Western Coral Bean

West Coast United States:


Bottle Brush

Cape Fuchsia



Woodland Orchard

Northeastern United States:

Blue Lobelia

Cardinal Flower


Red Morning Glory


Scarlet Sage

Midwest United States:

Coral Bells

Coral Honeysuckle





Even though flowers are the natural means to attract hummingbirds to your garden, man-made feeders filled with a mixture of water and sugar (sucrose) are an essential alternative. Sugar, whether from a flower or a feeder, is a necessary nutrient in a hummingbird's diet. Tests have shown that hummingbirds favor sucrose in flower nectar more than other sugars such as fructose and glucose. Therefore, with the proper ratio of ingredients, your feeder becomes a good substitute to the flowers that hummingbirds like best.

The formula for the mixture used in hummingbird feeders is 4 parts water (not distilled) to 1 part table sugar. Boil the mixture for one to two minutes, then cool and store in refrigerator. The mixture can be stored in the refrigerator for up to one week. Do not use red food coloring, honey, or artificial sweeteners in your mixture, as this could be harmful to the hummingbirds.

If one of your goals is to attract hummingbirds feeding to your garden, a visit to your local nursery is a great starting point. Find an experienced employee who can tell you which species of plants grow well in your area and have a history of successfully attracting hummingbirds. Most importantly, be imaginative and have fun planting and growing your garden to attract beautiful hummingbirds.

About The Author

Copyright 2005, Lesley Dietschy, All rights reserved.

Lesley Dietschy is the creator/editor of The Home Decor Exchange, a popular home decor, garden decor, and home improvement website. Please visit the website for hundreds of resources, articles, ideas, tips, free projects, and much more. The website also has a unique Gallery and Consignment shop featuring Pine Needle Baskets and Gourd Art.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

hummingbird feeder: MARCUS SCHNECK

Monday, June 05, 2006
A reader asks, "What can I do to attract hummingbirds into my backyard? I see them passing through, but they don't seem to pause here at all."

In the midstate, by this point in the year, hummingbirds have returned and have pretty much set up their territories.

According to Dan Brauning, chief of the Pennsylvania Game Commission's Wildlife Diversity Section, hummingbirds began to trickle out of their wintering grounds in Central and South America in April. They flew nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico, and then flitted from flowerbed to feeder to flowerbed through the South, working their way north to their nesting grounds. They began to show up in Pennsylvania in late April and early May.

However, there is still much you can do to tap into the population of ruby-throated hummingbirds -- the only ones regularly found in Pennsylvania or east of the Mississippi River -- already in your neighborhood.

It all starts with a basic hummingbird feeder.

"As long as the feeder is noticeable, filled with relatively fresh nectar or sugar water, and hummingbirds have returned from their wintering grounds, there's always a good chance that it will attract hummingbirds," Brauning said.

"It doesn't hurt to window-dress your rock gardens or flowerbeds with plants that hummingbirds seek out. But the feeder is your first and best shot to attract early hummingbirds."

Some favorite hummer plants are trumpet vine, beebalm, red salvia, coral bells, honeysuckle, gladiolus, jasmine, begonias, scarlet morning glory, fuchsias, morning glory, paintbrush, petunias, trumpet-creeper, columbine, mimosa, rose-of-sharon, black locust, horse chestnut and sweetgum.

Color is the key for hummingbirds to stop in your yard, particularly vibrant reds, oranges and yellows, even pinks and purples.

Hummingbird feeders usually have red and yellow parts for flagging that get the job done.

hummingbird feeder: Ants' antics, both olfactive and acrobatic

Jun. 6, 2006 12:00 AM

Today's question:

I hung up a hummingbird feeder from a wire 6 feet off the ground on our back porch. Please tell me how in the world ants know it's there. They climb up the wooden post and out over the wire to it. Do they smell it?

Yes, as a matter of fact, they do. advertisement

Ants have very poor eyesight, but they have a pretty good sense of smell. And they are pretty much always looking for something to eat. The foragers spread out all over the neighborhood of their nest looking for food, so it's not too surprising that sooner or later they come across a juicy treat like your hummingbird feeder.

Ants put down a chemical trail as they go along so they can find their way home. And if they do find food, they lay down a stronger chemical trail on their way back to the nest. Then they release a certain pheromone that lets their ant buddies know about the food, and they all follow the trail back to the eats.

You can buy feeders that have an ant moat to fill with water so the ants fall in and drown before they get to the nectar.

Or you can do this: Take one of those little 35mm film containers or the cap of a spray can, poke a hole in the bottom and string the feeders' wire through it with a knot to keep it in place. Then coat the inside with petroleum jelly. Be careful not to leave any petroleum jelly on the edge where birds might get it in their feathers.

And we have another hummingbird query.

How long is a hummingbird's tongue?

A hummingbird's tongue is about twice the length of its beak. That would make it about 1.5 inches, depending on what kind of hummingbird you are talking about.

A lot of people think hummingbirds' tongues are hollow and they use them like a straw to suck up nectar. That's not the case.

Hummingbirds have pretty interesting tongues, and they use them to lap up their food, taking about 12 licks per second.

A hummingbird's tongue has a brushy tip and a groove on either side that helps it suck up nectar and channel it to the mouth.

The end of the tongue is forked, and when not in use the tongue wraps under the jaw, behind and over the head and connects to the skull with something called the hyoid apparatus.

And the middle part of the tongue is stretchy so it can expand.

All in all, it's pretty dandy thing.

Reach Thompson at or (602) 444-8612.