Hummingbird Love

Gardening Tips

By Sandy Swegel

We, humans, are crazy in love with hummingbirds. I received so many emails and messages about hummingbirds this week, I have to pass on the things I’m learning.

Spring migration is happening all over the US and there are hundreds of citizen scientists who report their sightings. You can check your area to see if Ruby-throated hummingbirds have arrived.  This week they are showing up in Canada and at higher elevations. Hummingbirds showed up in Colorado about three weeks ago.

I learned we should keep an eye out for hummingbird nests. They are so tiny. The eggs are the size of jellybeans. The Denver Post newspaper had a whole article on how to recognize the nests so you don’t hurt the eggs when you are doing spring pruning.

Most hummingbird lovers find one feeder isn’t nearly enough. You should have more than one feeder so the birds don’t have to fight over it. Or a big feeder with multiple feeding stations. Some people go totally crazy and fill their yard with feeders. Sugar water isn’t the only food hummingbirds rely on in spring. They eat lots of nectar from flowers, pollen, bugs including mosquitoes, and even tree sap. But their metabolism is so high, they need to eat constantly.

The most important thing I learned about hummingbirds this week is that you have to wash out the feeders and change the water every few days. Old sugar-water grows mold which can kill the hummingbirds. Our neighborhood feeders get drained pretty quickly…but it’s still a good idea to rinse the feeder with vinegar water before refilling.

The most fun hummingbird thing I did this week was watching YouTube videos on hummingbird babies. Cuteness overload. I have quite a few flowers planted that hummingbirds like, but now I see that I need some feeders outside the window by the breakfast table!

The oddest thing I did for hummingbirds this week is to buy a new garden hat. My old hat was a bright orange-pink color, and hummingbirds would dive bomb my head thinking I guess that I was a big flower. I have a more subdued lavender hat now…and so far I’m safe.

I recommend highly putting up a few feeders yourself so you can enjoy the show!

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