I am beginning to think spring, even though it is still quite a ways off here. One event I look forward to in spring is the return of the hummingbirds.
I had fun handstitching this Broomhandle Garden redwork pattern. It was designed in 1999 by Jackie Dodge at firstname.lastname@example.org. I haven't yet been able to find any evidence of it available on the internet.
In spring, we welcome the broad-tailed hummingbirds, a tiny 4" long. The Guide to Colorado Birds by Mary Taylor Gray has this to say: "The broadtail is the classic hummingbird of the Colorado high country, arriving in late April and early May, then departing the state by late September. While all hummingbirds make a whirring sound with their wings, only the male broadtail produces that distinctive buzz-bomb whine. Special tapered feathers at the tips of the wings create slots through which wind whistles when the bird flies, making that familiar trilling."
I fill the feeders once a day during the height of summer. If I'm out on my front porch and the feeder is empty, the hummers will hover around me, reminding me to get with it!
|My son Drew took this photo of a broadtail drinking from a feeder on our front porch.|
I have to take the feeders down at night because sugar water is much beloved by the black bears! If I forget, I find the feeder lying on the ground the next morning, often destroyed.
|Drew took a photo of this black bear right behind our home.|
"Like the bad boys of summer, Rufous Hummingbirds arrive in Colorado with a show of bravado, ready to take over the neighborhood bars and bully the locals. Once a rufous discovers a feeder, it moves in, drinking its fill then taking up a guard post nearby to keep away trespassers. Extremely aggressive, these copper-colored sprites will dive-bomb and drive off Broad-tailed Hummingbirds that may have used a feeder all summer. Watch for rufous hummers from mid-July to mid-September." It is amusing to watch such tiny birds be so aggressive!
Hummingbird Feeding Nectar1 quart tap water (distilled water removes too many naturally-occurring minerals)
1 cup sugar
(Red food coloring should NOT be added.)
1. Boil the sugar and water together to reduce the chance of bacteria and mold.
2. Allow to cool before pouring into the feeder. Only fill your feeder with enough sugar water to last, at the most, two or three days.
The mixture can be made ahead of time and stored for up to a week in the refrigerator.
Always discard any sugar solution in the feeder that has turned cloudy or contains black mold.
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