This Week's View|
by Deanna Lee Birkholm
March 3rd, 2008
Archive of Ladyfisher Articles
Fred showed up. A day early, but I'm sure male hummingbirds
don't keep much track of when Leap Day occurs. We have no
proof of course that the bird peering in our back sliding
door is Fred. On the other hand, we don't have any proof
he isn't either. And he showed up on time, again.
We do know he expected the hummingbird feeder to be in place.
He hovered exactly where it is (now) and then came back to
the door. The message could not have been any clearer. JC
headed out the garage door to grab the wrought iron Shepard's
crook which was stored in the garage for the winter. I headed
for the kitchen. It took less than five minutes to have the
syrup made up. It went outside to cool and then into the feeder.
I must say we sure work well together.
Here's the recipe for the syrup, this is one from our local
'bird lady' who has a weekly column in the local paper.
She recommends using a 'sweeter' mix for the first month the
birds come back and then cutting the sugar back for the rest
of the season. The idea is the birds are weakened after their
long trip and need the extra to help them build their strength
back up. We start out with onethird of a cup of sugar and
fill the cup to the one cup mark with hot water. Then put
in the micro wave for two minutes. This dissolves the sugar
and brings it to a boil, which will help keep it from going
sour. If you see your syrup getting cloudy in the feeder,
throw the syrup away, and wash the feeder. (We rinse ours
with bleach to kill any possible mold too.) After the first
month, cut the sugar back to one quarter cup. Also, do NOT
use any food coloring in your feeders. It is not good for
the birds and they already found the feeder so they don't
need color for an attractant, right?
We did put up a "Fred stick." I know, we just have to name
things. Hummingbirds want to have an observation point.
It can be a bush or high in a tree, but a place where they
can see their food source and I suppose protect it. The
local birds seem to like the natural bamboo growing in
the yard we use for stakes too.
Hummingbirds are an absolute wonderment. One of Gods greatest
hits in our household. We don't have as many Hummers as we did in
Montana. We lived on Flathead Lake, and there were several
cherry orchards in the area. We had three feeders and had
to refill them a couple times a day.
Right at dusk the hummers would be stacked up waiting for a
place to feed. A marvelous thing to see. We have a few
books on the hummers, but still know so very little about
Neil Travis, who writes the From a Journal By...column
here, spends part of his time in Arizona volunteering for
banding of the migrating hummingbirds. Considering the
size of those birds, what a job that must be. Perhaps we
can talk him into telling us about it.
The day after Fred showed up, JC came in from outside and
commented he had heard a frog. We have several kinds of
frogs here, including some who take refuge along the top
(inside) of our hot tub. Tree frogs? The color is
outstanding too it changes.
Hope you have enjoyed a little of our spring here on the
West Coast. If you have any tales you would like to share,
drop me an email. ~ The LadyFisher
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