In the past few weeks, we have been making more than a gallon of nectar each day and filling the three feeders several times a day. Two hang on hooks under the overhang on our front porch, and a third one on a shepherd’s crook in the yard, all visible from where we sit inside the house.
You would think that with so many places to perch and sip that there wouldn’t be any fighting over the space. But, that isn’t the case. One hummingbird may be perched, and soon another dives straight at it to frighten it away. Other times, we may see three or four sitting at each feeder with two or three more hovering nearby to take their turn. They are so accustomed to my husband replenishing the nectar that they fly around his head while he is serving up their next meal.
The wing speed of these little birds is amazing! According to the website: http://howtoenjoyhummingbirds.com/ (where you can see many videos about hummingbirds, including a momma feeding her babies) their wings may beat up to 80 times a second. Because their wings rotate in a circular motion, they can fly forward, backward, and even upside down! And, of course, they can hover in mid-air just like a helicopter.
Hummingbirds seem to like red, and their favorite feeder is the one that hangs by the hanging flower pot filled with red petunias.
Hummingbirds are very particular about their nectar and like it best when it is made with one part sugar to four parts water says the information on the website above. We usually make 6 cups of sugar to 24 cups of water (about what our biggest pot will hold), bring it to a boil to dissolve the sugar, add red coloring, and let it cool. They eagerly sip it up faster than you can imagine. They also poke their long, slender beaks into the center of flowers, but they will not drink the nectar unless it is at least 12% sugar. Now that’s what one might call being a finicky eater!
Right now, we are enjoying immensely watching them come and eat and well worth the sugar it takes to keep them stopping by. And, if you should spill red food coloring on your clothes while making nectar, just send a message to me, and I’ll ask my husband to tell you his laundry secrets for getting half a bottle of red coloring out of my favorite blouse!! (http://www.bagsandmorebypam.artfire.com)/