Tag Archives: feeders

War of the Sugarwater

Every evening, about 20 or more hummingbirds gather in my backyard for an evening meal.

And you would think that with 6 feeders, there would be enough for everyone to share and be happy (I added a new, 32 oz. 6 port one today).

But no. Hummingbirds are little bullies.
They’ll spend their precious energy defending the feeders from the rest of the hummingbirds.
The little meanies are also chasing off my poor little chickadees who aren’t bothering a soul and even the sparrows are afraid of them!

The air if filled with the tiny sounds of  chattering, fussing and buzzing and the small sounds of tiny bodies crashing into each other. It’s surprising how noisy these little guys are!

It’s a wonder the feeders are emptied at all but, somehow, they mange to do it and quickly!
I just refilled them all today with fresh homemade syrup and by Saturday, they’ll be empty again.
There may be more than 20 birds~ but it’s hard to count them while they are racing around the yard in hot pursuit of each other!

Steve and I will sit on the back porch and watch them. This is our view from my table. I have two feeders hanging off each corner of the roof.
The birds will chase each other between them, buzzing by our heads as if we weren’t there.
One nearly crashed into Steve yesterday, stopping about a foot from his face.

The nights are getting cooler and they are gathering in preparation to migrate south.
They are building energy as fast as they can before they go.
I used to take my feeders down with the first frost- to encourage the hummers to move on and not hang around and freeze. But I just learned from a person who rehabilitates birds, specializing in hummingbirds, that this is a myth. The little birds know when to go and wont hang around because of easy food. But, by leaving your feeder up as long as you can into fall, you will be helping stragglers make it through their journey by providing them with a little extra food and energy.
And now is a good idea to make the syrup more concentrated to give them that extra boost. Change the ratio to 3 parts water to 1 part sugar.

All in all, Bullies or not, the littler humming bird is one of my favorites.

Baby Toes Flower Bud?

I have this little pot of Baby Toes that has spent the later part of the summer on my back porch table. It’s had plenty of filtered sunlight and warm humid conditions (well at least until recently) and probably a little more water than it needs with all rain we’ve been having….

Fenestraria rhopalophylla subsp. aurantiaca

Recently I’ve noticed some new growth.
I thought, “Oh good, it’s thickening up”,
but these new sprouts kept getting longer and longer,
finally forming what looks like a flower bud at the end of one stalk.
alien pod…..?
I’m curious and excited now, to see the flower~
similar to an aster, in size and shape,
it’s rays in colors from white to yellow to orange,
with a yellow center. It will be my first in real life and not a picture.
Has anyone grown one of these? Have you ever had if flower for you?
As for the rest of the garden, it’s winding down.
I froze a bunch of tomatoes, peppers and green beans, gathered zucchini, kale and swiss chard, ate most of the strawberries and raspberries before they made it into the house… okay, I did share a few of them with the family…  and I even gave Annie a few green beans as a reward for not devouring the garden this year.
The flowerbed is still going though, with it’s fall lineup coming in now.
The Zinnias are going strong… though the only colors are hot pink and red… but that’s okay. They are beautiful anyway.
I had read that Nasturiums helped repel squash borer from Zucchini plants, a problem I’ve had in the past, so I had planted a few around mine this year. Well the Zucchini took over as usual and I thought the Nasturtiums had died out from lack out light.
To my delight, I found them poking out from under the giant leaves this afternoon.
These are the ‘Alaska’ mix. I love their variegated leaves. Did you know you can eat them? They have a very peppery taste and you can add them to salads, though I usually don’t eat them.
I’m just content to watch them grow.
Oh, and as of yet, no sign of squash borers.
Here’s a few more flowers
cleome or spider flower
Rudbeckia ~ black eyed susans
sedum or stone crop or what my father in-law calls them, “no kill ’ems!”
Rudbeckia close up
This is a cardinal vine flower growing on my Humming bird and Finch station.
I try to grow them every year for my tiny friends, saving the seeds for each new season.
They are drawn to them like a magnet.
(I have yet to get a good clear picture of the little buggers!)
The station is just a Sheppard’s hook positioned in between a tiny flowerbed and my three hundred pound pet granite boulder.
Yes, I said “Pet Boulder”.
The boulder was dug out of the ground fifteen years ago when the city completely tore out our old street and gave us a new one.  I had my oldest son, then 13, and his friend roll it into our yard with a hand truck (of which is still a little bent), and it’s been a part of our landscape ever since.
It’s been relocated a few times since. You should hear the groans from my family when I say~ “Hey, I’ve been thinking, the ‘Rock’ might look nicer over here…”
And here’s what my pictures of humming birds look like. “see that little tiny white speck to the right of the feeder? That’s a humming bird!”
I’m so jealous of everyone elses hummer pictures!
Speaking of humming birds, if you can’t find your humming bird food at the store anymore ’cause the “Season” has switched to “holiday stuff”, here is a recipe I use to make my own syrup.
1 part plain white table sugar to
4 parts boiling water. ( 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups water).
Bring the water to a rolling boil in a sauce pan and add the sugar and stir until it’s dissolved and remove from heat. Let cool completely before filling feeders. Don’t add any red food coloring. They don’t need it~ the feeders have enough red on them to attract the birds and there has been studies done showing that the #40 red dye is carcinogenic, or cancer causing.  The FDA has approved small amounts per body weight in humans- but imagine the amount a tiny humming bird drinks every day. These guys drain my feeders (5 of them) in week!  There’s been found a higher instance of ulcers, tumors and chick loss in Hummers that drink the dyed food. Do them a favor~ keep their food clear and healthy for them!
And if your feeder doesn’t have any red, tie a red ribbon or a red artificial flower to it. The red attracts them and soon they’ll be using the feeder. I tried it- it really works!
 Alas, Though I hate to admit it, summer’s coming to an end. Where did it go again? Always too fast.
Maybe I’ll take Sissy’s approach and just ignore the cooling days and lengthening nights… that sounds good.