End Hummingbird Poisoning And Feeder Mess
The hanging red hummingbird feeders are poisoning our native hummingbirds - not helping! This article will explain why and how and how to really attract healthy hummingbirds to your backyard.
Red, plastic, hanging, "Hummingbird Feeders" in our backyards are a way to attract hummingbirds; but they are a mistake!
1. For one thing they don't attract butterflies and other garden enhancing insects; but they do attract wasps, hornets, bees and ants.
2. For another reason, "Hummingbird Feeders" are messy operation.
Hopefully, You have bought a red colored-plastic hummingbird feeder; so you don't have to add a red dye to your secret hummingbird formula to attract the hummingbirds to your backyard. Red Dye #40 leaves a permanent blood red stain on sinks, counter tops and carpets; moreover, it is suspected of being carcinogenic (cancer-causing) in repeated doses in lab mice.
3. Then there is the time consuming process of making the right mix of boiled water and scoops of sugar to duplicate local "flower nectar" to attract the most native hummingbirds to your feeder.
4. Last, but most critical, is the "hummingbird feeder" cleanliness issue. Like any sugary substance left outside, sugar water spoils quickly and "ferments" at temperatures above 40 degrees (F) - or outside your refrigerator. We all have taken a sip mistakenly of a cola or pop left outdoors and instantly realize by the taste that it is gone bad. However, unsanitary Hummingbird Feeders have been known to harbor deadly Salmonella bacteria-poisons that kill Hummingbirds. Moreover, once a Hummingbird Feeder hosts Salmonella bacteria, the plastic allows the deadly bacteria to survive and quickly re-pollute subsequent nectar mixes.
The hotter summer days or temperature well-above 40 degrees (F) require daily sterilizing of your plastic Feeder and changes of Your Hummingbird "Nectar" to prevent the possibility of Salmonella poisoning your brightly colored, aerobatic guests. Few of us take this responsibility seriously; so grow Hummingbird plants.
Hummingbird feeders are real popular now; as they are a quick and easy way to attract Hummingbirds to your yard. Yet, You wouldn't want to poison your guests!
If You like Hummingbirds, Hummingbird Feeders hygiene is critical!
Like fine-tuned Porsche engines, Hummingbirds need the highest quality fuel or "nectar" and they always seem to be running on empty! It is not that uncommon to see Hum-birds literally drop out of the sky - when they run out of fuel. If the fall doesn't break anything critical, one can usually nurse them back to health with a nose drops of warm sugar water within 8 hours; but they'll die within hours - if poisoned by a filthy Feeder.
HUMMINGBIRD'S JOB DESCRIPTION
Hummingbirds are Nature's smallest birds, found only in the American continent and they are basically, high tech pollinators, like bees, butterflies and moths.
Since most of their energy comes from flower blossom's nectar, their relatively short lives (3-5 years) are spent like farm workers following the annual flowering schedule over 500 miles from where you are to Mexico - during the winter. If the average man had a comparable metabolism to a hummingbird, he'd have to eat 285 pounds of hamburgers every day to keep hie weight. Hum-birds have a refined digestive system that digests calorie-rich nectars within 10 minutes!
To do their job pollinating Nature's tubular flowers, Their wings rotate 180 degrees, like a helicopter; so they can fly backwards, forwards, even upside down, and stop and hover over a funnel-shaped flower for a minute or two to smear the pollen all over their pointed beaks and get the nectar. Their tiny wings beat around 80 times a second during normal flight; however, males can circle in a courtship dance at speeds of 200 wing-beats a second to impress an prospective girlfriend.
Amazingly, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird only weighs in at one-tenths the weight of a first-class letter!
Yes, the Hummingbird's life is tough; but Nature has adapted this bird with many special gifts.
Joe Hummingbird has to nest in North America - where nesting spots are less crowded than in Mexico during the summer. So to successfully mate, he has to be the first one in your neighborhood to find the best nesting spots to attract a "soul mate". However, if Joe arrives in your neighborhood before the flowers bloom he'll perish before mating.
By the way, Joe has no sense of smell. Planting fragrant flowers will attract butterflies, bees and moths; but no Hummingbirds. Further, Joe's eyes seem to only pick up red flowers in a floral garden bed easily. Sure, he'll sample all the nectar-rich flowers in your garden; but for some reason he'll only investigate red-flowers first in a prospective flower bed.
Considering Joe's metabolism, mentioned above, searching all the flowers by licking each flower (13 licks a second) in your neighborhood would be a waste of his time and energy. To keep up his caloric-intake, Joe needs to hit around 1000 to 3000 flowers a day to keep healthy and fit for mating. Red tubular flowers, like a three-inch, orange-red Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans) must be a sure thing?
Anyway, Nature has given Joe the uncanny ability to memorize "Territorial" maps; according to a recent study by University of Arizona researcher Dr. William Calder.
When Joe arrives in your neighborhood and he finds that perfect "love nest"; he'll perch in a near by tree around a Hummingbird Feeder or sugar-rich flower garden. Joe will literally defend this ideal spot with his life. However, Joe will drain all the nectar-rich flowers surrounding his territory - morning and evening - to keep all other males moving on to find another good food source! This "Sugar-Dry Zone" helps Joe keep other males out of his perfect spot below his perch and within eye surveillance!
TOP-TEN HUMMINGBIRD'S PLANTS
1. Trumpet-Creeper Vine (Campsis radicans) (Zone 1-21).
2. Fragrant, Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) (Zone 3-24).
3. Tulip Tree ( Liriodendron tulipifera) ( Zones 1-12, 14-23).
4. Wild Columbine ( Aquilegia canadensis) ( All Zones).
5. Cardinal Flower ( Lobelia cardinalis) ( Zones 1-7, 13-17).
6. Bee Balm ( Monarda species) ( All Zones).
7. Hollyhock ( Alcea rosea) ( All Zones)
8. Shade-tolerant Jewelweed/ Impatiens ( Impatiens species) ( Zones 2-11).
9. Butterfly bush ( Buddleia davidii) ( Zones 1-9, 12-24).
10. Scarlet Sage ( Salvia splendens) (All Zones)
In closing, Hummingbirds love to bath by flying through sprinklers!