Good Sunday Morning!
This is a follow up post on Hummingbirds. I posted earlier this summer on these wonderful creatures and asked a question of my readership. Why do hummers visit my feeder more during and right after, rain storms? Well, no one claimed to have an answer. So, I did some reading and research myself. I found a great segment on the PBS Show, the Wisconsin Gardener on hummingbirds. The person being interviewed gave a great explanation. She stated that when there is heavy rain, (of which we have had a lot of this summer in Wisconsin), the nectar in the flowers becomes diluted. She also stated that on very hot days, nectar production is decreased or even stops in some flowers! So, considering the hot, wet summer we have had; no wonder I have noticed an increase in hummers at my feeder! And the dilution of the nectar makes sense; these tiny, highly active birds intuitively seek a food source (the feeder) that will provide them with the sugar content (or energy source) they need. Diluted flower nectar just won't cut it!
Did you also know that it is a myth that you have to take your hummingbird feeder down when the weather starts to cool? Hummingbird migration is based on length of day, not whether or not you still have your feeder up! These tiny creatures will know when it is time to skip town, no matter what you do with your feeder! In fact, the woman in the PBS hummingbird segment suggests leaving the feeders up late into the fall, so as to provide a food source to any late migrants. I'll be doing that this year.
I make my own nectar for my feeder. The recipe is Hot Water and Sugar in a ratio of 4 cups water to one cup sugar. Make sure you wait for it to cool before filling the feeder and putting it out. You also need to keep it clean!
Hummers are still visiting my feeder frequently on a daily basis. My cats continue to be very interested in these visitors. One of my felines will pounce at the feeder when a hummer approaches or is feeding. My other cat simply watches these colorful, busy, almost nervous appearing birds. The pictures I posted are of the "watching cat".
Lastly, I'll leave you with the link to the Wisconsin Gardener segment. Enjoy!