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Hand Feeding Hummingbirds

rainbow
December 26th, 2006, 11:46 PM
This lady lives in a hummingbird fly zone path. As they migrated, about 20 of them were in her yard. Just for a lark, she took the little red dish and filled it with sugar water and this is the result.

rainbow
December 26th, 2006, 11:48 PM
The next two pics.....

t.pettet
December 27th, 2006, 12:03 AM
That is so amazing, would love to be able to do that, must have taken alot of patience and persistence.

hazelrunpack
December 27th, 2006, 12:29 AM
We're in a 'fly-through' zone, too. During peak migration we can have 40 birds hovering around the feeders all at once. I can go through 72 oz of nectar a day.

But the best time is during nesting season, when the 'regulars' are visiting. They get used to you being out there putting out feeders. I've never tried to coax one onto my hand, but they usually land on the feeder even before I've had a chance to hang it up! :cloud9: I love the feel of their wings fanning my face.

technodoll
December 27th, 2006, 12:38 AM
wow! :eek: that is just sooo amazing, beautiful and wondrous! :cloud9:

TeriM
December 27th, 2006, 12:49 AM
Those are really cool pics Rainbow.

Hazel, I'm jealous :( . We tried the hummingbird feeder this summer but I don't think I had it hanging in a good spot. We have a regular bird feeder now in the back yard and I love watching all the birds (good entertainment for the cats too :thumbs up - don't worry they don't go outside).

Prin
December 27th, 2006, 01:24 AM
Crazy! :) That would be so cool.:)

rainbow
December 27th, 2006, 02:53 PM
WOW, Hazel, you are sooo lucky......a gorgeous six pack and a kazillion hummingbirds. :cloud9:

mummummum
December 27th, 2006, 03:00 PM
Is that ever nifty ! Where do they migrate to after they've passed through ?

hazelrunpack
December 27th, 2006, 09:53 PM
Is that ever nifty ! Where do they migrate to after they've passed through ?

It's almost magical that they make it anywhere... As I understand it, the adults migrate first, leaving the nectar sources for their young to fatten up on. The youngsters migrate in a separate sequence of waves, without guides. As if that wasn't awe inspiring in itself, the truly amazing part happens at the Gulf of Mexico. I understand they fly over open water for 600 miles (~1,000 km), without resting or eating, to get to their wintering grounds in Central America. :eek: This from a bird weighing less than an ounce that burns energy so fast it has to go torpid in cool weather to keep from starving to death while trying to keep itself warm...

I found a couple of pictures from last summer that shows some of the nesting crowd--this would be a typical moment from a day after nesting but before any birds had migrated. I took them from our deck, looking down on the feeding stations. I thought I had some closer shots, too...just can't find 'em...

20938

20939

I love to watch them, but by the end of the migration, having been constantly filling feeders and always having at least two full 24 oz nectar jars in the fridge and one batch of sugar water boiling on the stove at all times for a month, I'm pretty well ready for a rest. :D

PetFriendly
December 27th, 2006, 10:01 PM
The closest I ever got to that, and its no where near, but cool nonetheless, is feeding the chickadees at my parents' house. They too will sit on your hand and peck the seeds out. My little niece has a great time with it, but can't understand why the birds at her house don't want to be her friend!

papillonmama
December 28th, 2006, 08:57 AM
Wow. That is so amazing! Just gorgeous.

rainbow
December 28th, 2006, 02:08 PM
Hazel, how does the six-pack react to all the hummingbirds?

Prin
December 28th, 2006, 04:11 PM
I guess having hummingbirds landing on me would be second to being this person:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brynj/38666952/
:cloud9:

hazelrunpack
December 28th, 2006, 05:00 PM
Hazel, how does the six-pack react to all the hummingbirds?

Well, Lil Belle does a lot of hoping: :D

20953

The rest of the Pack pretty much ignore them unless they're being dive-bombed. Earlier this spring they negotiated a mutual defense treaty with the Hummingbird Nation--the Pack kept the yard free of predators, and the hummingbirds helped the Pack wipe out the annual plague of black flies. It made the headlines in the Setter's Corner (the official newsletter of the Hazel Run Pack) and King Ember won the coveted Canid Medal of Honor award from his greatful subjects for his instrumental role in the alliance. :D

hazelrunpack
December 28th, 2006, 05:05 PM
I guess having hummingbirds landing on me would be second to being this person:
http://www.flickr.com/photos/brynj/38666952/
:cloud9:

Finally, after 3 tries, my tired connection managed to download the pic! I'd rather be in amongst the warblers :D It's much warmer where the warblers are! :cloud9:

glasslass
December 28th, 2006, 05:33 PM
I would dearly love to have hordes of hummers visiting my feeder. I'm happy just having two at a time. Usually, the dominant male shows up and drives others away. I posted this photo a couple years ago but just can't resist showing it off again. This was a huge thrill for me. Yes, it's my finger!

hazelrunpack
December 28th, 2006, 05:38 PM
I would dearly love to have hordes of hummers visiting my feeder. I'm happy just having two at a time. Usually, the dominant male shows up and drives others away. I posted this photo a couple years ago but just can't resist showing it off again. This was a huge thrill for me. Yes, it's my finger!

We only get the ruby-throated hummingbirds here... You get more variety, don't you? What kind do you usually have hanging around?

rainbow
December 28th, 2006, 06:10 PM
I would dearly love to have hordes of hummers visiting my feeder. I'm happy just having two at a time. Usually, the dominant male shows up and drives others away. I posted this photo a couple years ago but just can't resist showing it off again. This was a huge thrill for me. Yes, it's my finger!


That's awesome. :highfive:

rainbow
December 28th, 2006, 06:12 PM
We only get the ruby-throated hummingbirds here... You get more variety, don't you? What kind do you usually have hanging around?

Aren't the ruby throated ones the prettiest?

heidiho
December 28th, 2006, 06:18 PM
wow i am not a bird person but that looks like fun.....

Prin
December 28th, 2006, 07:16 PM
Finally, after 3 tries, my tired connection managed to download the pic! I'd rather be in amongst the warblers :D It's much warmer where the warblers are! :cloud9:

Sory Hazel.:o Was it worth it at least? :D I would LOVE to see Emperor pengies in real life.:cloud9:

Smiley14
December 28th, 2006, 07:54 PM
Oh, those pics are amazing!!! I just love hummingbirds! I have no idea if I'm in a fly-through zone or not (Hazel, would MN be included in WI's zone?), but I do get a lot of them every summer in my yard. I also have the nectar feeders, but those aren't as big a hit as my huge honeysuckle vines growing up my fences. I don't have any pretty pictures to share though. I've got four them, two on each side and they each grow about three feet wide and about 8 feet tall by the end of the season. So cute to see the tiny birds feeding from the flowers! Petey pretty much ignores them though. He's more interested in the rabbit family living inside one of the evergreen bushes, LOL!

But wow, gorgeous pics!!! Thanks so much for sharing!!!

Frenchy
December 28th, 2006, 08:23 PM
Those birds are so cute !

hazelrunpack
December 28th, 2006, 09:14 PM
Sory Hazel.:o Was it worth it at least? :D I would LOVE to see Emperor pengies in real life.:cloud9:

LOL, Prin! Not your fault I can't get a connection. If I didn't think it would be worth it, I wouldn't have tried three times! :D

The Milwaukee Zoo had Emperor penguins among other species in the bird house. I grew up 6 blocks from there and I used to spend my summers wandering the grounds. Spent a lot of time in with the pengies... :D It's much warmer watching pengies at the zoo than it would be on Antarctica brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr

hazelrunpack
December 28th, 2006, 09:23 PM
I just love hummingbirds! I have no idea if I'm in a fly-through zone or not (Hazel, would MN be included in WI's zone?), but I do get a lot of them every summer in my yard.

Yep, they summer east of the great plains; yours and mine probably use about the same route south when they migrate. This coming spring I'm going to expand the nectar garden. They preferred the hanging feeders, but used the phlox when it was too crowded at the feeding stations. Sometimes I guess they just didn't have the patience to hover in the holding pattern until a runway to the nectar port opened up. :D

Smiley14
December 28th, 2006, 10:20 PM
Yep, they summer east of the great plains; yours and mine probably use about the same route south when they migrate. This coming spring I'm going to expand the nectar garden. They preferred the hanging feeders, but used the phlox when it was too crowded at the feeding stations. Sometimes I guess they just didn't have the patience to hover in the holding pattern until a runway to the nectar port opened up. :D

Good to know, thanks! :D I planted several phlox last year, but most of them died on me for some reason. Guess I'm not the best gardener, LOL! But my honeysuckle vines are a huge hit and and are thriving for whatever reason. :) I should try better feeders too. I have the kind that hang, but that are a glass/ceramic ball with a tube feeder. They don't seem to like them very much.

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 01:03 AM
We only get the ruby-throated hummingbirds here... You get more variety, don't you? What kind do you usually have hanging around?

In this area we get Annas and, sometimes, a Black-Chin hummingbird. The one on my finger was a female Annas. I love to hear them sing - really squeeky!

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 01:28 AM
In this area we get Annas and, sometimes, a Black-Chin hummingbird. The one on my finger was a female Annas. I love to hear them sing - really squeeky!

Glasslass, how did you get them to approach you like that? That pic of yours is amazing! Did you have to build up to it or did they seem to lack natural fear? I've never tried to approach them, just watched them through the window.

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 01:45 AM
It was actually pretty simple and didn't take as long as I would have thought. I stood beneath the feeder with my finger outstretched a couple feet away. When the hummer approached to feed, it stopped to look me over. I stayed perfectly still. When it came a bit closer, I moved my finger a little closer to the feeder, stopping whenever the hummer stopped. Eventually, we both arrived at the feeder at the same time. I just moved my finger up under her while she was feeding and her little feet came down like little landing gear. I have to be honest and say that I moved my finger down again and the hummer didn't stay on it. It just continued to hover and feed and ignore me. Greedy little thing! It helped that I was in the back yard of a bachelor friend. He has no flowers, just grass. When I tried it in my own yard, the hummers would just go to the flowers instead of the feeder and wait for me to leave. He had the camera set up on a tripod and already focused on the feeder.

Prin
December 29th, 2006, 01:56 AM
What did those little feet feel like? :o

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 02:33 AM
It was actually pretty simple and didn't take as long as I would have thought. I stood beneath the feeder with my finger outstretched a couple feet away. When the hummer approached to feed, it stopped to look me over. I stayed perfectly still. When it came a bit closer, I moved my finger a little closer to the feeder, stopping whenever the hummer stopped. Eventually, we both arrived at the feeder at the same time. I just moved my finger up under her while she was feeding and her little feet came down like little landing gear. I have to be honest and say that I moved my finger down again and the hummer didn't stay on it. It just continued to hover and feed and ignore me. Greedy little thing! It helped that I was in the back yard of a bachelor friend. He has no flowers, just grass. When I tried it in my own yard, the hummers would just go to the flowers instead of the feeder and wait for me to leave. He had the camera set up on a tripod and already focused on the feeder.


That's not as bad as I thought! I would have expected them to be a lot more skittish! Very cool! :) Mine tend to go for my flowers more than my feeders, so not sure what they would do if I stood out there, LOL! But I may have to give that a try this summer if I'm feeling adventurous! :D Thanks!!!

hazelrunpack
December 29th, 2006, 11:03 AM
LOL Smiley! Skittish, they ain't! :D They've had various members of the pack on the run. They zroooommmm in like fighter jets (sound just like something out of Star Wars). They're scrappy--always challenging each other. I've had them hovering under the brim of my baseball cap (those beaks look pretty darn formidable from that close!) They hover around my ears. They land on the feeders while I'm carrying them out to the shepherd's hook. Nope, skittish is not an adjective I'd apply to hummingbirds :p

I've never tried to get one to land on my finger, though--I save that effort for the chickadees, who have big enough feet to get a good grip on my chubby fingers :crazy:

Have you ever seen them courting? The females perch somewhere--often in an evergreen. Usually you can't see them--you just see the males. They make a rattling twitter, not sure if it's their wings or a vocalization, and fly back and forth (maybe up and down is a better description) in a steep parabolic flight path. Usually the female is somewhere near the bottom of the parabola but if she's still she's very hard to spot. It's very distinctive behavior and a lot of fun to watch. I know they nest in our big spruces out front--they females fly in there a lot and come to the feeders from there--but I have yet to spot a nest.

uh-oh...now you've gotten me started on birds! my other passion! :eek: I'll shut up now :o

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 02:09 PM
Their feet feel like a small tickle and almost weightless. No way are they skittish. The females are much more laid back than the males. They'll sit and drink for a really long spell. The males tend to stay hovering and on the watch for other birds trying to approach THEIR feeder. If the feeder goes empty :eek: , they'll come up to the window to let you know it. One knocked my brother off a ladder by hitting him on his forehead with his beak. He was pruning a tall hedge and was getting close to it's nest.
The males are strickly playboys, taking absolutely no responsibility for the nest or fledglings.

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 09:40 PM
LOL! I had no idea they were such bold little birds! :o Now I know I can venture beyond the window to better check them out, hehe. :)

glasslass
December 29th, 2006, 09:59 PM
Hummers have been documented attacking hawks and eagles!

Smiley14
December 29th, 2006, 10:01 PM
Hummers have been documented attacking hawks and eagles!

That's crazy!!! :eek: Wow, I had no idea! Maybe I'll need a helmet when I venture beyond the window, LOL!

Prin
December 30th, 2006, 12:50 AM
That's so funny.:) I just learned a lot about hummers.:) :cloud9:

rainbow
December 30th, 2006, 06:45 PM
WOW....I knew they were quite bold but I never knew they would attack hawks and eagles. :eek:

Maya
December 30th, 2006, 08:42 PM
I'm curious how well and how often everyone cleans their feeders? I've heard many people unintentionally make humming birds sick by not maintaining feeders properly, so I thought i'd bring it up in case lots of people are inspired to dig their old one out of the basement after seeing all these beautiful pictures. :o

I found this interesting add along with this warning. I know nothing about humming birds so if this is not correct please correct it!!:)

http://www.mschloe.com/hummer/osprayad.gifNO-----NO-----NO
I am sure Ocean Spray is telling us that this drink is so good it would fool an expert like a hummingbird. However this picture could have a negative affect on hummingbirds. We strive to put out the word that:
1] Feeding hummingbirds juice or honey can cause problems with fungus
2] Feeding anything low in calories will prevent the hummingbird to mantain its energy.
The proper solution to feed a hummingbird is "sugar water" with no color added. ***** 1 part granulated sugar to 4 parts water.

This is their answer to my email asking them not to use the ad:
Please be assured that we do not wish to offend anyone with our commercial and ads. Before a commercial or ad is released a panel of consumers view it. If they find the commercial unsatisfactory in any way, it is not released. We appreciate your input, and your comments have been shared with our Marketing Department.

If you feel this is an inappropriate ad please contact Ocean Spray at: Ocean Spray's Contact Us Page

hazelrunpack
December 30th, 2006, 09:36 PM
:eek: You're right--that Ocean Spray ad is totally out of line! NEVER feed hummingbirds "lite" juices, honey mixtures, or artificial sweeteners. The artificial sweeteners, in particular, are no good--being non-nutritive (no calories), the birds will starve if fed nectar made from them. :frustrated:

To make nectar, add 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and bring to a boil. I usually keep mine at a rolling boil for at least 5 minutes to make sure any extraneous bacteria are killed. Cool the solution and store it in the fridge. I don't know how long it will keep in the fridge since we go through it so fast (even with 16-cup batches) that it's never been an issue.

Although I usually try to warm the nectar up a bit instead of serving it cold right out of the fridge, I don't think it's necessary to warm it up to room temperature. In fact, on hot days, the hummers seem to prefer the cooler nectar. :D You can almost hear them go "ahhhhhhhhh". To warm the nectar, let it sit on the counter for 10 to 15 minutes--that'll take a bit of the chill off it...

I use feeders with glass (as opposed to plastic) reservoirs. They're easier to clean and don't grow mold as readily. With plastic, I also worry about what might be leaching out of the plastic into the sugarwater. I wish I could find a feeder with no plastic parts at all, but I think they're a thing of the past.

If it's cool out, the nectar in the feeders might keep for 2-3 days. If it's hot, you'll likely have to change it every day. If you see ANY cloudiness in the nectar, it's a sign of bacterial growth and it's time to change the nectar. If you see any mold or hazy deposits on the inside of the reservoir, it's also time to change the nectar.

I clean my feeders EVERY TIME I fill them--at the very least, by rinsing them thoroughly with hot water. Every 3rd or 4th filling I rinse them with a 50/50 solution of vinegar and hot water, then rinse them thoroughly with plain hot water and let them drain for a few minutes. If I see mold or hazy patches on the inside of the reservoir, I use a bottle brush or a bottle mop to clean the inside of the glass, rinse with the vinegar mixture, and then with hot water. The feeder does not have to be dry to fill, just clean, but I usually let them drain for a few minutes to cool off the glass from the hot water.

End of Hummingbird Nectar and Feeding 101. :D

Maya
December 30th, 2006, 09:58 PM
Thanks so much for the lesson!!! :thumbs up I filed it for later reference.:)