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What Did I get Myself Into?


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This story has to start from the beginning. 

For the last five years I've put out Hummingbird feeders, some years it attracted more visitors than others. Last year was the least number of Hummingbirds around here. This year I had decided not to put out any feeders because of laziness and other things to do.

On either the 1st or 2nd of May I was watering my garden with the garden hose. A Hummingbird came by and hovered 3-4 feet in front of my face for at least a full minute or so. I thought to myself, well it's that time of year, why not, this must be a sign.

I did notice a number of Hummingbirds visiting the location where the feeders hung last year. I really haven't done any research on them but, it appears their tiny little brains remember exactly where the feeders were the previous year. I do recall they migrate a large distance back to Mexico or South America for the winter. If that be the case, that's quite a feat to pinpoint navigate that distance for a bird with a brain the size of maybe a grain of sand, it's amazing.

Anywho, this year that Hummingbird that hovered by my face brought his / her buddies, they're as thick as mosquito's! Every other day I have to make 'a gallon' of sugar water, they drink 1/2 gallon a day from four standard feeders. I know their little bellies can't hold more than one single drop at a time?

They're really neat little birds and fun to watch. They really get super aggressive with each other. Just thought I'd share.

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Yes, they will really go at each other over a feeding station. lol And Yes, I'm old. I enjoy watching them as well.

I was sitting on the front porch resting this afternoon and one went to the feeder a few times, then came an hovered about 2 feet from my face for 10 seconds or so. Don't know if it was a thank you or if he was telling me it was time to change the food.

I seldom put more than a couple of ounces in the feeder at a time. In this heat, it seems to sour pretty fast.

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We have out four feeders and are covered up with hummingbirds.  Refill all four feeders every morning.  Not usual to have 20 hummers on the feeders with more buzzing around.  My wife even goes out with a fly swatter to kill the occasional yellow jacket that is on a feeder.

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I work at a small, satellite campus of a private college.  Our building has a lot of large windows and the windows are more or less mirrored from the outside during daylight hours.  One particular Summer some years back we had a rash of the little fellas flying into the windows and killing themselves.  The lady who was in charge of this campus at the time expressed concern and I told her, "Well, I can tell you why it is happening."  She wanting to know and so I told her - it was because all of the flowers around the perimeter of the building were red.  Apparently, red and purple really attract them (which is why so many hummingbird feeders are red and purple.)  I told her that they saw the reflections of those red flowers in the window and were flying into them.  She said, "Well, I can fix that."  Next thing I knew, after the next time the grounds crew came, all the red flowers were gone and had been replaced with yellow flowers.  The kamikaze hummingbirds stopped immediately.

Unfortunately, before that happened there was one little guy that injured its wing.  I have a soft spot for little birds so I took it home and contacted some folks in the area that are authorized to legally rehabilitate birds (they are actually called The Clinch RIver Raptor Center and I knew about them because I took an injured red-tailed hawk to them, once but they help all kinds of birds.)  It was some time before we could meet up and these things have to eat constantly so it had to be fed.  Now, I know that adult, wild animals often won't eat in captivity but this little guy had no qualms about it.  I mixed up some sugar water, put it in a medicine dropper like folks use to give medicine to little kids and stuck the tip of the dropper just over the tip of its beak.  That little, threadlike tongue - which is amusingly long for such a small creature - started working immediately and it ate its fill.  I actually needed to feed it that way several times.  So that is my story about hand feeding an injured hummingbird. 

I know - pics or it didn't happen, right?  Well...

100_9601.jpg

As for how well it recovered, I am not sure.  I called to check on it a few days after I took it to the rehab folks and they said there wasn't a whole lot they could do other than keep it fed and cared for.  Apparently, their little wings are so small that they can't be set and wrapped until they heal like a larger bird's wing can.  The lady said that it might heal on its own or it might not.  If it did, they were going to find someone who was going to Florida to give it a ride so it would have a head start on migrating.  If it didn't they said they would have to put it down because unlike some injured birds that can't be released into the wild a wild, adult hummingbird would never really adapt to living in captivity.  After that I just kind of wanted to assume that he had gotten better so I didn't call, again.

 

Edited by JAB
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