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Feeding Hummingbirds/What's your Favorite Bird
April 23, 2012

I hope you had a chance to check out the four planets as they stretch across the early night sky.

Another week of up and down temperatures.

A few frosty nights and a couple of nice sunny days followed by some clouds and cold rain on Friday and more cool temperatures.

I guess the weather worked in my favor.

The last of the 'Honey Do List' is taken care of (painting the living room).

I know, I know, .......... the list is never done.

That will last a few days and a new one starts.

Dogwood trees are now in full bloom.

The different (warmer) spring continues to mess with much of nature, as it is now toad season.

Toads galore head for the ponds and streams to pursue a mate.

Most of the ducks that visit my yard are now male ducks.

(pictured below.)

Small groups of males hanging out together as the females are on the nest for the next three to four week.

So much for loyalty or sticking by your mate.

The Green Herons are back in full force, and I can only hope to have a nesting pair again this year.

This past Saturday, we saw our first Baltimore oriole of spring (about a week early).

It is still early for hummingbird season to start around here, but I do have a couple of feeders out just in case.

I haven't seen a hummer yet and really don't expect to for another couple of weeks, but there are rumors they are this far north.

With everything else being so early this year I figured just in case, and why not.

When hummers arrive on their way north, they are mighty hungry and in need of a good meal and some rest.

Males are the first to arrive as the need to establish a territory is Paramount.

Your habitats offer nectar and insects.

However, what if the flowers aren't quite ready to open?

What if the days turn cool and the insects aren't moving?

Survival of the fittest comes into play, but hummers also find sugary sap and insects from many of the local trees.

Sap-suckers and other woodpecker holes offer food for hummers.

Typically, your feeders supplement nature, now they are the main course.

The standard formula for hummer sugar water seems is 4 parts water and 1 part sugar (1 cup of water and 1/4 cup of sugar).

This is what the so called experts want us to use.

For years, I have been telling you to pump your feeders up for 'Spring Migration'.

Most hummingbirds come a long distance to get to their breeding grounds.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds usually fly the 500 miles across the Gulf of Mexico.

When they arrive in the states, they are hungry and need energy.

I more concentrated formula of 1 part sugar to 3 parts water (1 cup water to 1/3 cup sugar), gives hummers the jolt they need.

I've gone as high as 1 part sugar to 2 part water.

For short periods, a 50/50 mix wont harm the birds.

I often felt the 4 to 1 ratio was more of a simple measuring process for you and me to follow.

Then you hear how this mimics the sugar content in most flowers.

What I discovered is, most flowers that hummers visit have a sugar content of 27, 35, 40 and even 50%. not the 21-22% offered in feeders.

Now why would a hummer visit a feeder on a regular basis if the flowers offer more of what they want and need?

While feeders are mostly a supplement source of food, most of us put out feeders to attract the flying jewels.

My own logic and bit of searching, I figured a good 1 part sugar to 3 parts water was a much more acceptable ratio for the hummingbirds and closer to "Nature's" offerings.

I've gone as high as 40% to help the hummers as they arrive and prepare to leave.

Especially when there are few if any flowers in the yard.

Wouldn't you know it, after all this time, some of the so called experts now say it is okay to pump up your feeders.

(Makes me almost want to pat myself on the back.)

I will add this............

The higher the octane, the fewer visits a bird needs to make and the more often you will have to
change and clean the feeder.

For me, the high octane is used the first few weeks of Migration North and the few weeks before heading south.

I also find the saucer or disk shaped feeder work best for cleaning, feeding and no sticky dripping messes.

You can find more on Feeding Hummingbirds by clicking here.

I love birds.

As far back as I can recall, I have had a fascination for birds.

Who doesn't enjoy our avian friends?

No other wild creatures bring such joy to so many, throughout the course of the year.

That is why I'm going to ask.

Do you have a favorite bird?

(I haven't asked this in a couple of years.)

Here are a couple of ideas based on
my own experiences.

I spent much of my life in the quest to see Bald Eagles in the wild.

We even took vacations in hopes of spotting an eagle.

Grand specimens and America's National Symbol.

Not an everyday backyard bird, but perhaps it is for you.

Few things compare to a Bald eagle in the wild.

I also enjoy the American Robin.

Not because it is my state bird or signals that spring is near (both good reasons).

I appreciate the tenacity and courage a robin shows.

You don't mess with a robin's nest or fledglings.

Watch a robin, when a jay encroaches its nesting area.

Few species of birds show this
kind of protective aggression.

I like that.

Okay, two great ideas for a favorite bird, but still not my favorite bird.

Many of you know by now, that the Black-capped chickadee is my favorite bird.

Not because they are so darned cute (and they are)

Because they are so friendly.

So trusting.

There isn't another bird I can think of that is so friendly or trusting of humans as the chickadee.

They follow me around the woods and sometimes the yard.

Now I must admit, I do take that extra step to accommodate these special feathered friends.

I put up nest-boxes, offer the food they desire and of course, habitat and fresh water.

In return, they thank me.

Now it is your turn.

Mention your bird with a short reason why.

Send it back to me with your

First name (last optional)

Region or city you live near.

State or Province you are in.

(A Few Moments of Fame.)

Your favorite bird may be the Northern Cardinal for its song and beauty (especially with a snow backdrop).

I know for some of you, Common Loons, Swallows in general, or Owls fit the bill.

Hummingbirds for obvious reasons.

In the northwest, you may favor the Varied thrush or Scrub jays.

It doesn't matter if your favorite is a Roadrunner, Bluebird , or American goldfinch.

Orioles, Woodpeckers, Warblers, Meadowlarks, and more.

Share with me your favorite bird and a sentence or short paragraph why.

I don't care if you've responded before, do it again.

My Asian friends, share your bird and reason.

Don't be bashful and don't blow this off.

Let's have some fun.

We are all friends, and this is your letter.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

Do participate with your favorite bird and above all else, a blessed week to you.

Before I go, here is your positive thought for the week.

God Bless.

Success is first understanding, and then fulfilling, the Lord's purpose for your life.

Jim Good, author

Ask Him what your purpose is.

As with sincerity and diligence and he will show you.

"The lamp of the LORD searches the spirit of a man; it searches out his inmost being".

Proverbs 4:27

"Treat the earth well:

It was not given to you by your parents,

It was loaned to you by your children.

We do not inherit the Earth from our

Ancestors, we borrow it from our Children."

Ancient Indian Proverb

Your friend indeed,

Ron Patterson

PS. If you enjoy these letters, please forward them to friends, family and co-workers.

Better yet, have them sign up so they can receive their own letters.

Gardening For Wildlife.

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