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Feeding Hummingbirds For the Migration South
September 02, 2014

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend.

The meteorologist calendar suggests that summer is over (from Memorial Day to Labor Day).

Still, I look at my calendar and see a good three weeks of summer ahead of me.

This means three more weeks of doing what we do in the summer.

Well, kids are in school, so your pace may be a bit slower.

Have you noticed how quiet the shrinking, daylight hours are now?

Gone are the bird songs.

Indeed, many birds seem to have disappeared.

However, step outside on a late summer's night.

The air is filled with sounds.

Sure, there may be annoying buzz of mosquitoes.

I'm referring to Katydids, Tree frogs, and Crickets.

A summer symphony in its own right.

(Ship on Lake Superior last month.)

Thank you for the few that shared with me , on raising monarchs to release into the wild.

Many of you totally understand the 'Plight of the Monarch'.

You understand the perils they are up against.

No longer is it simply what nature throws.

The real danger is with what humans throw.


Chemicals that kill off not just butterflies, but all pollinators.

Not to mention slowly, polluting the earth and you and me.

So you understand why I was so geeked about seeing a couple of butterflies.

As you see by the picture, some butterfly action was in order too.

Now that was a good sign.

A few days later, I found the expired butterfly.

For the few that may not understand..........

Yes, the North American, Monarch Butterfly, is rapidly becoming a threatened species.

Feeding Hummingbirds.

Another reminder for you.

The first of September marks a seasonal change in one way for me.

It is time for me to pump up the juice in the feeders.

Instead of, what might be a typical formula of 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, I now increase the sugar content.

Now until they have all left, my feeders are juiced to a formula of 3 parts water to 1 part sugar.

Simply put, 3 cups of water to 1 cup of sugar (I don't know what that breaks down to in the metric system).

There is no real formula, flowers come with nectar as high as 50% and higher.

The more fat the little birds can put on, the healthier they will be for and during migration.

Hummingbird Migration is hard work.

The typical hummer weighs in at roughly 1/10 of an ounce.

Imagine mailing 10 hummers with a single letter sized postage stamp.

Now, imagine having to double your weight before you head out.

A hummer must double its body weight to 2/10 of an ounce before it can dare to migrate.

By pumping up the sugar water in my feeders, I give all the hummers a chance for a quick fix.

While the birds typically hang out in the vast assortment of flowers we offer, they will visit a feeder too.

Along with the increase in sugar, also brings the increase of sugar water spoiling.

Easy fix, use less, and clean a bit more often.

You folks that are blessed to have multiple species, appreciate what you have.

East of the Mississippi, we have one species.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds.

The almost cocky, feathered dynamo will harass other birds, and even chase another hummer from its territory.

Only until migration is in full swing will Ruby tolerate the presence of another.

By the time they reach Louisiana, and Texas, they will feed along side others.

To the point that some yards have scores of feeders that entertain hundreds upon hundreds of hummers at a time.

Before I die, I truly want to make it to one of these hummers festivals held every autumn in certain locations.

What truly makes a humminbird special........

Not all the unique skills and talents they possess,

Not a tongue that flicks 15 times per second.

Not the ability to fly backwards or hover.

It is a the remarkable, God given gift of migration.

Much like the monarchs, hummingbirds migrate when a body clock tells them to do so.

On their own, with out another to lead them, or teach them, hummers migrate.

Most often this year's babies are the last to head south.

More experienced birds, now have the advantage of 'been there done that' in their back pocket so to speak.

No flocks, no lessons,

You're on your own baby.

A fattened and healthy hummer has a better chance of making it.

Starvation is the number one killer of hummingbirds during migration periods.

You can assist all hummers along the way, by offering a food source.

Well, it is time to fly for now.

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

And don't forget to clean your feeders and water sources this week.

God Bless.

Being a father is the only thing that lives up to the hype. When I'm with my daughter - when we're doing homework together or hanging out watching a movie or kicking a soccer ball around or doing any of the things we do - that's the only time I feel like I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing.

Aaron Sorkin, TV writer

Hit the Nail on the Head.

A Walk off Home Run.

The winning Goal in Overtime.


God the Father is:

A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling.

Pslam 68:5

Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children.

Revelation 21:7

"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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