hummingbirds not around

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This topic contains 24 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by  Life is amazing 3 years, 8 months ago.

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  • #77034

    Shelley
    Moderator

    I just realized that the little hummers that hit my feeders year round aren’t around. I don’t think a drop has disappeared from the feeders in at least two weeks. Maybe that early cold snap did them in. Anyone else seeing the little ones around?

    #77036

    Angeline
    Participant

    Do those little guys normally hang around all winter? We don’t have a feeder, so I never notice them once it is cold enough out that I don’t sit out on the porch.

    #77037

    Shelley
    Moderator

    They have been hanging around in the winter. I think they are the same two that have been there the last several winters. Sometimes they are gone for two or three days, but then they are back.

    #77038

    VeganBiker
    Participant

    Shelly – they are still around. Back in the frozen days I noticed one trying to suck out of our frozen feeder, silly me! So I went out and changed out the fluid and back they came and for the next few days until the thaw I just brought it in in the morning and thawed it out and they fed like crazy, I suppose I could have brought it in at night but I kept forgetting.
    Angeline – the Anna’s hummingbirds winter in this area and somehow manage to survive most cold spells. A few years ago when we had a really cold week I found a little hummer on the icy sidewalk near 34th on 63rd street. I tried to nurse it back to health and it was feeding and getting peppier but I was worried that it was not getting enough food so i took it up to PAWS in Lynnwood, they had 2 others there brought in for the same reason. When I called them the next day they told me that all 3 had died! So I told myself that if I find another hummer in the same condition I will just try to heal it myself.

    #77142

    lakreitz
    Participant

    The three or so that hang out in my yard are here, fighting over my two feeders as usual. Like Veganbiker, I bring in the feeders at night and set out again around 6 am. I hope yours return Shelley!

    #77174

    Angeline
    Participant

    Hmm, wonder what mine eat all winter? Maybe they are over at your place! Actually if they are not a migratory type they probably survive on bugs through the winter (thank you, Google!) I’m going to keep an eye out to see if any are around my yard.

    #77175

    Shelley
    Moderator

    Still not seeing the little buzzers. Starting to lose hope. :(

    Maybe in the spring a couple will adopt the feeders again. I’ll still leave the feeders out and take them in on nights if the temp drops below 27 (slush point of the sugar water).

    #77176

    VeganBiker
    Participant

    Angeline – yes, hummingbirds eat small flying insects as well as nectar and bugs that are on the plants. I believe they used to only breed down in California but the warmer winters and the profusion of hummingbird feeders has allowed them to winter in the Pacific Northwest and now they are breeding and nesting here.

    Shelly – my feeder was freezing during this last cold spell and I mix one part sugar to four parts water.
    I try to clean the feeder regularly and change the liquid every 4-5 days.
    I seem to have aggressive birds and they will never share the same feeding bottle. One always chases the others off, I am sure they all get a chance at it but I would love to see a few feeding at the same time but it rarely happens at my feeder.
    I have friends who seem to have 4 or more feeding at the same time!

    #77178

    Shelley
    Moderator

    Yep, VeganBiker, never seen more than one hummer at a feeder. Territorial little buggers. My feeders are on opposite sides of the porch and they still had to be sure the other wasn’t feeding at the same time at the other feeder.

    #77180

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    So the whole idea of giving sugar to hummingbirds put my health-food-freakness into a major yank so with appropriate superiority I dug into Dogpile.com search engine to back up my educationing of all of you well meaning but ignorant hummingbird feeders.
    I looked and I looked and man I hate it when I’m wrong. Especially when I’ve got my know-it-all on.
    In fact I found other people who couldn’t stand the idea of giving refined sugar to the birds who said they couldn’t find anything scientifically wrong with it in their searches either.

    Nothin’ I got nothin’.

    Just to make me feel better allow me to pass on something I did find that you may or may not know.
    If you don’t clean the feeder with hot water dumping all the left over food every 3 days it can make a bird sick. See below the dotted line for info from the articles I referenced.

    Yup that’s all I got. I think me and my chipped full of myselfidness will limp off and have some ice cream. (all natural, vegan, refined sugar free ice cream of course)

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~IMPORTANT! If you want to feed hummingbirds you must commit to regularly changing their sugar water food! Sugar water ferments and/or grows mold quickly, and when spoiled it can make hummingbirds sick. Since you will need to clean the feeders about every three days, do not fill them too full or you will waste a lot of sugar solution. Fill them from between ¼ to ½ full, at least until you see how fast the hummers empty them.

    DO NOT add red food coloring, and avoid commercial solutions with food coloring. Coloring is not necessary, as most feeders have red parts built in to attract the hummers’ attention. Like spoiled sugar water, food coloring is bad for the hummingbirds’ health.

    Every three days, even if your feeders are not empty, clean them thoroughly with hot water and refill them with fresh solution. At the end of the season you should sterilize the feeders either in the dishwasher or using a dilute bleach solution before drying and storing them until next year. I prefer to use glass feeders as these are easier to sterilize.

    Change the hummingbird nectar every 3-5 days, and every 2 days
    in hot weather or direct sunlight (over 70º).
    If you do not, the solution will begin to ferment.

    You know it is far past the right time
    if the nectar has turned cloudy
    or smells sour.10

    Throw away the unused nectar and clean the feeder every time you change the solution. If the solution ferments – then you have a mess that has to be scrubbed and sterilized.

    #77183

    VeganBiker
    Participant

    LIA – you bring up a good point – Should we be feeding wild animals? By feeding them we are actually upsetting the balance of nature… But we have already done that and we are way beyond ever returning it back to a balanced state unless we humans all disappear!
    As to sugar.. well for humming birds that is something they have evolved to use as a form of food and nourishment for them to live, and sugar is described as a “sweet, short-chain, soluble carbohydrate” produced by many plants but for us humans the most prolific and profitable are sugar cane and sugar beets. Hummingbirds will eat most forms of sugar to survive but in terms of vegan sugar I can tell you that the refining of sugar cane requires the use of some form of animal, vegetable, or mineral carbon filter and unless it is defined as vegan it is probably refined using animal bone. Sugar beet sugar does not need to be refined in this way. Sugar sold under the Fred Meyer brand is beet sugar and therefor vegan, that is what I use for the hummingbird mix.
    Now should we be feeding them or any other birds? That is a topic for another conversation.. :)

    #77196

    Angeline
    Participant

    I don’t do a darn thing for the hummingbirds in my garden except eschew herbicides/pesticides and plant a bunch of flowering shrubs, and we usually have 3 hanging around all summer. So, LIA, feel free to presume that MY hummingbirds are tougher and more natural than the ones with access to feeders. If it makes you feel better.

    #77198

    great idea
    Participant

    I have seen them around recently. we also do not feed them, although maybe a neighbor does.

    like Angeline, I like to think it’s my kick-ass garden that they’re drawn to.

    #77257

    Cate
    Participant

    Nectar, the natural drink of hummers, is a mixture of 55% sucrose, 24% glucose and 21% fructose dissolved in water (per Wikipedia). I think that pretty much qualifies as sugar water.

    #77259

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    VB, it is a question, should we feed the wild animals. Like you said we’ve already blown it and, unfortunately, humans don’t seem to be disappearing.
    And, as surprised as I was, what I read said that scientifically, the sugar water is very close to the nectar . Funny thing is that they said that given the choice they’ll go to flowers so here’s to your kick ass hummers in your gardens Angie and GI :)
    One thing that was said on every site – don’t put in food coloring or use the commercial stuff that’s red. Very bad for the little guys.
    I got to be involved with saving the life of one of the little fellas once. It was soooo cool. I didn’t get to catch it but the guy that was helping me said that he couldn’t even feel it in his hand. Amazing little creatures.

    #77260

    VeganBiker
    Participant

    Lia – yep I know about the coloring, apparently they are attracted to red but we do not need to make the liquid red!
    They are very light, the one I found was so delicate, it’s little feet were like little sticks with fine needles on the end. It clung to my finger and I almost felt like it understood that I was trying to save it.

    #77308

    JoyBird
    Participant

    We have two Anna’s that live close by. I see them a couple times a week. I think they have established a ” No Fly Zone” and whenever I put out new fresh seed, a feeding frenzy starts.
    When birds fly or perch too close to their territory, a Hummer will fly out and scold all of us for creating such a frenzy. Last saw one on Wedneday this week so I think they are ok.

    I have a Hummingbird Feeder we haven’t put up yet. Not sure where to put it amoungst the other feeding places in our backyard sanctuary. We want everyone to coexist without too many problems.

    #77313

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    VG I think quite often they understand way more than people think.
    I found a baby crow in a small street that fell out of a tree. I googled what to do and it said to pick it up and put it in a bush and the parents will keep feeding it until it can fly.
    The group I was with said that the parents – squawking in the bushes- would attack me and I know they’ll attack humans but I told the adults what I was going to do and picked up the little guy, put him in a bush, and they came over to him without bothering me a bit.
    I’m not saying they understood my words but I think they communicate by intuition or telepathy so maybe they just saw the pictures in my head?
    Who knows but it was pretty clear they knew I wasn’t going to hurt their kid and it was so cool to hold him.

    #77315

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    Hey joybird, when you figure out how to keep the peace come to my house. 4 cats that don’t like each other.
    Sonny doesn’t like anyone but Pinky and not really him either.
    Milo really doesn’t like Sonny and loves to annoy Bug
    Bug growls when anyone goes near her
    and Pinkie just wishes everyone would get along.
    Seriously, you know that sound you hear in the alley when cats fight? I have woken up to that more than once right in the hall.
    “KNOCK IT OFF YOU BUNCH OF LUNATICS!” as I flail around for something to throw.
    so zen

    #77316

    Shelley
    Moderator

    Life is amazing,

    Been there done that with our cats. We had three (big mistake, I know). The only solution was every cat gets the super soaker treatment. My late hubs came home from work at 4 AM one night, and hears me screaming “Take that! Get back! <expletives deleted>” creeps up the stairs, baseball bat in hand only to find me half naked, mad as a wet hen, with dayglo fuchsia and lime green super soaker, wet cats cowering in the hallway. He started laughing hysterically, and I blasted him. Still brings a smile.

    #77318

    Shelley
    Moderator

    I did see one hummer today discovered one feeder, but behaviorally this is not either of the two from before. I fear something bad happened to them.

    #77324

    JoyBird
    Participant

    Life is Amazing! Wow, you’ve got your hands full! Do you ever get to sleep through the night?

    My husband seems to be the best as the “Bird Whisperer” – I’ll have see if he does cats too!- LOL!

    The cat in my avatar still visits us daily and killed a rat in the “sanctuary” last week.

    #77357

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    Shelley! I bout fell out of my chair! That is a hill air ee us story!!

    #77359

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    Wow, I hope your guys are OK
    It’s weird how much you come to care about little beings like that. It sounds odd I know but I had a tiny pumpkin spider in my kitchen window last year. I let him stay there. He could deal with the fruit fly issue.
    I named him Hank (found out later he was Hankette)
    He was there for months. Got huge. We all would talk to him. “Hows it goin’ Hank?” and we used a spray bottle to spray his web for water.
    When I found him dead I was actually quite sad.
    A friend ( who couldn’t stand spiders) was so sweet when he said “He lived a lot longer than he would have outside in the winter”
    silly I guess.

    #77362

    Life is amazing
    Participant

    Not too much Joy. sometimes I Yell “That’s it!” and corral them all downstairs and shut the door. Then I sleep. I still can’t figure out why I don’t do that as a matter of course.

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