Those of you that have visited Our Little Acre know that it is home to some very large and very old oak trees. The one in the front yard is estimated at between 200 and 250 years old. The one closest to the house in the back isn't far behind it.
Today, as I made my way back to the house to escape the oppressive heat and humidity, I was buzzed. The telltale whir of wings told me a hummingbird was in the area. I looked up and saw the tiny thing looking for a safe place to land in the old oak tree.
Finally settling on what seemed to her the best spot, she watched me as I watched back. From there, she had a great vantage point from which to keep tabs on me while assessing the nectar situation.
This month marks a special time in the hummingbird world. Special to them and also special to us, if you're paying attention. Our friends over at Wild Birds Unlimited in Fort Wayne, Indiana, send out a wonderful newsletter from time to time and they were the ones who educated me on why August is such a great hummingbird month.
We've noticed hummers in abundance all summer, but we have several feeders as well as lots of natural nectar sources all over our property, so it's no surprise they like it here. However, it seems like they've been present in even greater numbers in the last couple of weeks. It seems that way because it is that way.
In August, the new hummingbird fledglings are buzzing around with Mom and Dad, and they're preparing to migrate. This involves an increase in feeding in order to be strong enough to make the trip south. They will gain between 25-40% of their body weight before migrating beginning in August and lasting through October. So keep your feeders full and also be sure to clean them regularly.
No need for special hummingbird nectar. You can fill your feeders with a solution of ¼ cup granulated sugar to 1 cup water. Dissolve the sugar in the water in a pan on top of the stove, bringing it to a boil (helps discourage spoiling), then cooling it before filling your feeders. Store any unused solution in the refrigerator.
We recently got a hanging feeder that is attached to one of our family room windows and within five minutes of hanging it up, the hummingbirds had found it. They locate their food sources by sight, not smell,and though they like red the best, they will be drawn to other bright colors such as purple, pink, and orange.
When Romie and I are both out in the yard or garden working and we hear or see a hummer, we alert each other by shouting, "Incoming!" It's usually the sound of their wings flapping at 50+ times per second that lets us know they're around, rather than seeing them first. Sometimes we hear their little squeaks (rather than chirps) as they communicate with each other.
Saturday, August 15, 2009