As we progress into the third week of May, many may notice our tiniest but mightiest migratory bird is making an appearance in your backyard - the Ruby-throated Hummingbird!
With 500 wingbeats a second, the Hummingbird is an amazing member of neotropical birds who migrate South for the Winter. Weighing less than a nickel, Hummingbirds are the smallest animals to make this migration, and fly nonstop for 600 miles subsisting on just a
couple grams of increased body fat from pre-flight feedings.
Hummingbirds tend to arrive North between the 1st and 3rd week of May, and you better believe when they arrive in your backyard that they are hungry!
It's best to have feeders ready beforehand so Hummingbirds can make an immediate pit-stop on their arrival. If you haven't put your feeder up, now is the time to do so. Here are a couple notes on maintaining your Hummingbird feeder:
To make the simple syrup to put in your feeder: use one part white sugar to four parts water. Using hot water to thoroughly melt the sugar into the water, then let cool to room temperature before putting into feeder. In the long run, it is easier to make a big batch, and store the majority in your refrigerator. Any unused simple syrup should be refrigerated.
Make sure once you put out your feeder to change out the syrup every 2-7 days. If the syrup grows mold Hummingbirds will not drink it. On hotter days when temperatures are in the high 60s or hotter, change out the water every couple days. If temps are in the 50s with nights in the 40s, it is ok to change the water out once a week.
Do NOT put red dye into your simple syrup to attract Hummingbirds. Red dye is harmful to birds and though it may be advertised as a helpful trick, it causes damage to the health of Hummingbirds. Hummingbirds will come to your simple syrup feeder regardless if the syrup is red or clear. If you want extra color to incentivize Hummingbirds to visit your feeder, purchase a Hummingbird feeder that is red or adorns red features.
Enjoy watching these beautiful and mighty creatures. There is so much joy to be found in observing and feeding Hummingbirds, have fun appreciating their existence in your yard, as much as they appreciate you offering nourishment and sustenance after their long journey North to you after flying thousands of miles.