Showing posts with label feeders. Show all posts
Showing posts with label feeders. Show all posts

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Spring Forward, Renewal, Rebirth, Revival and Joy!

March 8th is Spring Forward Time! A Garden Review!

 

spring, bird feeding, bees
Image from Pixabay

Yeah, for all our Naturalists/Gardeners/Backyard Enthusiasts and those who are patiently (or not so patiently) waiting for Spring's arrival.  From my own personal experience I know how most of us are feeling right about now.  We can't wait for longer days and warmer temperatures and getting our hands back into the soil.  We want to poke around to see what's about to spring up out of the ground.  We also look up to see where the birds are too.  That first robin or yellow finches just make us so happy.  Our time is coming quickly!


Things Outside are Changing Quickly!

 
Now that it's March, we can look forward to longer daylight hours (it's already light at 6:00 in the morning)!  The bugs and the bees are waking up from their long winter slumber and looking desperately for a food source.  Even the birds are making a comeback.  

Those of us who love hummingbirds will be watching the Hummingbird Migration Maps for 2020!  They are already in parts of Florida and coming to your neighborhood soon!  Be the first one in your neighborhood to mark the map with the first sighting in your area. 


Spring, so much to do and so much pleasure in doing it too!


If you hang out bird feeders, now is the time to get them ready.  Clean and disinfect them all carefully.  We want to feed the birds and not harm them.  Clean feeders are a must!  Pathogens that can harm them can and might live over in the winter months.  There is need to be extra vigilant in making the birds source of food a safe source.  

Wash down all bird feeders, clean out birds nests from last year and give this years birds a really good chance of thriving and surviving.  Clean them out with a mild bleach solution (1/2 cup bleach to a sink full of hot soapy water).  Make sure you rinse them well and let them air dry before setting them out again.  

 

Special Care for Hummingbird Feeders!


Many people give up on putting out hummingbird feeders because they do require extra care.  It may seem wasteful, but their nectar needs to be changed every week.  Spoiled nectar in feeders can cause their death.  No one wants to be responsible for that!  So in the early spring, before you even see them, you need to change that nectar every week.  

Make only a cup of nectar at a time, so as not to waste all that sugar water.  And remember, red dyes are NOT NECESSARY  to attract those little flying gems.  Your hummingbird syrup should be roughly 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of water.  The measurement does not have to be exact, but close is good.  Use only 1/2 to 1 cup of syrup in your feeders (keep the rest in the refrigerator) until you are sure the hummingbirds have found you!  Once you know they are coming to your feeders, go to town and fill it right up.


Maybe this is the year you decide to help the birds and the bees.

 
You can easily do this with bird feeders, bird houses and even bee houses.  The birds and bees give us so much enjoyment, it's the least we can do to make them welcome in our yards.  Our own Renaissance Woman will even teach you how to make your own bird feeders if you feel so inclined.  It would be a great spring time activity for your children or grandchildren.  Check it out right here: DIY Mason Jar Bird Feeder!

Building bird houses is also a lot of fun and an easy craft to share with your family as well.  The most important thing to remember is that certain birds require different housing.  Some are solitary breeders, while others love to be in community.  You might have to do some research to find out what kinds of birds come to your neighborhood, before you start building.  This review might help you get started! What you need to know about  Basic Bird House Construction!


The Bees are Getting a Lot of Press Lately!  The Key to Success

 
Science has let it be known that the bee population is in trouble.  If we don't have them as pollinators our whole food sources are at risk.  So let's help those pollinators by growing gardens that feed them all spring, summer and fall.  It's not hard to do and I'm sure you will enjoy the efforts that you put into making a beautiful "bee" friendly garden. 

There are a few guidelines that will help you to help the bees!  
  • Plant a garden that will give lots of blooms all season long.
  • Plant single flowered species rather than the big double and triple flowers.  The singles produce more nectar and the bees can easily get to it.
  • Plant lots of different annuals as well as perennials.
  • Build a bee house.
  • Have a water source available too!

Do you need more information?  I like this website for all inclusive information about bees and keeping them happy!  The  Honey Bee Conservancy  I like to keep my family happy, so, with my son-in-law being a beekeeper, this is for him!  I try to do my part in helping him help the bees and I get to enjoy some of the honey too.

Spring is a time of Renewal, Revival, Rebirth and Joy!  Let's make an effort to help Mother Nature in all of this,  by doing something to help all her little creatures.

feeding the bees, helping Mother Nature, hummingbird feeders
Image by jggrz from Pixabay








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Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Hummers Are On Their Way North, Be Ready!

Every year I look forward to the hummingbird migration that takes place and I watch with bated breath for that first sign that they have found my feeders.

Did you know that you could track the migration?  Yearly, there is a group that posts on a map, where the hummers were seen and diligently marked the date and the location.  That way anyone who is interested can do their little part in the drama that takes places every year as the Hummingbirds move from reasonably warm climates in the winter to the more northern climates for late spring and summer.

2016 Hummingbird Migration Map

Click on the link above and you can see exactly where the Hummers are moving and even add your location and date when you spot them at your neck of the woods.

The best way to have the Hummers appear in your yard is to make sure there is red coloring readily visible and a Hummingbird feeder close by as well.  I take the time to get some red flags (not hard in Canada) and I put them up around my yard.  Hummingbirds can see the color red from miles away and it usually means there is food close by.  They assume the red is some of their favorite flowers and after flying for so many miles, these little dynamites need all the nectar their little bodies can hold.

Planting a Hummingbird Garden, will almost guarantee that you will be visited by these lovely little creatures at some point in the summer months.  They love Cardinal Flower, Anise Sage,  Bergamot or Monarda, Honeysuckle vine, Trumpet vine,  Canna Lilies, Coral Bells, Four O'Clocks, Foxgloves, Hosta, Lupines and Yucca.  There are a number of annual plants that they also like.  Fuschia, petunias, Impatiens, Jewelweed (Balsam) and any number of Salvias species.

I can remember one year I had a row of Canna Lilies planted and I was standing outside by them, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw this little wee bird almost at my ear, beating it wings like crazy.  I thought it was going to perch on my shoulder.  I was so excited to be so close to this wee wonder of the sky.

Hummingbirds will thank you for planting the flowers that they love and having a source of water and a place to rest away from predators.  If you can provide those things, you can be sure that they will come to your house and they will come back year after year.....

I have my favorite hummingbird feeder that I use, and it is filled with a mixture of plain white sugar mixed 1:4,   One part sugar to 4 parts water.  Fill the feeder and set it out where the red lid of the feeder is visible.  I do not use food coloring or anything other sweeteners, just plain white sugar and water, changing the water in the feeders every two or three days....sugar water can spoil in as little as two days.  So clean out the feeder every two to three days to keep the sugar water fresh.  Monthly you should give the feeder a good cleaning making sure to rinse out the feeders with running water. Hummers do not like the taste of soap.....or you can use regular white vinegar to clean the feeders. Just remember to fill them, with a cup or more of sugar water and get them back up again as soon as possible.



Audubon Hummingbird Feeder (NAH1)12 ounce nectar capacity This is my favorite humming bird feeder, but there are others available as well. I personally have found this one to be superior in attracting hummers to my yard and I have tried the other ones. This one is easy to fill, and easy to clean. It has a large bright red cover over the syrup holder and makes it easy for hummers to spot in the yard. So far, it has been the one that has been most successful in attracting and keeping these little wonders close for me to enjoy. Watch this incredible footage of hummingbirds in flight, slowed down, so you can see how much they work to keep themselves in the air...
I hope I have encouraged you to try and help our little wonders of the sky as they delight and dance for us all summer long.

A good friend of mine is a nature photographer who has had many of her pictures featured on Birds and Blooms Magazine. Carol has granted me permission to share with you a beautiful picture of a male Hummingbird, whose countenance I just love.  While they are tiny, they are certainly very majestic and so appealing in color.  I hope you enjoy this little one as much as I do.
Carol L. Edwards Photography: Hummingbirds &emdash; RTHU_7001 CLE
And if you are interested I have also included a link to her site, so that you can fill your eyes with beautiful birds anytime you like...... http://carolledwards.com/ There is beauty in the world and it is there for us to see and enjoy. I hope you did and continue to do so.....Nature is free for all of us!


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Saturday, May 2, 2015

Magic in the Air from Spring to Fall.

While most birds do not have any difficulty finding food for themselves in the spring, summer and fall, there is one exception to that rule.  Our everyday (I won’t ever call them ordinary) birds, the ones that frequent our gardens throughout the year, know very well how to forage for seeds, nuts and bugs.  However there is a bird that frequents us in the nicer months and I’m sure that everyone would love to have them in their gardens especially through the summer months.  Right now they are on their way to us, migrating thousands of miles in order to make it to our backyards.  They are so little and so pretty, about the size of a mouse, only much more colourful and faster than a speeding bullet.
If you look at the migratory maps, you can see where these lovelies have been spotted already and watch their quickening arrivals on our shores.  Every year there is a Hummingbird Migration Map put out, so that you can record the first sightings of these migratory birds.  This image is the map for 2015.  http://www.hummingbirds.net/map.html
As you can see, they travel a long distance to make it to us and so when they arrive and all along their journey northwards, they love to stop at red feeders that are filled with sugar water, so that they can have the energy to continue on their way. 
Scientists believe that the Ruby Throated Hummingbirds can spot the red colored feeders from miles away and will make a bee line for those feeders.  Being such tiny creatures, they need lots of energy in a food source that is easy for them to metabolize.   Sugar water is just the thing for them.  Put the feeders out in the spring time and watch what happens. 
You have choices when it comes to feeders, the one I have  showcased for you here, is probably the top  model of feeders that catch the eyes of the “Hummers”.  
You also want a feeder that is easy to clean.  Sugar water needs to be replaced and replenished daily.  Start with a feeder with only a little bit of sugar water in it.  Once you know that you have Hummers coming to visit the feeder, increase the amount of sugar water in the reservoir.  Put the feeder somewhere where the red is visible from the skies, but also close to some bushes so that the little Hummers can rest in safety.  If you are really lucky, they may even choose to nest in the available shrubbery and you will be witness to the birth of the next generation of these beauties.

If you have time to watch, and see what all the excitement is about these birds, then check out this YouTube overview and you will begin to understand why people are so fascinated with these little critters.The Wonderful World of Hummers.

Once you fall in love with these little Mini-Mites, you will understand why so many people put out these hummingbird feeders.  Just to have a chance to see them up close and personal, is a treasure of nature that is unparalleled.

Keep those feeders full of nectar and the hummers will visit you until they start their trek back to the warmer climates....they need that energy.

They will also come back next year and delight you all over again.

Nectar recipe:  1 cup of sugar (granulated)
                         3 cups of water.
Boil water and add sugar, stirring mixture until the sugar is liquid.  That's all there's to it and you don't need to add any red fool coloring.....it's better for them without it.




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