It looked like this:
(I apologize for the blurriness, but it's a wonder I got this photograph at all. If you look close, you can see the very beginnings of the namesake sparkly red throat feathers, meaning this little guy is a young male.)
Yes, the Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds are showing up en mass at my feeders. I had just one up during much of the summer, but I now have three, of varying sizes and shapes. They're all the standard kind you can get for under ten bucks at Evil Big Box Store, but honestly they work quite well. They seem to enjoy the little feeder that looks similar to this design best (mine has many more feeding ports). But the Opus Oriole Feeder (which the Orioles have staunchly ignored, go figure) is gaining in popularity, especially after I made smaller hummer-friendly perches with garden wires as seen here:
I never know what the consensus is on store-bought nectar mixes. Every spring it seems as though we get a warning not to use red dyed food, even though I've never heard any circumstantial reports that such food is dangerous. But I stopped using store-bought food last summer just in case -- and also because homebrew nectar mix is so ridiculously easy. Here's what you do:
1) Put three and a half to four cups of water in a teapot (the less water you use, the sweeter the mixture will be; my hummers seem to like the 3.5 cups best). Bring this to a boil.
2) Put one cup of sugar in a heatproof container. A large-ish saucepan works well, just as long as it can contain the water you are currently boiling.
3) When the water is boiled, remove it from the heat, then pour it in with the sugar and mix it together. Set it aside to cool and fully dissolve for a while, then refrigerate it in a pitcher or repurposed iced tea bottle. And you're done!
Some notes: No, it isn't dangerous for humans if they accidentally drink this; it's just sugar water. Yes, you must use sugar, not honey and certainly not fake sugar/Splenda/Sweet-N-Low/whatever. Nor shall you use brown sugar, confectioners sugar, or powdered sugar. Just ordinary table sugar will do. My rule of thumb: if I wouldn't put it in my coffee, I wouldn't make the Hummingbirds drink it either.
Wikkid Important Edit: Sheri Williamson of the lovely "Life, Birds, and Everything" blog commends my use of homemade sugar water because the dyes and preservatives used in store-bought nectar mixes are linked "with DNA damage (oh God, WHAT?), abnormal behavior, abnormal sperm, reduced reproductive success, reduced body and brain weight, and... increased hyperactivity symptoms." The idea of a hummingbird suffering from increased hyperactivity is going to be tonight's nightmare fuel.
And please brew some nectar and set up a feeder. It's been an unusually dry summer and these little guys have a hell of a lousy trip ahead of them.
Sketch of the Day!
You haven't had enough of Hummingbirds have you?
There's a new teaser trailer for
I've said before that if you go back and watch old trailers for the Disney classics, NONE of them inspire confidence. But this... this is like a "Scott Pilgrim" level of boneheaded advertising (and I say this because if "Rapunzel" bombs, it'll be for the same reason "Pilgrim" did: the wildly misaimed and utterly baffling marketing campaign.) Between this and the loathed "BLAM!!!" -uh- things, this is why you can't have nice things, Disney.