I went out on the deck today to relax. Had one of my beekeeping books in hand, my floppy hat, reading glasses….and do you know what? I had just gotten comfortable when the warriors buzzed over me all a-twitter. Flashes of green and red whizzed by, suddenly high, then low, and all of them congregating at my hummingbird feeder.
Now backing up just a little….yesterday they were out of syrup. So a friend of mine asked me about what I fed them and I’ve read that they need vitamins in their diet. I’m no bird expert, but I started out feeding them a mix bought at the store. All I had to do was add water and stir. It had all the added vitamins but the sugar ingredients were vague. I am always skeptical of some of these mixes, expecially sweetened mixes, since high fructose corn syrup is laden with chemicals that are unhealthy. This is on my radar because I keep honey bees (see my honey bee blog at http://www.talesfromthehive.com). Corn syrup has recently been found to interfere with honey bees’ ability to navigate back to their hive. They leave home, get confused and end up lost. Could it do the same thing to the hummingbirds? Well, I soon switched (out of concern) to making my own syrup from organic cane sugar and water. No added vitamins, but hopefully no harmful chemicals in the mix. Yesterday though the vitamin thing got to me and I thought I’d supplement one feeding with the mix to make sure I wasn’t depriving the birds of needed nutrients….
Big mistake! They turned their beaks up and wouldn’t have a drop. I thought I could outwait them and maybe they would change their mind. No such luck! I found myself putting out my home recipe again this morning and within minutes they were back…all 15 or more of them. I actually have two feeders outside, but they seem to prefer one over the other….and they fight. We are talking wars going on. The chattering and twittering would undoubtedly translate into all kinds of unprintable material!
And me? Well I never got my reading break. I went back inside to get my camera. You can see for yourself they weren’t very nice to each other. This poor little guy got his feathers pulled. He was pretty ruffled after that!