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Saturday, August 3, 2013

A possible solution to hummingbirds' overly-aggressive behavior

Hummingbirds are one of the most aggressive, selfish birds we have in north Texas. They’re bullies. Thank heavens they’re so small or they might try to take over the world… or at least every tree and birdfeeder in it.  They'll chase others from feeders, even if the "chaser" isn't hungry. Juvenile hummingbirds, especially, seem to frequent feeders where they don’t get chased away.

If you have one nectar feeder, you know what I mean! But if there are two or more feeders in the yard, a “bully” usually has a tough time claiming them all. Particularly if the line-of-sight between the feeders is blocked by something like a shrub or corner of the house. The nectar at one feeder can’t be a lot better than at the other, since no Hummingbird likes settling for second-rate food. Both feeders have to be filled with fresh nectar and cleaned regularly.  In our heat, mold can grow easily and quickly. I refill our feeders about every 3 to 5 days (depending on the weather), running the parts under very hot water at the same time. Then, every two or three weeks, I’ll clean them with a solution of one part vinegar to 10 parts water.

      Notice that I never said anything about adding food coloring. That’s a total myth. Red food dye, according to several research studies, can cause genetic defects in Hummingbirds. Most nectar feeders are bright-colored anyway, so it’s totally unnecessary and just not worth the risk. Tie a bright ribbon on your feeder(s) - it works quite well.

Ladybug, don’t fly away home           

If you control insects with Ladybugs (and lots of people do) we recommend that you release them at dusk.  Why?  Since you have the domestic variety (and you should!), they instinctively return to their birthplace – probably in the Rocky Mt. foothills. But they don’t fly at night.  So, by releasing them at dusk they’ll stay in your yard and lay lots of eggs. And hungry birds won’t get them at night.

            Asian Ladybugs were imported and let loose several years ago. They can get in your house and  become a nuisance.  Don’t buy them!


1 comment:

  1. Hi. I have a few hummingbird feeders that have seen better days. I wash them with hot water and dish soap when I change the water and I brush out the holes, but there is a black stain in and around the holes. Are they still safe to use?