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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Aggressive Hummingbirds may be calmed by multiple feeders



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.  Juvenile Hummingbirds, especially, seem to frequent feeders where they don’t get chased away.

If you have one nectar feeder, you know what we 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 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 6 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 can cause, according to several research studies, genetic defects in Hummingbirds. Most nectar feeders are bright-colored anyway, so it’s totally unnecessary and just not worth the risk.


OWEN YOST, in addition to being a blogger, is a licensed Landscape Architect emeritus who has lived and worked in north Texas for over 30 years. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award of the Native Plant Society of Texas, and is a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA), International Federation of Landscape Architects, National Wildlife Federation and the Audubon Society. His office is at in Denton.


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