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Sunday, June 7, 2015

After natural flower nectar, what's the best nectar for Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds and butterflies love nectar. However, food coloring (red or any other color) has never, in all of time, been proven to be effective. In fact it’s often genetically harmful here. On hot days, it probably will introduce some tiny bits of mold or bacteria, which will rapidly multiply in our Texas heat and pollute your whole batch of nectar, causing Hummers to go elsewhere for food.


       All flowers produce sugary nectar, naturally. But not all flower species have the same ratio of water to sugar. Some flower nectar is strong (2:1 possibly) and some is weak (6, 7 or 8 to 1). I recommend an average of 4:1 (4 parts water to 1 part sugar). CLEAR! No food coloring or vitamins!  That’s  just mythology or ad claims! 4:1 is the ratio that’s been shown to attract north Texas’ Hummingbirds best, both adults and juveniles.

Fast Hummingbirds!      As a Hummingbird speeds downward it’s flying, every second, almost 400 times the length of its body. To slow down, it spreads its wings like flaps on an airplane. At that moment its body is “pulling 10 Gs” - equivalent to ten times the gravitational pull of the earth (this is actually deceleration).

Fighter pilots can pass out above 7Gs since their blood gets unevenly distributed in the circulatory system. Hummingbird’s small size, however, prevents this.


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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