Wednesday, March 11, 2009


...and so are hummingbirds. You can follow the ruby throat migration at The site has a page with a map and when people see the birds in their area they can submit a siting which is then posted. Hopefully the map and site are kept updated (so many are not)! At the time of this writing, hummers are reported as far north as northern Louisiana-Georgia. This website also has some care and feeding tips worth looking at.

Reminder 1: hummer feeders should protect the nectar against ants and bees. Conventional wisdom says the birds won't drink when ants are there (maybe their formic acid taints the nectar taste?) and that bees, especially hornets, may attack hummers. Buy a feeder with an ant moat (or try a homemade version) and that is designed aganist bees.

Reminder 2: always, always, always check nectar often. We do daily. If it's cloudy or if you see any black mold. immediately discard the nectar and clean the feeder. Some experts say the birds won't drink from a dirty feeder but mold can sicken and kill them so why take that chance? Birds already face enough human created hazards!

Northern Orioles also drink sugar water nectar but can't use the bee-proof hummer feeder design. There are nectar feeders made for them. At you may find some info or check with our local hardware or feed stores. The foto here shows a female perched on an alder branch. There's usually a small group of orioles that hangs around Lake Bluff and it's a real pleasure to watch 4 to 6 or more bright yellow males mixed in with females jockeying at the feeder.

-Rich Krieger, Lake Bluff

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