Sunday, April 12, 2015

The Hummingbirds Have Arrived

It is now time for the springtime hummingbird migration - which means, getting to see a LOT of hummingbirds in the garden.  We spotted our first pair last weekend on April 4.

I have several plant nectar sources for the hummers, but supplement with a feeder.  I fill the feeder with a simple syrup mix.  I boil 1 cup of sugar to 1 cup of water, let cool  and then place in the feeder. The birds have been drawn to this mixture much more than the red concentrated syrup or sugar powder purchased in big box stores.  I also tried doing a 4:1 mixture of water to sugar, but the hummer definitely prefer the higher sugar content of the 1:1 mixture.

Female black-chinned hummingbird.

The hummers are most active about an hour before sunset until sunset.  However, I still see them in the morning as well as throughout the day.  To be more specific, I tend to see the females throughout the day, and a mad swarm of males fighting over the feeder around dinner time.

Female Anna's hummingbird.

The females are very polite and take their turn at the feeder throughout the day (even though there are more than enough feeding holes for many of them to feed at one time).

The males are much more aggressive.  A couple days ago, I was standing just a few feet from the feeder and there were four black-chinned males fighting over the feeder.

They were very territorial.  While there are plenty of places for them all to feed, they were more interested in dive-bombing each other to stake their claim than in eating their dinner.  So macho.

Male black-chinned hummingbird.

I really thought they were going to run into me since they were so pre-occupied with fighting each other.  They kept zooming around my head and flying every which way around me.

It seems that if this bird could talk, he'd say, "Hallelujah!  I finally got a spot at the feeder!"

Each male would spend just a few seconds at the feeder before the others would gang up on him and shew him off.

The hummingbirds aren't the only ones that have been enjoying the delicious sweetness of the feeder.  Bees have been loving it as well.  First there were a couple:

Then several:

Then a whole swarm:

At first, I was a bit concerned that the bees would deter the hummers.  But, the hummingbirds don't seem to mind the bees too much.

They seem to know how to keep away from the bees, yet still get their sweet, sweet nectar.

I'm looking forward to spending more spring evenings watching these pretty little creatures from my back patio.


  1. Such wonderful photos! It looks like everybody is having a great time (humans included!).


  2. We have Annas year-round. They are relatively polite but when the Rufus out!