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Backyard Wildlife Adventures

Watching our backyard wildlife is a favorite pastime at our house. We have a birdhouse that the bluebirds occupy most of the spring. A few years back, we had 4 different bird couples nest in the birdhouse. Besides the bluebirds that year, we also had Carolina wrens, barn swallows, and black capped chickadees. We used to set out birdseed and had a birdbath to attract more backyard avian such as the titmouse, cardinal, blue jay, cedar waxwing, house finch, goldfinch, wren, barn swallow, black capped chickadee, and others. We eventually had to take down the bird feeder and remove the birdbath, because the squirrels, crows, pigeons, and grackles discovered our little bird paradise and would leave nothing for the birds we wanted to attract. Since removing those items, we still have the occasional cardinal, blue jay, goldfinch and house finch drop by - just not in abundance like we used to. And the woodpeckers that came around frequently stopped coming by when we took down the feeder and birdbath as well; although, I never saw them eating or drinking from them. We have plenty of acorns from the oak trees, so the squirrels still have plenty to eat. 

Rabbits and deer drop by from time to time. However, without rain for several days, there hasn't been much for them to snack on for a while. So, they've been scarce for about a month. It finally rained over the weekend so I'm hoping the grass will recuperate so these little cuties will pay us a visit soon. We're still waiting for a bear to show up. The Cherokee National Forest is only a couple of miles from our house, and bears have shown up at other houses in our area. 

A couple of weeks ago, a little hummer buzzed me while I was grilling out. And the next day, she buzzed me again while I was cleaning the grill grates. Right by my head! Was she trying to get my attention? I have no idea. But when she buzzed me the second time, my husband and I found the hummingbird feeder that was put in storage about 3 years ago (because I was busy with other things). I had no store-bought nectar, so I decided to make some from scratch.

Curious Hummingbird
Hummingbird spotted me standing at the window inside our kitchen and came over to check me out.
Thankfully, our outdoor security system captured this as I watched it happen in real time.
She's inside the yellow circle. Click on the picture to enlarge the image.

I had always heard that the water should be boiled to make hummingbird nectar. That's not true however. I did some quick research and discovered that if we can drink the water, it will be okay to make hummingbird nectar from it without boiling it. It just takes a few more minutes for the sugar to dissolve. That's much faster, though, than waiting for boiling water to cool down in the fridge. Everyone on the internet says a 4-to-1 water-to-sugar ratio is typical. I've been using a 3-to-1 ratio - just a little more sugar for this energetic creature. She has been visiting more frequently since I've done that. 

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

  • 3 parts water to 1 part sugar (example: 15 oz. of water to 5 oz. of sugar or 1 1/2 cups of water to 1/2 cup of sugar) 
  • Stir
  • Allow sugar to settle for a few minutes
  • Stir again
  • Continue until all sugar is dissolved (sugar water will be clear)
  • Pour into hummingbird feeder

Hummingbirds are very territorial and will fight over the same feeder - even though there are several "flowers" for each to sip from. So, if you can place a few more feeders around the yard, you may be able to attract more hummingbirds. This is what I've read anyway. We now have 2 hummingbird feeders in our yard spaced about 10 feet or so apart (because we want to still be able to watch them when they visit), but we still have only 1 hummingbird. A male came by not long ago, but the female has apparently run him off. It may be that we will get more as the hummers start migrating back to Mexico in the fall. I don't know. If that happens, I'll definitely report it here! : )

I change the nectar every 3 days, because the nectar can ferment or become moldy if left in the feeders for too long. That's definitely not healthy for the hummingbirds. I also like to hang an ant guard with the feeders. I hope you'll enjoy the short hummingbird video below. Thanks for visiting my site today. 


Hummingbird feeding

We had to cut down our butterfly bushes in spring 2023 because they were dead for some reason, and I miss our butterflies, snowberry clear wing moths (look like bumblebees), and other smaller nectar-drinking visitors. So, I'm going to get another butterfly bush next year. I'll keep it in a container to hopefully protect it from whatever killed my other 2 bushes. That should also help me control how big it will get. The other 2, before they died, were getting too big to keep the dead flowers cut off. 

One last video today is of the little bee that has been active around my bees' knees petunia. She tickles me the way she'll patiently wait on the side while I water the petunia. She doesn't get mad at me as I suspected she would when I interrupt her feeding. But in the video, she's simply enjoying the nectar.

bee in bees' knees petunia

May you discover God's beauty in nature,

Patricia

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