Wednesday, July 2, 2008

How to (Inadvertantly) Fool Hummingbirds

Step 1: Get a clothesline. A cool retractable one is nice.

Step 2: Don't retract it. Ever.

Step 3: Leave your bright red clothespins on the line. For days.

Step 4: Look out the window to see a hummingbird hovering at each "flower," thirstier by the second. oops.

Step 5: Feel a strange mix of guilt and amusement at this unintentional fraud.

Step 6: Plan to buy a hummingbird feeder. Soon. ish. (This doesn't help with fooling the hummingbirds, but it helps assuage the guilt mentioned in step 5.)

1 comment:

  1. If you don't know a lot about hummingbird feeders then the task of selecting and buying one can seem daunting. I thought you might find this information usful in helping with the whole process. Hope it does.

    There are two main types of hummingbird feeders: bottle or saucer style.

    The bottle or tube type of hummingbird feeder:

    This type of feeder is usually made of glass or plastic.

    It often contains red plastic flowers and bee-guards which are little plastic screens that keep insects away from the sugar solution on the feeding ports.

    Tube-type hummingbird feeders are very popular with hummingbirds because they simulate the tube shape of many nectar-bearing flowers.

    Bottle feeders tend to leak, because of the sun—the air that is trapped in the top of the bottle expands as it warms and pushes the nectar out.

    There is no perfect solution as to how to prevent hummingbird feeders from leaking or dripping - feeders will drip occasionally. However, there are several things that can be done to minimize the amount of leaking or dripping that occurs, so that you can truly enjoy your feeder.

    1. Always fill the feeder completely full with cool nectar. The stopper should be inserted and the feeder quickly inverted to avoid any air entering the feeder. Tube feeders operate on a vacuum principle, and the feeder must be filled completely full in order for the vacuum to form!

    2. Only hang your feeder in shade or partial shade. The cooler the feeder, the less likely it is to drip.

    3. Make sure to keep the feeder very clean by regularly cleaning the vessel with hot water and a bottle brush. Soap should not be used during cleaning, because its residue may cause your feeder to drip. As an alternative, try periodically using a vinegar rinse to thoroughly clean your feeder and then rinse well with hot water.

    4. As a last resort, the stopper assembly can be placed in very hot water to soften the tube. You can bend it slightly to increase the angle. This will stop dripping, but might make it more difficult for nectar to come down the tube.

    5. If the dripping of this type of feeder is too much for you, then try a top-feeding hummingbird feeder instead.

    Saucer-shaped hummingbird feeders:

    This type of hummingbird feeder is usually made of plastic.

    This type of hummingbird feeder has feeding ports in the top, making them bee-and wasp-proof.

    Saucer feeders are better than bottle feeders in direct sunlight.