Pacifica Tribune June 20, 2007


My Dadís Hummingbird Feeder

My dad gave me my first hummingbird feeder. He bought it to attract the ruby throated hummingbird, the only hummer native to Iowa. We never saw a single one.  Sometimes, we would see sphinx moths (they look just like hummingbirds) hovering at the peonies, but never a hummingbird.  He finally gave up and gave me the feeder. I used to torment him with stories about the numerous hummers here in California.  My favorite torment was when I told him that I had thrown out my back, shoveling the hummingbird dung that kept accumulating beneath his hummingbird feeder, now located here in Pacifica. I sent him pictures. 

These little critters are fascinating. They have a metabolism 50 times greater than ours.  Pound for pound, if we consumed as much energy as a hummingbird, we would catch on fire.  If they don't get enough to eat, they actually go into hibernation (torpor) overnight to conserve energy in an attempt to survive.

To power my little SUVs, I refill my feeders twice a week.  I use 1 part sugar to 2 parts water.  Yes, I know the people that "know" about hummers say you should use 1 to 4, to match the nectar in flowers. "They" also say that, like other wild animals, we shouldn't feed hummingbirds because it will stop them from migrating and disturb the natural order. WRONG!  Fill your feeders year around; your hummers are counting on you. I think that "they" should get a life and leave my hummers and me alone.

Although I do have an oriole that thinks heís a hummingbird, I think that most of my hummers are Annaís hummingbirds (Calypte anna).  I also occasionally get  Black Chinned, Allens, and Rufus.

So, go local and buy a hummingbird feeder for your dad.  Heís tired of ties.  Donít forget to buy a hook to hang it on but donít bother with the commercial food Ė just use regular sugar.

And try to pay less attention to what "they" have to say; they don't have your or our hummingbirdsí interests at heart.