North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences. Several publications have recently included lists of hummingbird myths.
Hilton is arguably the most knowledgeable hummingbird specialist in the eastern United States. I will draw upon his list in developing my own half dozen myths. Myth 1. Colored water is necessary for hummingbird feeders. Here I quote from Hilton's excellent response: "Virtually all commercially made hummingbird feeders have red plastic parts that negate any need for food coloring. Although the jury isn't in about possible dangers of red dye to hummingbirds, such chemicals are additives that might cause harm; since the dye is not needed, why take the risk? Keep your sugar water fresh and curious hummingbirds will eventually find and frequent your feeder - no matter what color it might be.
Myth 2. You should not feed hummingbirds after Labor Day because you will delay their migration, possibly threatening their lives. The compulsive force of birds' migration instinct, acquired over thousands of years of evolution, will not be modified by a few cups of sugar water.
Hilton maintains feeders year round at his North Carolina preserve and has found that they have never affected hummingbird migration. Also, if you leave your feeder out, it may serve as a stopover diet supplement for birds coming through from farther north or it may even save lingering birds that, possibly because of injury, cannot migrate.
For example, we have had Baltimore orioles winter in this area, obtaining part of their food from hummingbird feeders providing these off-season supplies. If an oriole does stay in your yard, you can further assist it by setting out halved oranges or apples. Moreover, by continuing to supply your feeder late in the year, you may attract a vagrant hummingbird such as the rufous hummingbird, a rare visitor from the far west that has been recorded here several times in recent years.
These birds, whose normal range is along the Pacific coast, seem increasingly inclined to wander east in fall and often appear at feeders after our native ruby-throated hummingbirds have left. In November , several of us visited a home in Binghamton where we saw a still rarer westerner, an Anna's hummingbird, visiting a feeder. Myth 3.
2 thoughts on “Hitch a Thousand Miles to See a Friend – Postcard #56”
If I go on vacation and stop feeding my hummingbirds they will die. No, they will simply find other food sources. If they don't return when you come back, it is probably because they have found a neighbor's feeder to which they have accommodated. Perfect for camping, vanlife, dog owners or anyone that needs full access to the back of the car. RockyMounts tested on RVs, Sprinters, and Chevy Suburbans — the cantilevered arm swings out 41" so it works with all cars and trucks.
Saris Glide EX 4-Bike. While at the gas station you want to grab a snack from the back cooler and let Rover out for a well…you know. You walk around to the back of your vehicle and realize that you need to unload all these bikes to get access to the hatch. Sorry, Rover.
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