Such an unusual year this will be. So many timelines have been obliterated with people working from home and kids schooling from home and taxes being moved to July.
But mother nature’s timelines do not change. The rhythm of nature can always be relied upon. It is a constant in our lives. Right now, we need things that we can depend on to be constant and unwavering. It is one of the things that makes us feel secure.
So, normally the best thing about taxes being April 15 is that it is a reminder that the hummingbirds are returning from their winter away. April 15 at my house is always the date that I put out the hummingbird feeders. Taxes are just a side note. Once the feeders are out, I start watching for the magical wonder birds to return.
And once they return and become regular so they know where your feeders are and that they always have food – you can actually pull up a chair, hold the hummingbird feeder in your hands and feed they birds yourself. Hand feeding hummingbirds is magical, and it is a lesson in stillness and patience. You have to be completely still. Pretend you are a stone statue. If they see any movement – a twitch – they won’t come near you. But it is addictive once you have one visit the feeder as you are holding it. You can see their tongue come out to drink the nectar and hear their wings whiz and whirr. I have had them land on my finger thinking it was a perch for the feeder. I have had them hover in front of my face and look at me like they are seeing my soul. It is magic.
If you watch for them you will learn their feeding habits so you will know when to go out and try to hand feed them. I have always had the best luck in the evenings when they are coming in to stock up for the night.
While the kids are at home this would be a fun activity. My girls never had the patience to sit and be still until they were 12 or 13. It made it a little easier if I sat and got the hummingbirds to feed from me first then the girls could take turns trading places with me. It makes a cool family activity. It is meditative. It gets you outside. It keeps you at home. It is cheap.
Another activity is to put a mark on the feeder at the fill line when you fill it. Then see how much the hummingbirds are eating. I put feeders out at my cabin and they can go through a quarter cup of food in a day or two. Astounding when you consider how tiny they are. We have ruby-throated hummingbirds where I am. An adult weighs .11 ounces.
You can also learn to tell boys (they have the ruby throat) from girls. And you learn to tell the juveniles (much smaller and less colorful) from the adults.
If you don’t have a feeder – I recommend the simpler the better, nothing fancy. You want something that has a wide mouth because it makes it easier to fill and more importantly clean. It also makes it easier to hold.
To make hummingbird food use 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. You don’t need to buy food. Actually it is best if you do not buy food. You can make small batches so it doesn’t go bad. Warm your water enough to dissolve the sugar. Store any extra in the fridge. I normally only put 1/2-3/4 cup in the feeder at a time so I don’t waste food. I adjust based upon how much I see them eating. Do Not add any coloring to the food. That will harm the birds. They don’t need color to be enticed to eat. Make sure that you change out your food every two days if the weather is warm – even if it looks like it hasn’t been touched. If the weather is milder you can get away with 4-5 days.
I hope you enjoy the magic of the hummingbirds as much as I do. Hugs.