Meridian Star


May 26, 2013

Long Creek Community Development Club

MERIDIAN —     Get your hummingbird feeder ready – it’s time!

    John Isaacs informed members of the Long Creek Community Development Club May 13 at the clubhouse that the hummingbirds’ winter stay in Central and South America is over for another year.  

    The small but quick birds have come back to the states and Canada to mate, raise baby birds, and visit you.  

    Isaacs was lucky enough to have a hummingbird build a nest in a tree in his yard a few years ago. He was able to capture the quick construction of it on video, continued to video what unfolded next, and showed it to the club members.

    Two tiny eggs lay in the nest the size of a walnut. The nest is made in a day or two from lichen and spider webs so it can expand as the baby birds grow. Usually, a mama hummingbird only lays two eggs and will run the daddy hummingbird off if he gets close to the nest.  

    After 15-17 days, tiny little beaks break through into the world and mama gets very busy. She feeds the babies every 15-20 minutes by regurgitating nectar and insects to them.  

    “You can set your watch to it,” Isaacs said.  

    The babies grow very fast and help mama keep the nest very clean. The nesting period is 35 days. As this period winds down, the babies are testing out their wings while staying in the security of the nest. For days before they actually leave, the babies will lay on top of each other because they both can’t fit in the nest side-by-side.  

    Finally, the day comes when they are on their own seeking insects and nectar and that sweet water from your feeder. The "empty nest syndrome" has come upon the mama hummingbird, so she joins the others in entertaining you.

    “About mid-June to the end of June the hummingbirds really start showing up here,” said Isaacs. “In August they begin fattening up for migration.”

    He also said that hummingbirds are territorial and can frequent the same area four- to five years in a row. For this reason, Isaacs advises leaving nests alone – and because it is federal law not to disturb a migrating bird’s nest or feathers.  

    More tips shared by John shares are:

    • Don’t use store bought hummingbird nectar. It is not good for the birds.

    • Mix 1/4-cup of sugar to 1 cup of water; no red food coloring is needed.

    • Put petroleum jelly on metal posts to keep ants away from the feeders.

    • Don’t be fooled – there are no baby hummingbirds at your feeders. What you see is a hummingbird moth.  

    • Don’t be fooled – hummingbirds have no pigmentation in their iridescent feathers. The colors you see on the birds are reflections of light.  

    The next Long Creek Community Development Club meeting will be June 10 at 7 pm for everyone in the Long Creek area. Join the club members at their clubhouse at 4892 Zero Road free of charge.

    Yard of the Month for May goes to Larry and Diane Johnson of Zero Road.

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