The Grand Portage Reservation is at the northeastern tip of Minnesota. The Air Quality Program has many ongoing projects in order to maintain healthy indoor and outdoor air. These projects include monitoring for regional haze and particulate matter, indoor air quality, invasive plant removal, public outreach, environmental education, alternative energy, and climate change.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Hummingbirds Are Almost Here!

With the early spring we have had here in northern Minnesota I was thinking that the hummingbird migration would be early this year, but according to the migration map they are only slightly earlier than average in some locations.

I put out my feeder this morning in anticipation of their imminent arrival, after cleaning it thoroughly with hot water and rinsing with a very light bleach solution and another hot rinse. For nectar I mix 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water - no need to boil. Keep the feeder clean and you can enjoy watching their amazing aerial antics all summer.

The photo is of a male Magnificent Hummingbird I photographed near the Monteverde Cloud Forest Reserve in Costa Rica, so don't look for him at your feeder unless you live in southern Arizona.

1 comment:

Zoe Ann Hinds said...

I would like to make a few suggestions concerning hummingbird feeder maintenance. It is my hope that people will find them to be quite useful and informative.

If you choose to make your own homemade nectar solution, I would suggest that you bring this solution to a boil for 1 1/2 to two minutes. This will ensure that the sugar is completely dissolved. Then let the nectar solution cool down before filling your feeders. You now have a mixture much more similar to that of the flower nectar.

Nectar solutions should be changed frequently, every three days or so, because hot weather can cause rapid bacterial growth. This will cause the nectar solution to spoil and then harm the hummingbirds if they were to feed on it.

It is not necessary to add food coloring, especially if the feeder has a red blossom at the feeding point.

Although there is a great deal of debate on this issuer, red food coloring is thought to be unhealthy for hummingbirds. Why risk harming the hummingbirds when the red food coloring isn't absolutely necessary to attract the hummingbirds?

Honey should not be used to feed hummingbirds because it attracts bees and favors the growth of a black fungus that causes a fatal liver and tongue disease in hummingbirds.

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