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We feed a large  number of hummingbirds each year mostly Rufous. It is a full time committment for Rick to keep them fed every day.  There is a group of volunteers that have come to band these little suckers for the last couple of years Their estimates are 50 birds per cup of sugar water consistantly per day. We have 14 two cup feeders that Rick fills every day, some days twice a day. That equates to over 700 birds. It starts in mid March with a few birds buzzing around where the feeders should be, so we know they are returning.  Within a week we go from a couple of feeders to about five and by the end of April we have the full fourteen out and filled every day.  For a while Rick is filling some of them twice a day.

Early morning and later in the evening before sunset the activity is high around each feeder.  The hummers are buzzing, chattering, chasing each other off ‘their’ feeder  and eating and eating and eating and eating. A dear friend gave me a pottery plaque “Bird and Breakfast” and for four months our bed and breakfast also becomes just that a bird and breakfast.

It is fun to watch the camera/people shy little birds trying to avoid our guests.  If the guests go to one feeder the birds go the one farthest away.  The guests move closer and the birds move back to the first one and on it goes. Those with the telphotos or a great deal of patience manage to get some great pictures.

When the were here banding the little birds they would catch them in the net then gently wrap them in a little blanket to keep them from flying off.  They checked many things such as sex, weight, length of bill, species, whether they are carrying or have laid an egg etc.  They did all of this with great care and just before they released them they put a tiny band on a tiny leg, gave them a drink then let them fly away. It was quite a process to watch. 

Around the beginning of July the birds start to move on and Rick starts taking down the feeders. By the end of July we only have a couple of pair of Anna’s that stay until later fall so we leave one feeder up for them. We always miss them when they leave but we know that next year they will return hungry as ever!

One of our guests apologized for not eating all of their breakfast. She said “it was delicious and she hated to leave it, but she ate like a bird at breakfast”.  I didn’t tell her that I heard birds ate their weight every day! 

This morning I mixed organic Apple juice and Blueberry juice and sprinkled a bit of cinnamon on top. Not a drop was left.


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January 2021