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Bye Bye Birdie!

Posted Thursday, September 15, 2011, at 5:47 PM

From what I understand, my hummers are all the ruby-throated variety. The female is simply green, so she doesn't look like the brilliantly-colored male. This is obviously a meeting of the Ladies' Circle!
Will our hummers be gone soon??

This cooler weather makes me wonder--When will our little hummingbird leave us and head south?

Each year, it seems that I have to check the internet for information on when the little birds arrive and leave our state. I try to have my feeders ready to go as soon as the weather is warm enough, without waiting for the hummers to fly to my windows and do their little "I want food!" dance. I could swear they see me inside! They chirp and bob up and down, as if to signal me!

According to my quick internet search on a mo.gov site, the birds leave for warmer climes in late August or September. I still have an abundance of them at my feeders, drinking about 4 cups of my homemade nectar per day.

I use 3 cups sugar for 1 cup of water, but the recipe on the mo.gov site is even stronger--4 cups sugar for 1 cup water. I mix the sugar in a 4-cup measuring cup with hot water, stir it up, and then put it in a pan on the stove to make sure the sugar is thoroughly dissolved. I don't usually boil it, though it's okay to do so. I've heard that it doesn't "go bad" as quickly if it's boiled, but my hummers drink it so fast that it doesn't have time to get bad. Of course, I let it cool, before I put it in the feeders and hang them out.

My theory about why I have so many birds is that I get my feeders out as FAST as I can--and I don't let them sit empty. I also provide two feeders on the same large window over my deck, so that I can accommodate the little bullies, who spend all their time chasing the other birds away!

Right now, I think the birds know that this cold spell won't last--so they're hanging around, drinking VORACIOUSLY to get themselves ready for the trip. My internet source says that there are more in the fall, because the young ones are added to the summer population.

I love these tiny, delicate creatures, with their incredibly fast wings, iridescent colors, and happy little chirps!

From the green hills of Tillman, this is your rural reporter, Madeline, enjoying the incredible change of the seasons. Hold on to Autumn as long as you can!

Showing comments in chronological order
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Little fellas and ladies are so busy feeding and entertaining, once I was wearing my cap with red letters "KU" and one little guy or gal landed on the bill of my cap. Happy trails you all, see yoou next spring.

-- Posted by Dexterite1 on Thu, Sep 15, 2011, at 7:44 PM

I've often wondered what happened to them during a cold night, so I looked it up. Their temps can drop 20 degrees during the night. It's a form of hibernation. Sometimes they conk out on branches for a while, and they can come to life when they're picked up.

-- Posted by goat lady on Thu, Sep 15, 2011, at 8:27 PM

Holy cow that recipe sounds rich! No wonder you have hummers buzzing around like bees! They're on a sugar rush!

From the recipes I've researched on line, it's 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, or for example, 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.

I bet the hummingbirds I missed seeing this year are hanging around Tillman because they heard there was "super food" up there!

-- Posted by lovebooks on Sat, Sep 24, 2011, at 9:07 PM

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Madeline DeJournett
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Madeline (Giles) DeJournett is the Advance writer for the North Stoddard Countian. A retired high school English/history teacher, she spent 32 years teaching in 5 schools in Missouri and Alaska. These days, she lives quietly with a menagerie of wild and domestic animals on 52 secluded acres in the remote Tillman hills south of Advance. She graduated from Dexter High School in 1960 and Southeast Missouri State in 1964. She can be contacted at advancensc@sbcglobal.net.
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