Hummingbirds On My Front Porch
My neighbor keeps her bird in a cage
And feeds the birds that flock to the feeders all day long.
The caged bird doesn't seem to mind
I know Dog the cat takes his quota of the wild birds.
Perhaps it is due to the abundance of seed bird feeders
That caused me to put out just the one hummingbird feeder.
Perhaps I believe Dogamus Primus has less of a chance to catch the hummingbirds.
Perhaps because they remind me of myself.
They dart in so fast to drink their fill, looking over their shoulder
All the time; afraid they will be spotted and run off the premises,
Afraid if they cannot get a drink they will go hungry,
With nothing to get them through a night of cold desert winds.
But I love the hummingbirds, even when they fight one another.
I love to figure out which species is visiting my feeder.
There seem to be three, that's all, just the three so far,
But the season has just begun, its is finally a true desert winter
With a temperature variant of 40 degrees from dusk to dawn
Soon, the snow will come and stay for weeks on top of the Catalinas
And the hummingbirds need all the sugar water they can hold
Plus the nectar they gather from all the desert plants.
In the meantime I keep looking for another, newer and better feeder,
One with a wide mouth for ease of cleaning.
One with a short barrel body so the sugar water won't spoil so fast.
One with tiny holes to discourage the wrens and finches.
They are cute but, as I said, my neighbor feeds them well,
And big David and I watch the birds, hold hands and smile
Their antics are better than anything on television
NCIS and Fringe notwithstanding of course!
There are six species of hummers that are abundant to Tucson, Az.
Anna's Hummingbird, Costa's Hummingbird, The Black Chinned Hummingbird, The Broad Billed Hummingbird, The Broad Tailed Hummingbird and The Rufous Hummingbird.
Of those six, I think I have three at my front door at my feeder. I believe they are the Anna, the Broad Billed and the Black Chinned Hummingbirds. I have put up their pictures from the Hummingbird Society of Tucson website. I am relatively new to actually attempting to identify hummingbirds.
Wherever we have lived I have always fed the hummers. We have always had a cat and lets face it, they do love birds and hummers at least have a better chance against warrior cats. We have only had one cat that was not a warrior actually, that was Calle, she was such a sweetheart. She was our sons' cat and what a good friend she was to him!. She didn't really care for hunting and stalking and keeping dogs off the property, much less birds. She was content just to be in his lap or curled up next to her human!.
But hummingbirds, goodness aren't they warriors in their own right! They can be so territorial and aggressive against one another! It doesn't matter how many feeders you put up, they will just chase one another from one to the other, front to back, the epitome of fighter bombers of the sky!
Some people buy the nectar ready made, some of us just make the sugar water, some put red food dye in it, I don't think it really matters. The hummers seem to smell the sugar water and personally I think they prefer just boiled and cooled off sugar water myself. My Dad just used hot water and stirred until the sugar melted then put it out when it cooled off...I bring mine to a boil then turn it off and let it set on the stove top to cool off.
Regardless of the way you feed the birds the most important part is to change their water at least weekly and to clean all parts of the feeder thoroughly. For that reason I like the feeders with a wide mouth, not the ones that look like a soda pop container. I want to be able to get my sponge and my hand inside the container, sugar water ferments quickly and makes the feeder really gross.
I also discovered this year that buying a new one every now and then will bring more birds. Silly me, I still had the first one I ever bought, in 1995. This year I could see and hear the hummingbirds starting in October and they would look at that old feeder then look in my window at me...it took me a while but finally it hit me...they wanted a new one! That old plastic thing was probably tasting pretty bad after 15 years!