Friday, November 6, 2009

Ask the Avimor Bird Guy...hummingbirds in Nampa?

From JoAnn in Boise:

A friend of ours in Nampa put up a hummingbird feeder this last year, but never had a single hummingbird come to it. Are there no hummingbirds in Nampa?

Avimor Bird Guy:

That is really strange. There must be some simple explanation.

First off, I know Nampa has hummingbirds as I grew up there. My in-laws also live there and regularly get Black-chins at their feeders; not as many as I get at my home in the foothills, but they still get a steady flow of them from Spring to Fall.

Let's ask your friend what color his/her feeder is. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color of the feeder spout; the little flower shaped part where the bird sticks in its bill. My wife, with a lot more concern for appearance and taste than I have, gave me a very attractive green glass hummingbird feeder for Father's Day to replace the all-to-conspicuous normal red ones that hummers actually like. It had all kinds of decorative ornaments hanging off of it and was very pretty. I put it up, but never once did I see a hummingbird approach it. I think it was simply the wrong color.

Other things that may impede hummers from coming could be:

* the nectar recipe - it may not be what they want. Check out a simple and proven recipe here.

* proximity to cover and perching place - As a kid I thought hummers spent their entire life flying except when they sat on their nests at night. Wrong! Hummers actually spend 80% of their time perched. I watch them feed for a couple minutes and then fly to my tree and perch on the branches for extended periods. A suitable place to perch nearby might be more inviting to the hummingbird.

* Are there flowers nearby that hummers like? Maybe your friends do actually live in a hummingbird dead-zone where there are not enough food sources for them to even venture into the area. I wonder if there are geographic reasons that make hummers go around that area. I kind of doubt this though. I've read the hummingbirds will often fly over areas from a fairly high altitude and will drop down if they spot a feeding source. Perhaps planting some native columbine or agastache around the yard will create a hummingbird frenzy!

Maybe other readers know why hummingbirds aren't coming to visit your friend...Thoughts?

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