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Hummingbird feeders are like a bird watcher's Pied Piper!

Posted by Mr. Hachis | On: Oct 22 2010

Hummingbirds are marvelous creatures. We set up hummingbird feeders just so that we may watch them. They're like iridescent Christmas bulbs with the head and wings of a bird. Their wings can flap 80 to 100 times a second, about 10 times faster than their marble-sized hearts. The speed with which they flap their wings creates a humming sound, hence their name, the hummingbird. Let's take a look at these fascinating birds and see why you may want to set up hummingbird feeders in your garden.

Most hummingbirds have large eyes. Some eyes are a yellow gold with wide, black pupils. The eyes of the 'Lucifer' hummingbird are more narrowed and sinister looking. Their beaks are like long straws, all the better to lick the nectar from goblets of colorful flowers, or from the just as colorful hummingbird feeders we hang to delight in their beauty. Hummingbird feeders are typically small bulbs that have a small hose at the base that oozes a drop of sugar water each time the hummer licks one. The sugar water usually consists of one part sugar to four parts of water. Although hummers lick nectar and sugar water like a child licks a lollipop, with pure joy, their staple isn't nectar at all; they need the nectar primarily to fuel their wings that are adapted to pursue their prey.

When flying insects are your main fare, you need a flying insect's speed, as well as agility, in order to fly straight up, down, or to turn sharply to the sides when the insect makes a dodge. Their upper wing bone rotates 180 degrees, giving them that amazing ability. Their double tail of feathers does the 'steering'. When they hover, they barely move. When they dart away, they describe long, elegant paths that suddenly angles, when an insect catches their eye. Some of us like to watch hummers hover as they eat from one of our hummingbird feeders; others prefer they perch so that they can see their scintillating wings. You can purchase feeders with or without perches, as you like. Most hummingbirds perch on flowers when they can. Whether they're hovering or perching, You can't help but be fascinated by these lovely avians, with their brilliant colors and captivating natures. Somehow they always leave you with a smile.

To enjoy them as often as possible, hang your hummingbird feeders close to your window, but be sure to put some stickers on the window so they won't see it as a clearing and crash into it! Hummingbird feeders must be kept clean. Check the sugar solution often; it can go bad in just a couple of days. The basin shaped hummingbird feeders are easier to maintain, while the bulb types require a brush. They come in all shapes and sizes, usually created to serve as an ornament as well as a feeder. Choose one that fits the style of your house, that's colorful, even flower shaped, attracting their natural instinct. Feeders range from as little as $12 to as much as $27, and they can be purchased at pet stores and even general stores.

If you don't live in the Americas, you can't use a feeder. Hummingbirds are found only in the Americas, although in past ages they may have lived elsewhere. There are some 330 species, most of the varieties living along the equator; only 16 varieties live in North America. In the western United States, the Rufus is the most abundant variety, while in the east it's the ruby throated hummingbird you'll see most often. Seeing them is the point to hanging hummingbird feeders outside. For one moment your world will seem like a magical fairytale.

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