Tag Archives: hummingbirds

Summer’s last notes

A chill has come on early. Our Septembers are usually hot. Not now. I wanna share a few last summer things before nobody cares anymore, me included.😊

If you read this blog awhile, you’ll know I’m a frequent salvager of roadside finds. Things seemed scarcer this year but I snagged a few items. Last month I came upon a big pile of stuff. I only picked around the edges but there I found a crazy lamp. I had no need for a turquoise Chinese Dragon lamp but I could imagine the ceramic statue as a free-standing decoration. I took it home, dismantled the lamp portion and made a spot for my find outside. About 15″ high, he certainly has a presence!

Originally, the metal lamp post went up behind his back and the shade was over his head. Um, no.


i don’t understand videos of dozens of happy hummingbirds cheerfully sharing a single feeder because all my hummingbirds – 2 or 3 max – do every year is fight over the feeder. Nonethless, I replaced the hummingbird feeder with a fresh one not long ago. The plastic on the old one got cruddy fast so I was cleaning it & making fresh sugar water frequently. Too frequently. After I put out the new one, I could see it looked clean and still had plenty of sweetened water in it, so I let it be. After a number of days I noticed that when a hummingbird would come along, it wouldn’t stay. I thought maybe they just didn’t like the new feeder.

When I brought the feeder in & dumped the old sugar water I about gagged. Although it and the feeder looked clean, the water REEKED, like when you’ve left flowers in a vase too long.😦 Now I knew what those hummingbirds had been thinking when they popped by and hastily left. Imagine the following in a high, squeaky, indignant voice:

This slop is disgusting! What, are you trying to KILL us?! I wouldn’t feed this swill to my worst enemy! Who was just here by the way! PETA is going to hear about this!

Hummingbird assessing fresh sugar water in new feeder


I grew a “Spanish flag” vine in a big pot from seed. I think flowering vines are great, especially when they grow fast, so fast you see daily changes. I thought it’d be a nice diversion this summer.

Just starting to grow Jul 12

It’s supposed to get great blooms in “late summer, early fall.” So far I’ve succeeded in growing a green vine on a 10′ bamboo stick, not a flower to be had.😐 I’ve faithfully kept it watered and everything.

Aug 20

Aug 29

Sep 14

Ah well. I can’t imagine my silly vine-on-a-stick will get any flowers at this point – the leaves are turning fall colors – but if it does, I’ll snap a picture. This vine is sort of like this summer, it went along but didn’t really get anywhere when all was done.

I’m seeing red (in the garden that is)

From one year to the next you never know what will be the star of the garden. There are so many variables that affect plants. Just because a plant did great last year doesn’t mean it will be great this year. At any rate, in early summer I went to a local first-time event billed as a plant sale and swap, promising lots of annuals, herbs, and vegetable plants. Sadly, it didn’t live up to its billing but someone had dropped off several very nice annual flowers for the swap just before I arrived (I brought a few plants for the swap too). I took a couple, including one I’d never heard of, a Dipladenia.

The tag said it’s a sun lover, drought-tolerant, upright mounding, with nonstop blooms that’s attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. I put it in a hanging pot with good soil and it has indeed bloomed nonstop. I added a purple petunia a little later – I thought the colors worked together. (And that’s the only petunia I planted that either lived or doesn’t look like hell now.) The butterflies do like it but the hummingbirds aren’t that interested and devote most of their time to fighting with each other over the hummingbird feeder anyway. It’s so gorgeous and exotic-looking, it constantly draws my attention.

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Today on “As the Hummingbird Turns, um, Flies”

Until I started regularly putting out and tending a seasonal hummingbird feeder several years ago, I had no idea that these amazing little birds squeak. That’s right, they emit a sort of happy, squeaking sound at the feeder. Not all the time, but once in awhile. Don’t worry, this isn’t going to be an educational, ornithologically correct post, as I doubt you want to read that, and also I don’t really feel like looking up facts.

The squeaky noise sounds like their version of, “OH-MY-GOD-THIS-IS-SO-GOOD, HAPPY, HAPPY, MORE, MORE.” That’s pretty much what I too say about my food in human-speak. It’s really cute. Not what I say, what the birds say squeak. The source of their pleasure is straight, unadulterated sugar water – no wonder they fly around all hyped up. Who else gets that?! (Now that I think about it, if I looked into the matter, I’d probably find a sugar water controversy afoot somewhere online not unlike the low-key debate over regular bird feeding. But I’m not going to look.) Not only do they get sugar water, the concoction is supposed to be made extra strong at the beginning of the season in order to hook attract them. Although once they’ve found a open buffet, they’ll return in following years to the same location. Now that’s a GPS, baby.

Unfortunately, hummingbirds are not the only ones interested in sugar water. So besotted are ants with the sweet liquid, that a bunch of ’em will go right through the feeding ports into the cylinder. Not only are appetite-ruining ants swarming the outside, but dearly departed comrades (“We told them to just take one drink and step aside, but nooooo, they didn’t listen”) are floating inside. The hummingbirds are, reasonably, put off by this spectacle on their meal and shy away, which is probably just as well because I worry about them getting ants lodged in their tiny throats and choking. If birds choke. I tried various homemade foils, which didn’t work, so I caved and bought a rather ingenious ant moat (that’s not what the manufacturer calls it, but that’s what it is) that sits above the feeder and prevents the ant coalition from reaching it. Ants. Don’t. Swim.

Here’s the feeder and ant moat set-up: 
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I don’t know why it has all those ports; I believe I saw two birds feeding nicely together at the same time precisely once (and that was probably only because the male wanted some hot lady hummingbird action that night). Far and away what do the magic birds do most of the time? Fight. Seems my lovely little friends are very territorial – doesn’t matter how much liquid chow is available – ain’t nobody else gonna have it. Mine, mine, mine. One bird, who apparently has had enough or isn’t hungry at the moment, will sometimes sit quietly in a nearby tree or shrub and wait for a competitor to approach the feeder and then fly in, all “I GOT YOU” and chase it off. “So what if I’m not playing with it right now. Any minute, I might want it.
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Sometimes I feel like I should be able to teach them to share, as if I could convince the mini-birds of the silliness in their greedy ways. Near the end of the season, with hundreds if not thousands of miles of flight ahead of them, when you’d think they’d want to be carb-loading, their fighting seems especially ill-advised. By then, though, I can only offer a head-shaking, wry word: “You’re burning daylight, little bird. When you fall out of the sky from exhaustion somewhere over Texas, whose fault will that be?”