The Lake Hills City Birds

Feeding Hummingbirds

Feeding Hummingbirds

Did you know it is easy to make your own hummingbird food? Use regular granulated sugar. Do not use honey or sugar substitutes. Avoid using dyes or food colorings in the nectar.

In the summer, I use 1/4 cup of sugar per 1 cup of water. During this season, the hummingbirds have plenty of flowers to obtain nectar from as well. As the weather becomes cooler, I adjust my recipe to 1/3 cup of sugar per 1 cup of water. I provide them with a little more sugar due to the scarcity of flowers around, as they rely on the additional energy for their migration journey.

When making a large batch of nectar to store in the fridge, I always boil it. If I am just making a small batch to change out in a couple of days, I do not boil it. I just pour the water from my Berkey and sugar together in a jar and shake it until it is dissolved.

During the hot days of summer, I change out the nectar every couple of days. So, I only put a small amount in each feeder. It can ferment quickly in hot weather. Change it often.

I have only seen Ruby-Throated hummingbirds in my backyard. That doesn’t mean that other types of hummingbirds haven’t visited. I just haven’t captured any on video or camera. Hummingbirds are so quick, it is difficult to tell exactly what kind they are unless they sit still for a few seconds. That’s why it is nice to have a camera set up at the feeders.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are those beautiful green hummingbirds we see at this time of year in Chattanooga, TN around our hummingbird feeders. The males have an iridescent red throat. It looks almost black when the lighting isn’t good.

Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds have a white throat with some light gray feathers. The females are typically larger than the males. Juvenile ruby-throated hummingbirds also have a white throat like their mothers.

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the only species that nest in Tennessee. All others are just passing through to their nesting locations. There are two migration routes that Ruby-throated hummingbirds follow in the spring and fall.

The first route is across the Gulf of Mexico. Before they make this long journey, they double their body’s fat. This may be why you see some chunky hummingbirds later in the season.

These small birds fly southwest over the Gulf of Mexico to reach Mexico. The distance across the Gulf of Mexico is over 500 miles. This is a direct route with numerous obstacles in their way.

The second route follows the coastline, outlining the Gulf of Mexico. This is the longest route, spanning over 2,000 miles. Along this route, the birds have the opportunity to rest and refuel.

No one is sure why some choose the shorter route over the longer one. I guess it is no different from us humans; some prefer the scenic route while others opt for the shortest and quickest one.

I have tried several different feeders. This is the favorite style among the hummingbirds that visit my backyard. I have the third one.

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The second favorite is my ring hummingbird feeder. I purchased mine on Amazon, but it is no longer available. You can purchase individual ones like this if you want to try feeding the hummingbirds from your hands.

The Ruby-throated hummingbirds are very territorial. You can often see one hummingbird chasing the others away. I even have a video of one chasing a chickadee off a bird feeder that was near its feeders. It helps to set up feeders in different areas of your yard instead of all together. That way, separate territories can be established, and one bird isn’t controlling all of the feeders.

It is also helpful to have a water source for the hummingbirds. A shallow bowl with water or a birdbath with a bubbling fountain will attract hummingbirds. Be sure to check out my YouTube channel for videos of hummingbirds, all of my backyard birds, cooking videos, gardening, and DIY projects.

The Lake Hills City Birds

Mourning Dove

I know most people do not want to hear this on a bird BLOG but Mourning Doves are the most frequently hunted species in North America. I enjoy watching these beautiful birds in my backyard. There is no hunting going on in my backyard. I also understand that these and many other species of birds have found their way to dinner tables around the world. It seems in today’s society the thought of an animal being used to feed a family is offensive. Yet, they are okay stopping by KFC and getting a bucket of chicken.

These beautiful birds are a buffy tan – brown with some pinkish tones on some. They have black spots on their back feathers. They are 9.1 – 13.4 inches long. They weigh between 3.4 – 6.0 oz. And have a wingspan of 17.7 inches.

This one has pink talons wrapped around the shepherd’s hook. They perch anywhere. I often seen them up on the power lines. They perch up there in a line.

Seeds make up 99% of the Mourning Doves diet. They can be seen sitting in my bird feeders for hours gobbling down the seed. Mourning Doves eat roughly 12 to 20 percent of their body weight per day. A lot of people mistake these birds for pigeons.

In the video below you can see them enjoying the bird bath.

The Lake Hills City Birds, Uncategorized

Tufted Titmouse

This little songbird is in my backyard year-round. It is the size of a sparrow or a little smaller.  Their Length is 5.5 – 6.3 in, weight is 0.6 – 0.9 oz, and wingspan: 7.9 – 10.2 inches. It is a beautiful little bird that is sort of a silvery gray color on top. It has white feathers underneath with a rust-colored patch under its wings. There is also a black patch above the beak and on the edges of the feathers.

When they fly, they remind me of a cartoon character. They seem to flutter about from place to place. They love peanuts. Anytime I put peanuts in the feeders they are the first to show up. They get one peanut at a time and quickly fly back to the nest. I jokingly called them hoarders. An article I read about them confirmed that they are indeed hoarders. They hoard food in the fall and winter. Their storage sites are usually within 130 feet of the feeder. In the summer they eat mainly insects. I’ve seen them eating plenty of seeds and peanuts in the fall and winter.

Another interesting fact about Tufted Titmice is they do not gather into larger flocks outside of the breeding season. The pair will remain on the territory. Oftentimes, one of their young from that year remains with them. I always see two or three here in my backyard over the winter. In the spring I see a lot more.

I have dog hair hanging in the backyard for the birds to use in their nests. I’ve seen this bird get plenty of hair for its nest. They nest in tree holes and nest boxes. They use holes that the woodpeckers made as nests. I have several large dead limbs that I’ve seen them going to. I’m assuming that’s where their nests are located. I don’t trim back dead tree limbs unless they are near the house. Otherwise, I leave them for the birds. These little birds are so much fun to watch in my backyard. I hope you get the pleasure of having some visit your yard as well.