Past the point of being discouraged.

eigdeh(z6 NJ)May 28, 2010

... though I will keep on going through the motions for a while.

This year I saw my first hummer two months earlier than last year, then nothing for weeks. Then a couple of weeks ago they seemed to be taking a liking to my feeders and I was psyched! I had a good amount of hummers for me. What that means is if I plant myself by my window after dinner and I see one every half hour that is good. This is way too much effort to see one in my opinion. In the morning if I see one or two sightings that is good. Zero sightings between 9 and 6. If I donÂt make the "effort" to look out for a long period of time I am lucky to see one at all. Also, even in the best of times I have never noticed a drop in the sugar water, and I have made my share of it!

One week ago the hummers all went somewhere else. In the last 3 days I have seen maybe one hummer, the 3 or so days before that maybe one or two a day and he did not stick around for more than a few seconds.

There must be some hummingbird heaven close by and I only get the ones that are chased away. Ctnchpr states he can see at least 10 anytime he looks out. I wonder if there is a place near me like that and that they donÂt venture out much, though there is no reason I can think of that would keep my yard from being a hummer heaven.

ItÂs been years of effort in planting flowers, keeping feeders clean, etc. For sure things should be better than this. :C(

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I have had periods hummingbird drought as well. They are funny and seem to be creatures of habit especially with regards to which type of feeder they like. I have had a feeder in the front window for the last 3 years which occasionally gets a hit or two, yet in the back the hummers suck one feeder dry and leave the other full. This week, on a lark, I bought a new dish feeder in a purple color, (all my others are red), and set it temporarily next to the low use feeder in front for lack of a better place. Low and behold, the feeder was promptly set upon by hummers. It's crazy.

Do you feed other birds? The hummingbird feeders that get the most use for me are near the regular bird feeders - thistle, sunflower and suet- goldfinch, nuthatch, chickadee, and woodpeckers abound. Maybe they signal good eats at my place? I honestly don't know. But I will say that at my hummingbird feeders I only get one bird at a time. The others zip back and forth waiting for a turn. I have seen feeders elsewhere that are covered with hummers so I don't know what the problem is. Maybe the rufous hummers are too territorial.

Here's what has worked for me, several feeders - different types and locations, and heights, 1:4 ratio sugar water, clean frequently, plants that hummers like, get the feeders up early - before they arrive in the area (although we do have some that hang around all winter, and believe me they are insistent on being fed), a water source and particularly a moving water source like a small drip faucet into the birdbath or a mister in the bird bath.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 12:43PM
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There may be some other reason they avoid your feeders. Last year I was swarmed with hummers, this year not so much. The single difference is that we have a cat now that likes to go outside during the day. Last year he didn't go out. I think birds can smell a cat or a snake from 50 feet.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 1:40PM
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I dont really know what to say it appears you are doing everything right. Feeders , hummer plants changing and cleaning every 3 days or so. I know its easy to say but best not to stress about it , no amount of worrying will bring hummers to your yard. The first few years I didnt have many hummers either sightings during the day were non existant. Then in the evening I might see a couple. It must have been the third or fourth year before I noticed males start to fight over my yard. Thats when I knew something interesting might be starting. Do you have a window feeder or a feeder hanging near the window. I have two feeders hanging on my pc window a first nature and a jewel box hanging side by side. They wont even give the jewel box a second look as long as the first nature is there. Im sitting only a couple of couple of feet from that window with blind up and they see me everytime sometimes they flare off sometimes they dont. Thats all part of the process. Im hoping your luck will change soon with the hummers.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 2:49PM
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Maybe you just need to see the Glass Half FULL.
Like you, when I first started attracting the Hummingbirds to my yard, I wanted them to come right to my sliding glass doors so I could observe them up close and personal. But just like us, they don't take kindly to being watched while they eat !

I moved the feeder out in the shade of a big oak and what do you know, I observed a Hummingbird visit the feeder.

Then I planted some of the native hummingbird nectar sources for my area and found I could have them in my yard without having to work cleaning feeders ! I haven't put a feeder out in many years and yet have hummingbirds every year !

Now I may have 2 or 3 hummingbirds that I can tell , year after year, after year as I am not located in the center of the migratory route, and I have accepted that. I still feel like my efforts are rewarded and rewarding to the Hummingbirds that call my yard and flowers "theirs".

Think of your efforts of maintaining clean feeders with fresh nectar and planting Natural nectar sources that are native to your area as HELPING the Hummingbirds that come to visit your yard.

If you can, take your cup of coffee outside at first light one morning, maybe even wear a red shirt and be still while enjoying your coffee and you just may find the hummers are hitting your yard while you would otherwise be elsewhere. Same thing applies to the last light of the day too as the Hummers fill up before the night falls.

Don't give up on the Hummers, you may only have a couple regulars, but as each one of us take care of a couple of "regulars" we build up the numbers of the whole species and help keep them around even if only for the occasional glimpse and the smile that accompanies it !

Good luck,

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:10PM
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hawkeye_wx(z5 east-central IA)

Ken, you are doing better than I am. I started the feeder clean/refill cycle in mid April and only saw my first hummer earlier this week. I have only seen a couple since then and I've had to wake up a 5:30am just to see them for a few seconds at the feeder. This is my second year attracting hummers so I thought I'd see more on the way north during May. Oh, well. I still hope to get more during August and September. Ultimately, some of us just don't get the big numbers others get and we just have to deal with it and continue refilling the feeder. I only have one feeder so it doesn't require much effort.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 5:25PM
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I haven't even seen one yet. I only get one or two visitors a year. This year I added more red monarda, Lucifer crocosmia, and five more feeders all around my house. I only wish I could see a hummingbird once a week much less once every half an hour.

My in-laws live about 45 minutes from us. They have no flowers in their yard, but get flying visitors constantly. It just doesn't seem fair at times. I'm sure once the season gets further along and more flowers are in bloom the activity will pick up. Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Kim's Garden

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 8:59PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Thanks everyone for responding! I am still filling feeders and hoping.

Still not as good as it was a few weeks ago. Some days got none, some days one or two visits for just a second, and a day or two where one comes a few times before sunset and spends a little time.

    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 3:15PM
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A little hint that might help put your yard on Hummingbird maps; Red Ribbon !

My neighbors thought I'd lost my mind at first, but once I told them why, they thought it was "normal" for me .

Take red ribbon and tie small, flower size pieces in all the shrubs , lower tree branches, on your clothes line, the tomato plants , your hammock, or anything else that does'nt run when it sees you coming. We all know Hummingbirds are attracted to red and believe me, they check out every red object they see.

Sooo with all the red ribbon, the more chances a passing bird will spot your yard, come to investigate and then find your nectar source, whether that be a feeder or natures own nectar sources in the plants you have for them. Once they find the food source they usually claim it for their very own .
Since no one on this post has the "problem " of being on a heavily traveled migration highway, you will find that one or two hummingbirds will run off any other visitors that try to visit you as well as each other. That happens in my yard. They don't like to share here at all.

Just a thought, it worked for me and the ribbon I used was red surveyers tape, cheap and available at any hardware store (or home supply box store)

Good luck and don't give up, they will come, maybe not in the numbers you or I would like, but you will get a couple that call your yard, "theirs."


    Bookmark   June 5, 2010 at 9:44PM
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