We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
20381 Mack Avenue
Grosse Pointe Woods, MI 48236
Phone: (313) 881-1410
Fax: (313) 881-2008
Email: Send Message
Mon - Fri: 10:00 am - 6:00 pm
Thurs: 10:00 am - 8:00 pm
Sat: 9:30 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Free parking available at rear of store.
In the last few weeks, reports have been trickling in about the arrival of Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers, a type of woodpecker. True to their name, these birds will drill concentric, evenly-spaced holes on trees in order to get them to weep sap. This is the first food available for hummingbirds when they arrive. Ruby-throated hummingbirds will also eat the flying insects that are attracted to the sap wells, darting about and snatching them with their tongue in mid-air.
There is a hummingbird map that shows the most recent reports of hummingbirds sighted as they move up from the south. Check out www.hummingbirds.net. As of April 3rd, hummingbirds were seen as close as southern Kentucky.
Find a quiet place in the yard to hang the feeder, away from your other feeding stations. Make sure that the hummingbirds will be easy to see from your windows. Window mounted hummingbird feeders can be delightful.
If available, place the feeder near flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds. Using a small pole that allows the feeder to hang at the flower level is optimal.
Place the feeder near protective cover where hummingbirds can seek shelter in bushes or trees. Hummingbirds also need a small snag, a branch cleared of leaves, to sit upon so that they can digest their nectar. They will also use a snag to watch for flying insects, which they will catch on the wing, consuming them for needed protein. You can make a snag by removing leaves from a branch purposefully or you can purchase a commercial resting spot such as a Hummingbird Swing.
Hang the feeder in a location that has some shade to help slow nectar spoilage. However, make sure the feeder stays visible to the birds as they fly over. Using a sun and shade guard can provide both added visibility and protection for nectar.
Place the feeder out of the reach of cats and other potential predators.
Think of nectar as sweet tea. If the weather is cooler, 60 degrees, then leaving the nectar for two or three days is acceptable. However, if you left a glass of sweet tea out on a day of 90 degree weather, possible spoilage would suggest that you wouldn't want to drink it. The same would be true of nectar -changing in hot weather every day would be best. Rinse your feeder out with hot water and clean the feeding ports with a brush to make sure that you prevent a build-up of mold.
Commercial nectar that you purchase should be free of red dye. The sugar used in boxed nectar is superfine and can easily be made with boiled water, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. For a home-made version, the ratio is four parts water to one part sugar (ex: one cup of water to ¼ cup sugar). Boil the water to rid it of chlorination and allow the sugar to dissolve easily. Pour it over the sugar and stir until dissolved. Once cooled off, fill your feeder and keep the rest in a nectar bottle in the refrigerator. Do not use dyes, brown sugar or honey.
The nectar that flowers produce is the same strength of sweetness throughout the year. Since what we put in our feeders mimics nature, keeping our nectar recipe the same is recommended.
A hummingbird builds its’ nest with thistle or dandelion down held together with strands of spider silk and sometimes pine resin. The female stamps on the base of the nest to stiffen it, but the walls remain pliable. She shapes the rim of the nest by pressing and smoothing it between her neck and chest. The exterior of the nest is decorated (probably camouflaged) with bits of lichen and moss, held on with spider webs. The nest takes 6-10 days to finish and measures about 2 inches across and 1 inch deep. You can offer what a hummingbird needs by leaving spiders in your yard, not using pesticides that would eliminate them, and by offering soft, downy material if you do not have it naturally. Commercial nesting material is available and can be extremely enjoyable for purposes of watching – see this great video of hummingbirds using Hummingbird Helper.
Since hummingbirds must wake up and fuel immediately, check first thing (daybreak) in the morning if you want to see if the feeder is being visited. Make sure that you are changing your nectar frequently – spoiled nectar means that they will visit and try and learn that your feeder is not a place to visit.
For such little birds, hummingbirds can be very feisty and aggressive when defending their territories, which include nectar feeders. Multiple feeders, spread throughout your yard, will encourage more hummingbirds to visit and keep bullies at bay. Speaking of feeders, these little birds have BIG appetites. Hummingbirds are constantly on the move, eating about every 10 minutes, and not just nectar. They spend more than 25% of their time foraging for small spiders and insects to obtain essential amino acids and other nutrients. Hummers use so much energy flying that they can eat double their weight in nectar and insects each day. Despite popular belief, hummingbirds do not suck up nectar with their bills. They actually lap it up with their tongues. While dipping their grooved tongues into nectar sources at up to 12 times a second, the nectar is drawn up and into their mouth each and every time. Hummingbirds are VERY fast. They often seem to explode away from a feeder like a dragster. They typically fly at 30-45 mph, but can reach up to 60 mph! They can hover and are the only birds able to regularly fly backwards and occasionally upside down. They do this because of an extremely mobile shoulder joint.
For the best chances of attracting hummingbirds, try following these simple tips:
The follow video clip was submitted to us by customer Melissa Puppos, who had the good fortune of capturing on film this female Ruby-throated Hummingbird, collecting nesting materials in the form of spider webs. How cool is that!?
Orioles are known to enjoy orange slices, grape jelly and mealworms offered from tray-style feeders. They will even use the protein-rich mealworms to feed their nestlings. Nectar feeders are also attractive to orioles, supplementing the natural nectar they typically find in flowers. Treatment of the nectar and feeders is similar to that outlined above, though orioles tend to be drawn to orange while hummers like red feeders. Be patient and keep the foods fresh, replacing them every few days and be sure to keep your feeders clean, too. Once you've followed our list of tips and tricks, the rest is up to the birds to find you!