We’re passionate about birds and nature. That’s why we opened a Wild Birds Unlimited Nature Shop in our community.
#13-33324 South Fraser Way
Abbotsford, BC V2S 2B4
Phone: (604) 852-1960
Email: Send Message
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
Sun: 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
8810-C Young Road
Chilliwack, BC V2P 4P5
Phone: (604) 792-1239
Email: Send Message
Mon - Sat: 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
|Male Rufous Hummingbird||Female Rufous Hummingbird|
Hummingbirds are among the smallest of creatures. Found only in North, Central and South America, hummingbirds weigh less than an ounce (or as much as 1 penny!), migrate immense distances and are the only birds that can hover and fly backwards. Our summer resident humminbird (as well as the most common hummer in BC) is the Rufous Hummingbird. They are the only male hummingbirds that are a rufous-brown and white with a red gorget. They arrive in the Abbotsford/Chilliwack region from March 15-31 and stay until the end of August. Depending on where you live, you may also have Calliope (mountainous regions), Black-Chinned and Anna's hummingbirds.
The Following is recommended by the Experts:
* Boil 4 parts water and 1 part sugar until sugar disolves.
*Let cool, then use in your hummingbird feeder.
*Store in rest of solution in refrigerator.
*Change in cool weather once a week
*Change in warm weather twice a week
*Change in hot weather three times a week
NOTE: Do not use any food coloring. Do not use anything other than white sugar. Stronger solutions (2:1 ratios) are more difficult for hummers to digest and can be fatal.
Hummingbirds have fantastic memories. They are capable of remembering where flowers and feeders were found the previous year and then go to that exact same spot. If they don't find a feeder there yet, they will certainly let you know! So don't forget, hang your feeder just before your hummers are due to arrive.
Hummingbirds, especially Rufous, are ounce for ounce one of the most aggressive birds. They will claim as many feeders as possble and keep busy chasing away all other hummingbirds. If this happens to your yard, the best solution is to hang several feeders, making sure that the resident hummer cannot see all feeders at one time. This will allow other birds a chance to feed.
With so many feeders on the market, it can be confusing choosing one that works the best. The answer is very simple; chose one that you can clean easily and doesn't leak.
Avoid pretty feeders that have a glass down-spout. These will always leak and cause either a "red flag" for an ant invasion or just make a real mess. Also avoid feeders that have too many small crevices or corners. These will be impossible to clean.
Click on the link below to watch hummingbirds feeding on the best style of feeder, easy to clean and leak proof!
The best feeders are basin style. These feeders have a flat bottom and a top that simply lifts off - no crevices to trap old solution. Most are made from a durable, polycarbonate that resists fading from UV exposure, keeping its red colour that the hummingbirds love for years. A basin feeder will not leak and usually have perches for the birds to use while feeding. Studies have found that if a hummingbird can perch, they will feed longer (as long as they don't feel the need to constantly patrol every feeder!)
|WBU High Perch Feeder. Available in Small and Medium||WBU Window Feeder||Schrodt Glass Feeders|
|Best-1 Feeders (3 sizes)||Antique Glass Bottle Feeder||Woodlink Glass Feeder|
Cleanliness is extremely important when feeding hummingbirds. Fermented nectar occurs when the solution sits too long in the feeders and it is dangerous to hummers, harboring dangerous molds, mildew and toxins. Any hummer attempting to drink from these feeders will leave and possibly not return so it is important to remove any trace of fermented syrup or mildew before refilling. To do this, use a port brush to get into the small openings and use a small amount of vinegar in hot soapy water to clean the entire feeder thoroughly. The vinegar will work just as well as bleach but without bleach's harmful side effects. Rinse well before hanging your feeder back out.
And don't forget about their food! The sugar solution needs to be four parts water to one part sugar in the summer and three parts water to one part sugar in the winter. This concentration closely resembles the sucrose that hummingbirds find in the flowers they feed from. Any mixture that is a higher concentration than 3:1 can be dangerous for the small birds. If there is too much sugar, they will find it difficult to break it down in their bodies, leading to dehydration and possible kidney damage. Also, the heavy syrup that occurs in a thick mixture of sugar and water can coat their tongues and make it almost impossible for them to feed
Only use white sugar or a boxed hummingbird sugar like ones we carry in our store when making food for your hummingbirds. Brown sugar, molasses or honey can make the birds sick and do not use any hummingbird solution that contains red dye. Although it has not been proven that red dye is harmful to hummingbirds, we believe that is better to err on the side of caution and not give our little friends any chemicals in their food. Our WBU boxed sugar contains no additives and the hummers really like it. To make it easy to mix you can add one box to our nectar bottle, fill with water and you have plenty of nectar for a couple of weeks, depending on your hungry hummers of course!
The best way to attract hummers to your yard is to make it "hummingbird friendly". Hummers are woodland birds and need a variety of flowers and small insects to feed, not an urban jungle. Using plants in your yard that hummers like (wild flowering currant, honeysuckle, fuschia, bee balm, nictonia for example) is a good start. Avoid using chemicals in your yard as well.
|Ant Trap||Nectar Guard Tips|
Bees, wasps and ants love the sugar solution as well. Avoid feeders that have yellow on them, bees and wasps like those. To keep ant out, an ant moat is helpful. These are hung above your feeder and filled with water. Nectar guard tips will also keep out all three insects. These tips fit inside the feeding port holes and make the opening too small for anything bigger than an hummingbirds' tongue.
Some people find it hard to imagine just how long a hummer's tongue is or how it can reach the bottom of some feeders. Just take a look at this little Anna's tongue and you will see how they can reach into both flowers and feeders. Thanks to Eveline Lacoste for the great picture!
Everything deserves some fun every now and then. The hummingbird swing will give both you and your hummingbirds just that. Hang the swing near your hummingbird feeder and then sit back. Your feisty little friends will have a new spot to patrol their favourite feeders while they swing gently back and forth and you will (for once) be able to observe your birds easily
|Male Anna's Hummingbird (thanks to Angela Smorenburg for the picture)||Female Anna's Hummingbird (another picture by Eveline Lacoste)|
Although this may not seem to make sense, residents of the Abbotsford area know that every November they may be seeing a welcome visitor to their yards. And yes, their appearance does cause a fair degree of panic to some people - hummingbirds are NOT supposed to be here in the winter! But for the past 8-10 years, the Anna's hummingbird have been calling this part of the valley their winter home.
And they haven't just been visiting here, they have been thriving. Over the past several years, the numbers of Anna's have been steadily growing - some content to be merely winter visitors while others stay all year and duke it out with those pesky Rufous hummingbirds for a summer yard. We have also seen their range slowly expand outwards from Abbotford to nearby Agassiz, Chilliwack and Harrison.
The Anna's hummingbirds have adapted well to surviving in cooler temperatures. They have learned to eat sap from woodpecker holes, small insects found both trapped in the sap and flying free and there are always some winter flowers, early catkins and of course, feeders. During the cold nights, the hummingbirds shelter in thick shrubs or hedges and enter a torpid state - basically a mini-hibernation where their heartbeat, respiration and metabolic rate approaches zero. Dawn sees them wide awake and hungry. And as long as the temperatures remain seasonal without winds, they do just fine. It's when the weather changes for the worse that things get critical for them.
Extreme cold weather sees their food source either disappear or, in the case of feeders, freeze. Cold, northerly winds rob them of their precious body heat. In times like this, the situation is dire for the survival of these little birds. But help is not far away.
Feeding hummingbirds in the winter is possible, although it requires a commitment on your part to feed them all winter long. If you see a hummingbird appear at your window in November and you do not want to feed him in January, do not put out your feeder and he will move onto another yard. Most winters, simply bringing the feeder in at night once they have had their last feeding is all that is required. Re-hang them in the morning with warm solution - when hummingbirds drink cold liquid they can experience a "brain-freeze" (similar to what happens to us when we drink a cold slurpee too fast). Unfortunately, their brain freeze can result in them fainting and falling off the perch so we don't recommend it.
During very cold, windy periods, try to hang your feeder out of the wind and apply an external heat source to it. This can either be a trouble lamp or other adjustable light source or your outside house light - simply hang the feeder above the light and the warmth of the bulb will keep the liquid from freezing. Other ingenious ideas that have worked for some people are tape used to wrap around pipes to prevent freezing, "hot socks" or simply having 2 or 3 feeders that you swap out during the day. It is not uncommon for the hummers to sit in the warmth of the light all day, feeding and "warming their toes". Once the cold snap is over, they will venture out again, returning occasionally to feed.