WBS Wimberley Birding Society

Hummingbirds

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Species in this area
Black-chinned - Adult male has black chin with purple band around throat (not always easy to see). Female is drab, grayish color with green back, long bill and flat forehead. First hummer to arrive usually, showing up in March. Will nest in our area.

Ruby-throated - Adult male has black chin and red throat, otherwise nearly identical to black-chinned. Female usually has green grown as opposed to black-chinned's grayer crown. Ruby-throats usually arrive after black-chinned and both species depart by October. Ruby-throat rarely nests in our area.

Other Species
Rufous male is recognized by his orange-red plumage; most likely hummer to winter over in this area. Rare sightings have been reported in Wimberley of blue-throated and green violet-ear hummingbirds. Other rarities are possible.

Feeding Habits
Hummers live on a combination of flower nectar and minute insects. In winter, they have been known to follow sapsuckers around to feed on tree sap which comes from holes these birds drill. Over-wintering is rare in this area.

Plants to Attract Hummers
Trees: Red Buckeye, Mexican Buckeye, Coral Bean, Redbud. Shrubs and Vines: Coralberry, Flowering Quince, Bougainvillea, Coral Honeysuckle, Mexican Morning Glory, Carolina Jessamine, Wisteria, Cypress Vine, Hibiscus. Flowers: Turk's Cap, Cardinal Flower, Pentas, Iris, Daylily, Shrimp Plant, Columbine, Lantana, Jacobinia, Impatiens, Salvias.

Feeders
Feeders help supplement the hummer's natural foods. Plastic models have the advantage of being less likely to break if dropped; glass reportedly is easier to clean. Clean every few days and check for mold growth. No point in filling feeder completely unless you have large number of hummers. Do not use red food coloring, as long as there is some red on the feeder, hummers will find it.

To make sugar-water, simply mix hot water and sugar -- 4 parts water to 1 part sugar. (Cool before using, store unused portion in fridge.) Use no sweeteners except regular sugar -- no honey and no artificial sweeteners. Change sugar-water every 2-4 days, depending on weather and location of feeder.

Hummers will more readily use feeder if it is close to hummer-attracting plants. Try to keep feeders in some shade and out of hot afternoon sun as much as possible. It is helpful to have nearby bush or tree for birds to perch on between feedings and usually better to have several small feeders some distance apart rather than one really large feeder. Spray no-stick cooking spray on wires holding feeders to keep ants away.

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wimbirds.org/hummingbirds.html (Last modified Aug-30-02)