Several weeks ago, while washing dishes, I noticed a humming bird feeding on my Easter Lilies. I was pretty excited when I saw it several days in a row as we had never seen any hummingbirds in the 41 years we have lived on our farm. I wanted to encourage the bird to continue feeding in my garden and perhaps to bring some friends. I’ve seen the bird several times a week for the last month or so.

I remembered that we have directions for making nectar in our AnswerLine files and I purchased an inexpensive feeder. I’ve been making new nectar and cleaning the feeder weekly.  I’ve written the recipe for Hummingbird nectar at the bottom of the page.  My feeder is in the shade all day except for the early morning so I have not had any trouble with evaporation. I have only seen the one hummingbird, as far as I can tell, in the several weeks I’ve been maintaining the feeder. I thought that it would be fun to do a little research on humming birds.

I learned that hummingbirds do migrate. I won’t delay the birds from heading south by leaving my feeder full late into the fall. So I plan to put it away for the year when the first frost is predicted. I did not know just how early they return; now I know that I should get the feeder ready in late April. I also plan to plant more flowers that will attract humming birds next spring. The vibrant blue delphiniums in my garden seemed to be a favorite for the hummingbird.

I’ve also learned about hummingbird metabolism. I knew that they required a speedy metabolism to support the rapid fluttering of the wings but I did not know that they had the ability to hibernate.  Hummingbirds can go into a sort of deep sleep called Torpor.  When the bird is in the Torpor state, the metabolism is lowered by 95%.  Hummingbirds will use almost 50 times less energy in this state.

I tried to capture a picture of my hummingbird enjoying the feeder last night. He is a bit hard to see, but is on the left side of the feeder.  I hope to be able to share my hummingbird with my grandchildren the next time they visit.


Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

1 cup of water and ¼ cup of sugar. Bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Let cool in the refrigerator before using.

Liz Meimann

Liz Meimann

I received both my undergraduate and graduate degrees in Food Science at Iowa State University. I love to quilt, sew, cook, and bake. I spent many years gardening, canning, and preserving food for my family when my children were at home.

More Posts - Website

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Subscribe to AnswerLine Blog

Enter your email address:

Connect with us!

AnswerLine's Facebook page AnswerLine's Twitter account AnswerLine's Pinterest page
Phone: (Monday-Friday, 9 am-noon; 1-4 pm)
 1-800-262-3804 (in Iowa)
 1-800-854-1678 (in Minnesota)