Man builds sweet friendship with neighborhood hummingbird

Originally published at: Man builds sweet friendship with neighborhood hummingbird | Boing Boing


That’s great. Most people just fill them with sugar water which is not great. (ETA: Not sure my info was correct here; thanks @Shuck)

The bed in front of our picture window isn’t ready for permanent planting yet, so we just dumped a mix called “For the Birds” and let it go wild. It’s awesome and has been a wildlife sanctuary. For a couple of weeks a hulking it’s from across the street would fly over and eat from the tall zinnias. I was literally face to face with it and occasionally it would stop eating and just stare at me. :heart: Like little flying jewels.


Well, you better befriend them…


(Swiped from @BakaNeko )


Beautiful, yet fierce, creatures.


Text on screen: “Julian makes Hector’s nectar using a very specific recipe.”

Voiceover: “My nectar is just the Audubon’s recommended recipe, because you need to have one part sugar and four parts water. And white granulated sugar is the only sugar you should be using, because it’s chemically closest to natural nectar in flowers.”


My nectar brings all the birds to the yard
And they’re like, it’s better than yours
Damn right it’s better than yours



Isn’t it? Every bird organization recommends sugar water, as it’s the sucrose that they digest and are getting from flowers. It’s true that if you had a captive hummingbird and fed it only sugar water, it would die, but it’s not about fulfilling the hummingbird’s full nutritional needs with a feeder, but giving them extra energy so they can go out and get those needs met. (You couldn’t really give hummingbirds their full nutritional requirements via nectar of any sort, as insects are a key part of their diet.) I’ve never seen a commercial hummingbird nectar that is anything other than just sucrose, sometimes with coloring and preservatives - which makes it worse than just white sugar, as long as you’re keeping the feeder clean and solution regularly replaced.

The worst things people tend to feed hummingbirds (beyond fruit juice or maple syrup, which are just… wrong) is a sugar with any color to it - any even slightly brown sugar (e.g. “organic sugar”) has some molasses, and the iron in that is toxic to the birds. It needs to pure white, processed sugar.

I was looking around for a list of what went into his nectar, and all I found was a bunch of text references about how it was special and “closest to natural nectar in flowers” without mentioning what it was, which made me skeptical. Glad to know his “special” recipe is in fact the most basic one, as that is what’s recommended, and there was a lot of room for him to screw it up if he was doing something different.


oh good. i was wondering what his “special recipe” is, and this is the one i use, too.


I can imagine one singing It to a country music tune…

I once ran out of refined sugar and substituted It for Brown sugar. The birds hated and I am sure they were about to try a mutiny/insurrection.


Neighbourhood cats taking an interest. /s

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Humming Birds on Speed!

Huh, I guess you’re right. I’d always heard it was nutritionally deficient for them from bird friends, but maybe they were talking about it as a primary food source. I’m definitely not an expert on the issue.

I’ll edit the OP.

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The last of our hummers left over a week ago.

I’d like to try making a bath for them next year…

The problem will be the raccoons, who drain our bird bath during dry spells.


[puts on deadpan voice and face]

Just make it raccoon-proof, then.

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Yes, that’s right, they can’t survive on the sugar water alone, they still need to eat insects to get proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals. I learned that yesterday, because this post made me curious about whether hummingbirds have a preference for beet or cane sugar, so I was looking around for info on that.

I lost the link, but one source (and I don’t know how expert the source was, or not) said they prefer cane sugar over beet.

Yes, both kinds are 99.95% sucrose, but apparently the other 0.05% has tiny differences in minerals and proteins, due to the difference between cane (a grass) and beet (a tuber). Also, the two kinds are processed differently.

This study (below) that found sensory differences between the two was a study of humans, but I wonder if hummingbirds might be even more sensitive than humans? (Or not—I don’t know—I suppose the differences could be due to something that birds don’t even notice/register…)

The sensory profile of beet sugar was characterized by off-dairy, oxidized, earthy, and barnyard aromas and by a burnt sugar aroma-by-mouth and aftertaste, whereas cane sugar was characterized by a fruity aroma-by-mouth and sweet aftertaste. This study shows that beet and cane sugar sources can be differentiated by their aroma and provides a sensory profile characterizing the differences.

I wonder if your bird friends would be able to tell you if their hummingbirds prefer cane or beet?


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