Category Archives: Hummingbirds

Turn Your Hummingbird Feeder into a Watering Hole

It’s late October here in NE Atlanta, GA. Which means, sadly, 99% of the hummingbirds have migrated.

Our hummingbird season basically runs from April 1st to the 2nd week of October. It’s a nice long season however, in our particular location we typically only get really busy with the hummingbirds late in the summer.

I tell people that’s because when they are going north, we are not on their superhighway. I like to joke that the hummingbirds take I-95 to Canada, but on the way home, during the late summer, they take I-85. That puts them right over our houses here in Johns Creek, GA.

Since it is late October, it is okay to take your hummingbird feeder down. Once it is down and drained make sure you clean it right away. I use a bottle brush with a 5% solution of bleach with warm soapy water. I’ll let it soak for at least an hour then attack it with the bottle brush. That should kill all the mold and bacteria. 

This year I did something a little different with my “Best-1” hummingbird feeder. Since the season is over, I just made a minor change to the unit, and I am now using it as a watering hole for the chickadees and goldfinches. Think of it as a very small birdbath.

A goldfinch getting ready to take a drink out of my ant moat attached to this hummingbird feeder

At my house, for some odd reason, goldfinches and chickadees prefer to use my ant moats as their summer watering holes. This drives me crazy because they drink all the water out of the moats and leave them dry for the ants to cross. Because of this, shown in the picture above I’m actually using two ant moats, one built into the unit and one above the unit.

Since I know they like that watering hole location, I just needed more water to make it last a few days. Here’s how I did it: I left the base open to be used only for water by just removing the Best-1 feeder ports.

The water doesn’t overflow out of the base since the air pressure keeps everything in place. It just automatically fills up once the birds have their drink. 

If this sound a little confusing, here is a short video I made on how to do it. Any hummingbird feeder with the characteristics like the Best-1 model should work just fine.

Creating a watering hole with your hummingbird feeder

Keeping Bees Off Your Hummingbird Feeder

How do you keep bees away from your hummingbird feeder?
  1.  Buy a feeder that doesn’t leak!
  2. Buy a feeder that has extremely small feeding ports (ex: The “Best-1” 8oz feeder)
  3. Buy a feeder with built in “bee guards” (Perry’s Enterprises in TN installs bee guards in their feeders)
  4. Add a bee guard (Aspects hummingbird feeders are great no-leak feeders but their feeding ports are large. To keep the bees out you add an Aspects “nectar guard” to the bottom of their feeding ports.)
  5. If you are allergic there are “Bee Proof” hummingbird feeders. If you are allergic but still want to feed then contact “Copper Hummingbird Feeders” out of AZ. Here’s a link
Enjoy the hummingbirds while they are here!

Time to take down those nectar feeder

It’s the 1st week of November and that usually means one thing here in Johns Creek, GA… The hummingbirds have left.

The hummingbirds arrived right on time this year. I was tracking them as they hit Macon, GA on the 15th of March. Then like clockwork I saw them at my own backyard on March 30th.

Some of you may know that I own the Wild Bird Center of Johns Creek. The store is located in Northeast Atlanta suburbs. We are just east of the foothills that lead to Blue Ridge Mountains.

From my “perch” at the store I get to hear hummingbird stories all season long. Here is the trend that I have been hearing for the past few seasons.

  1.  The ruby-throated hummingbirds have been arriving right on time but their numbers coming through during early spring are light.
  2. The hummers that do arrive in early spring typically don’t stick around. They are probably continuing their journey to the borel forrest in Canada.
  3. Sometime after Mother’s Day  we start to see the hummingbird activity pick up. It’s around this time that I will put up my 2nd nectar feeder.
  4. From Mother’s Day until the middle of July the activity has been just so, so around here for the past couple of years. We are not seeing the ruby throated hummers fighting for the nectar yet. It’s appears those that are here have the feeders to themselves.
  5. Right around late July the bulk of the birds start arriving and I will put up my 3rd and 4th feeders at this point.
  6.  From the end of July until the 2nd week of October is our busiest hummingbird period. And it is busy with hummers fighting each other all day long trying to control their favorite feeder.
  7.  My best guess is that we are not experiencing a loss of the number of hummingbirds in our area. Probably the northern flyway has shifted either to the left or right of us here in NE Atlanta. However on the hummingbirds return trip to the south our neighborhoods are right in the flight line which is why we get so busy in late summer and early fall.

Now that the hummingbirds have left go ahead and take down your nectar feeders and give them a good cleaning. Use a 5% bleach solution to kill any mold, mildew and other unwanted bacteria. Scrub the feeders out, dry them and hang them in the garage until next season.

Don’t be too sad the hummers will be back in six months!

Ruby Throated Hummingbird 08-26-2016 1
The hummers have left. Time to take down and clean your hummingbird feeders.


End of the Hummingbird Season

ruby throated humming bird enjoying pineapple sage

Here in the southeast our fall weather is just about upon us. The mosquitoes and the heat are just a few days away from leaving us for months.

The ruby-throated hummingbirds have been fairly light this year. Here in NE Atlanta they arrived on time, right around the end of March but it wasn’t until late July that we saw any hanging around. My best guess is that in this region we are just in a hummingbird lull that has been happening for the last couple of years.

This should be nothing to worry about. I haven’t read any articles suggesting that our favorite jewel is on the decline. My own reasoning concerning the bird is not scientific, just an observation followed by very limited local nectar sale’s data.

With the middle of October just around the corner the last ruby-throated stragglers will soon be leaving North America. Hopefully they will have an excellent winter in Southern Mexico and Central Latin America and come back in abundance!

10 Cool Hummingbird Facts

 I ran across this article from our corporate twitter account. 10 interesting hummingbird facts that you may not have known.

Here’s just a piece of one…

“75 percent of the bird’s weight is supported by the down stroke, while the other 25 percent is lifted by the up stroke.” They do this by inverting their wings on the upstroke.

Now you got to admit that pretty cool…

Rufous Hummingbirds

Living in NE Atlanta we traditionally receive only the ruby-throated hummingbird in these parts. However, occasionally during the winter, the rufous hummingbird comes to us as a lost vagrant.

I shouldn’t really say lost we’re not sure why this hummingbird is here.  This small bird is found in the NW and Canada during the summers and should migrate back 3,900 miles to Mexico every winter. They migrate in a clockwise motion going up the west coast and come back down through the Rocky Mountains.  How they get so far east of the Rocky Mountains during their return trip  is anyone’s guess but they do on occasion show up here!

There are other hummingbird vagrants that show up as well but the rufous is the most usual of our unusual hummingbirds. Some people in Georgia see so many of them that they will keep  their hummingbird feeders up all winter.

Here’s a great pic I found on Twitter. Thanks to @NaturePH0T0S for the twitter post.