From scarlet to powdered gold,
to blazing yellow,
to the rare
to the orange and black velvet
of your shimmering corselet,
out to the tip
an amber thorn
small, superlative being,
you are a miracle,
and you blaze
-Pablo Neruda, “Ode to the Hummingbird”
Jeff spotted hummingbirds in the yard today!
I love, love, love the hummingbirds, and I can’t believe I never noticed one until I was an adult (I was at a park and totally thought it was an enormous bee, until it flew backwards to me and hovered right in front of my face; as if to say, “I am no insect, I am a lovely bird, and you are a very stupid lady.”).
If you have no feeder, you can get them at most big pet stores or at Target or whatnot. They don’t have to be expensive or fancy, but red is a good idea.
If you have one from years past, you’ll want to give it a good scrubbing with hot water and vinegar. Add some uncooked rice to the inside and shake it around to dislodge any leftover gunk; use an old toothbrush for more targeted cleaning.
Make your own hummingbird nectar by adding 1/4 cup of white sugar per cup of boiling hot water and stirring until fully incorporated. Cool completely before adding to feeder; extra can be kept in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Hang your feeder in the shade to keep the nectar from getting overheated and to slow spoilage. You’ll want to clean and refill at least once a week, more often in the heat of summer.
Get ready for next year by planting some hummer-friendly flowers around your yard!
It’s worth the trouble, I promise!