Take care of your local hummingbirds

I received a coffee-table-size book titled “Hummingbirds” for Christmas.  It is by Nancy Newfield and is filled with great color photos of hummers.  Here are a few interesting factoids I picked up from the book:

Hummingbirds clean their bill after eating nectar because the sticky syrup can seal the bill closed as it dries.

Frequent grooming is required to keep feathers in top condition, to remove worn feathers and to pick off external parasites such as tiny mites.

Nectar from flowers is the primary food that fuels all hummers and this nectar varies in concentration from 12 percent sugar to about 50 percent sugar.  Surprisingly, hummingbirds prefer the more diluted nectar while bees and other insects like the stronger concentrations.  Of course, the classic mixture recommended for home-made sugar water is four parts water to one part white table sugar. 

Tiny flying insects and small spiders make up a small, but vital, part of a hummingbird’s diet.  Gnats and spiders are good foods to provide the protein, vitamins and minerals essential for cell repair and growth.

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