And the Living is Easy

By Cheryl Conley, TWRC Wildlife Center

HUMMINGBIRD PHOTO 2015It’s time to start preparing for the arrival of the beautiful hummingbirds as they migrate south. There are three species that typically show up in August in the Houston area. They are the Ruby Throated, Black Chinned and the Rufous.

Hummingbirds live on a combination of flower nectar and small insects.

If you’d like to supplement the hummingbird’s diet with a feeder, there are some important things to know. Make sure to purchase one that is easy to clean and clean it often. Because of Houston’s heat and humidity, mold can develop which is harmful to the birds. It’s easy to make the nectar for the feeder and is cheaper than buying it. Just mix 4 parts water to 1 part sugar.  Make sure to fully dissolve the sugar. DO NOT USE FOOD COLORING. It is harmful to the birds. Place your feeder where it gets afternoon shade. It’s also helpful if it’s near a shrub or tree where the birds can rest. Since hummingbirds can be a little aggressive in protecting a feeder, you may want to provide several small feeders spaced throughout a large area.

Although it’s too late for this year, consider plants that hummingbirds are attracted to for next year. Plants are the natural and preferred method for attracting the birds. There are many to pick from but here are just a few. Check the internet for more suggestions.

  • Firebush
  • Butterfly weed
  • Esperanza
  • Turk’s Cap
  • Honeysuckles

If you find a hummingbird in need of help, place them in a container with air holes. You may use tissue or paper towels to support them if they cannot stand on their own but DO NOT use any type of fabric or mesh. Their brushy tipped tongues can get stuck to the fabric. Keep them warm, dry and in a quiet location until you can get them to TWRC. It is important that you get them to us as soon as possible. TWRC Wildlife Center is located at 10801 Hammerly Boulevard in Houston. If you have questions, call 713-468-TWRC.