Hummingbirds Need Our Help!
When it is over 90 degrees Hummingbirds struggle with overheating just like we do. They seldom die of heat exhaustion itself, but from their inability to maintain their eating requirements. Hummers need to eat every 10-15 minutes to keep up with their extremely high metabolism.
The heat makes them seek out shady areas to avoid direct sunlight which quickly raises their body temperature. However, most of their food source is in the sun, and they overheat while searching for nectar and are forced to return to the shade before getting full.
The plants hummingbird’s feed on are also negatively impacted by the heat. Many will produce significantly fewer flowers in hot weather which equals less nectar for the hummers. They are forced to spend more time looking for food which increases their chances of overheating.
Many natural water sources also disappear. Decreasing nectar and water combined can lead to a hummingbird’s death.
How can we help? By supplying the hummers nectar in a hummingbird feeder that is properly maintained.
Place the feeder in the shade. This will enable the hummingbird to fill up on nectar without venturing into direct sunlight.
If you mix your own nectar, then make sure to mix 1 part sugar to 5 parts water in hotter weather. This will help give them the proper nutrients but also help increase their overall hydration. (regular nectar mix is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water)
Provide them a water source – bird bath, saucer of water, fountain
Make sure if the temp is over 90 degrees you change out your nectar DAILY. You can cause the death of hummingbirds by offering them fermented or tainted nectar. (This is also why some people do not see hummingbirds at their feeders)
If you are concerned about wasting your sugar mixture by emptying it daily, then don’t fill the feeder up, put a smaller amount in it until you see how much the birds use daily.
This summer has been a scorcher with record high temperatures. Please help our hummingbird population by hanging a feeder and maintaining it properly. Not only will you help save them but you will enjoy seeing them zoom around.