The temperatures are slowly warming up and now that it is officially spring, birds that retreated to the South to get away from winter’s icy grip are beginning to return to Arkansas.
One the most awaited comebacks is that of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
According to Humming Bird Central, there have already been sightings in parts of the state.
John Summer sales manager of Wild Birds Unlimited in the Heights neighborhood said that customers have started asking him questions about the birds.
“They're hit and miss but it’s a good time to go ahead and start putting your feeders out and maybe you’ll get lucky and get one of the migrants coming through,” Summer said.
Any feeder will work, Dan Scheiman with Audubon Arkansas said.
It’s the solution mix, that is the most important part, which is one part white table sugar to four parts water.
There is no need to boil the water, but it does help the sugar dissolve better, Scheiman said.
Never add any dye to the water.
“Red dye is bad for hummingbirds it can promote a fungus that gets on their tongues,” Scheiman said.
Once you start feeding the birds you better be committed to the responsibility which includes emptying out the bottle after 2 or 3 days, cleaning the bottle with hot soapy water and filling the container with a fresh mix of the sugar water.
Having sugar water is a magnet for ants, but a way to stop the invasion is to buy a moat between the hanger and the feeder. This way the ants can get to the hanger but are stopped by the pool of water to reach the feeder.
One method to stay away from is using oil or lard to keep the ants away.
“To keep ants and other insects off the feeders you don’t want to use oil, Crisco or anything like that because that on get on the birds feathers and it will hurt the hummingbird,” Scheiman said.
Other ways to attract the hummers to your yard is to have a garden with plants native to Arkansas.
“Native plants not only provide hummingbirds with nectar they also feed insects that feed the hummingbirds,” Scheiman said.
Once your feeder is up the birds will depend on that daily supply until late October when they go back to Central America for the winter.
If you are a successful supplier to the birds then don’t be surprised if this happens next year…
“People tell me when hummingbirds first arrive they go to the spot where the feeder was last year waiting for that feeder to be put back out again,” Scheiman said.