Bedford Ramblings
Steve Mills

It's Hummer season! What was I thinking?

Posted Monday, April 13, 2009, at 4:39 PM
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  • I love hummers too! Fascinating birds!

    Several years ago, while preening a bed of bearded iris in full bloom, I was attacked by a humming bird. That's right, attacked. Now as it was, you see, this little fellow appeared instantaneously, out of thin air, hovering with his proboscis approximately one quarter inch from my eye ball. I froze, he hovered. After about ten excruciating seconds, he left as adroitly as he had appeared. It is my firm conviction to this very day, that little rascal bested me. He won! Ok! now I feel better, I've admitted it. He won. I doubt he weighed an ounce, yet he went away in complete glee while I was shaken and bewildered. I still don't know what that little rascal was up to.

    -- Posted by dmcg on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 5:46 PM
  • That far from my eyeball would have shaken me. As fast as they can move.....

    Does anyone know if they feed from iris blooms?

    There must be just one at the moment.It was just at the feeder with no one bothering it.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 7:07 PM
  • Awesome! I've been waiting for a month for my hummers to come back. They showed up last year the first week of March in the cold rain, so I've been bummed that they have not arrived here yet. I will be looking for them and refresh my feeder that's been full for a while now!

    -- Posted by neighborhood mom on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 7:19 PM
  • I've never seen them feeding on iris. They usually prefer flowers with tubes where the nectar can collect. Of course you know, they love red flowers, but they feed regularly on things like hosta, at least at my house. One year I had a flourishing penstemon barbatus that they fought over as territory. Several would perch in a nearby Japanese maple and trounce any other hummer coming near that plant. Maybe I need to replant some penstemon.

    -- Posted by dmcg on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 7:38 PM
  • oh wow they are beautiful. Do you mix your own food? I was using just sugar water.. My father in law puts a small amount of vanilla in his and the has swarms of Hummers, you cannot even sit on the porch when they are flying and fighting over feeders.

    -- Posted by 4fabfelines on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 7:41 PM
  • I've never heard of using vanilla. I may drink it before the hummers.

    I am going to plant a few more flowers for the hummers. (beebalm, salvia) They usually love the cypress vines we plant near the feeders.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 8:29 PM
  • We have them "looking" around here, but I've no feeder. I guess I should get one. Maybe they are attracted to the bright red wasps hovering near my gutters.

    -- Posted by mmp84 on Mon, Apr 13, 2009, at 10:02 PM
  • Do you have trouble with ants getting in the feeder? That's the only reason I don't have one...

    -- Posted by espoontoon on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 6:21 AM
  • Yes, ant traps are available and they really do work. I do not know the name of it. It is a cup that you fill with water and it hangs between the feeder and your feeder support device or limb. I purchased mine at Mayo's Garden Center but I do not believe there is a Mayo's in Shelbyville. You might check the internet.

    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 7:44 AM
  • Occasionally we have ants or tiny bees that get in there. We stopped the ants by putting petroleum jelly or "tanglefoot" on the bridge they use to get to it. (the hanger, the cords, the pole, whatever is the smallest, yet key crossing point)

    The occasional be is washed out when we changed or refill the liquid.

    For the record, we do not buy the store prepared product. Some say they have extra vitamins for the birds health, etc. and it may be true, but we put warning labels on our feeder that this should be considered just a snack and the birds are responsible for eating their healthy diet as well.

    If we thought it was their ONLY source of food,we might do differently, but..... Anyone have an opinion on hummingbird nutrition?

    Seriously, if we are hurting our visitors with our mixture of one part sugar to three parts water, let us know. I have heard that honey is a BIG NO NO, is there another readily available, budget conscious sweetener that is healthier?

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 7:50 AM
  • I just found the name of the ant trap and where you can get them. It is called Trap-it and they are available from


    -- Posted by leeiii on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 7:52 AM
  • Two years agao we had about 8-10 hummers but last year we only had 2, I hope more come around this year. I hang 4 feeders out and we have to watch because we have 2 bee boxes and the bees will get in them and then they can't get back out.

    -- Posted by bellbuckletn on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 8:27 AM
  • Thanks looks like a neat ant solution. It looks like the water just stops them, so those opposed to killing them would be happy as well. I am sure a few may fall in, but....

    What type of bees are you housing, orchard bees, wood bees or something else. I would like to hear more about your experiences.

    -- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Apr 14, 2009, at 8:43 AM
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