For those of you who are hummingbird enthusiasts, the following information regarding hummingbird myths appeared in the last issue of Bird Watcher’s Digest.
Regarding keeping feeders up too long will discourage birds from flying south: Hummingbirds’ migratory instincts are strong and are not affected by availability of feed.
Regarding hummers hitchhiking on the backs of geese: not so.
The geese probably wouldn’t tolerate such hitchhikers.
Besides, hummingbirds are such strong flyers in their own right that they don’t need help.
Rudy throats fly 500 uninterrupted miles across the Sea of Cortez.
Regarding adults teaching their young to fly: Not true.
The young learn to fly all on their own.
Landing may be more difficult. They have weak feet and legs.
They can perch but cannot walk.
Regarding the birds eat only nectar: they require a lot of energy which is supplied by nectar.
However, supplementary dietary needs are filled with insects and spiders caught in mid-air or gleaned from leaves.
Regarding hummingbirds getting nectar only from red tubular-shaped flowers.
No, they take nectar from any colour or shape of flower.
Possibly they prefer these flowers because their shape prevents other insects from dining on these flowers so nectar from them is more plentiful than from other flowers.
Regarding feeders’ nectar must be red in order to attract the birds: Any colour feeder and clear nectar will attract the birds.
They possibly find red feeders first but once they locate a dependable source of nectar they will return to it.
Some red dyes may in fact be harmful to the birds.
Happy hummingbird watching.