Written by Jeff
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One of the wonderful experiences we have living in the Sonoran Desert is the abundance of birds that are visiting throughout the year. I was told that Arizona (not just the desert areas) is the birding capital of the United States. There are apparently more than 950 different types of birds that visit the US during the year and over 500 of them spend some time in the state of Arizona.
As I might have noted in an earlier post, I took a bird identification class as part of our continuing education as a Desert Botanical Garden volunteer. Many visitors come to the garden to engage in birdwatching. There is a birdwatching “walk” every Monday, rain or shine. The times are listed on the DBG website at:
http://dbg.org/events-exhibitions/tours-activities#daily (Under birds in the garden)
One of the most prized groups of birds that people seek out are the hummingbirds. While I had a bird feeder when we lived in NJ, I didn’t want to attract rodents, Javelina and other desert varmints in Arizona. Fortunately for me, hummingbirds are nectar feeders and while there might be some nuisance attracting aspects, basically they are easy to work around.
Eager to start my hummingbird experience, I researched which hummingbird feeder was the “best.” After my research was done, I decided on the HummZinger Excel. Doesn’t the picture on the box look inviting and intriguing? There were many positive reviews so I took the plunge and ordered it.
Unfortunately…the best laid plans oft do go awry. I hadn’t counted on the woodpeckers inviting themselves to the buffet. While the picture below was not from my feeder, it represents my experience.
Now don’t get me wrong. This is NOT the fault of the feeder which worked as advertised and did attract hummingbirds. It just attracted too much other attention as well.
Here is the problem…to get the hummingbirds to stay a longer period of time, it was recommended that a feeder with a perch be used. The woodpeckers use this perch to grab on and drink as much nectar as they can. Therein my fellow readers lies the rub.
Not to be daunted, I decided to purchase a tube-type hummingbird feeder. Hummingbirds are remarkably trusting. They are not too timid around people. As I work in the garden, they often come buzzing by. This isn’t SONG OF THE SOUTH where they will land on my shoulder and walk with me, but they will fly near.
Here is a picture of me hand-holding a tube feeder. The hummer, as they are affectionately called, landed on the end of my homemade perch (the perch was made from a chopstick).
Here the bird is getting closer…
And here the bird is drinking from the feeder…
The birds are beginning to associate me with the feeder because there are times when I walk outside and they come buzzing around whether or not I have it with me. I often see them in the trees near the feeder and if I do have the feeder, and I stay still long enough, I can entice them to come for a “visit.”
To be continued…
Gardening on the Moon, www.gardeningonthemoon.com, originally published this post
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