It is said that when summer birds take their flight, they take summer with them.
They can have it. Summer, that is.
I will not miss triple digit temperatures.
I will not miss the dying grass and impossible to kill mosquitoes.
I will, however, miss those summer birds.
Morning light patterns in my garden have now shifted. There is a slight coolness to the breeze and the scent of the autumn clematis has drawn more butterflies than the cat can chase.
The sound of marching band rehearsal can be heard in spite of the geese passing overhead.
And my favorite birds (North American hummingbirds) are dropping from the sky.
Unlike the hummers we see in spring and early summer, these don’t hang around. Coming from as far away as Canada and Alaska, these tiny birds are in a feeding frenzy.
They fuel up and move on. But the numbers (especially here in Texas) during September and October make the most entertaining birdwatching.
My tips for hummingbird viewing:
Put up a feeder
Even if you have hummingbird-attracting plants in your yard, the addition of a feeder can only help. Some hummer experts encourage leaving feeders up till winter, to assist weary stragglers.
The feeder doesn’t have to be fancy. My favorite is a single perch design that holds about ¼ cup of liquid. Take your feeders down every few days to clean them. Mold forms quickly in the summer heat.
Use a fool-proof recipe
My favorite is from Texas Parks and Wildlife and made by mixing 4 parts water with 1 part of plain table sugar. We taught our kids to remember the ratio with their hand- four fingers, one thumb.
Boiling the water before mixing the ingredients will slow spoilage. Do not boil the water with the sugar in it. No substitutes should be used for plain table sugar. Red food color is not needed.
Spend more time outdoors
The good news is hummers aren’t the earliest of birds. We start seeing feeders in our backyard at about 9 a.m. They trickle in and out till near dark. One comes right to our back window. I think he’s a regular.
How about you? What’s new in your yard?