John James Audubon called hummingbirds “glistening fragments of the rainbow,” and most birders agree that they’re the gems of the bird world.
By this month, the ruby-throated hummingbirds have begun their feeding frenzy. Now is the time to set up several feeders, widely spaced, as there are twice as many of these tiny birds. The recommended sugar water mixture is one part granulated white sugar to four parts water.
I use warm tap water and stir until sugar is dissolved. No need to add red food-coloring, some of which is not safe. Use a feeder constructed with red, orange or other colorful materials.
The newborns have joined the adults in our gardens and at feeding stations, and because their fall migration period begins in early August, we in the southern part of Minnesota begin to notice more hummers, always by mid-August. Some observers say in mid- to late August the hummingbirds are in the gardens more than they are at the feeders.
They are drawn to cardinal flower and other tubular red flowers, blooming hostas and hollyhocks. Also, small insects are abundant sources of food.