The hummingbirds have arrived here in Maine after the long trip north, and these guys are hungry.

According to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Ruby-Throated hummingbird is really the only breed of the bird seen here in Maine.  Those little buggers can flap their wings 70 times per second while flying up to 50 mph!  Sometime between February and April, hummingbirds leave their winter homes in Mexico and Central America and make the trip north.

They usually show up here in Maine around May 1st, and then they hang out enjoying the nectar of flowers that are just as bright and beautiful as they are, until sometime in October.

Initially, the hummingbird will feed off of tree sap and small insects, until flowers that produce nectar begin to bloom.  At this point, an artificial nectar hummingbird feeder will certainly attract the birds, but there are a few things to consider according to the University of Maine Cooperative Extension.

These feeders must be kept extremely clean, or it can actually kill the birds.

Artificial nectar can be made by mixing one part sugar and four parts of boiling water.  The most important thing to remember is that it will go bad and ferment after being outside between one and two days.  Fermented artificial nectar loaded with mold and bacteria can kill a hummingbird, or an Oriole for that matter, by enlarging their livers.  Not a great way to go.

Besides keeping fresh daily nectar in them, it is also suggested that you clean your hummingbird feeders every two to three days by taking them apart and thoroughly scrubbing them.  Once again, the  University of Maine Cooperative Extension has all the correct cleaning procedures for you.

You should keep them out of the bright sunlight as well.

Some people put red food coloring or honey into the nectar, and apparently this is also a bad idea, as it will create health problems for the hummingbirds.

So the bottom line is to be on the ball, and to be careful as to how you feed these birds that seem to give us so much enjoyment here in Maine.

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