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Meet Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Summer means hummingbirds in the upper Midwest. There is only one hummingbird which migrates to Michigan to raise it's young and that's the Ruby Throated Hummingbird. Named after the brilliant crimson throat patch on the male hummingbird, this bird travels thousands of miles twice a year during migration. This tiny iridescent jewel of a bird travels from as far away as South America to visit the Northeastern United States and Southeastern Canada each year. They can live as many as 9 years and often repeat visits to the same location each summer.

Ruby Throated Hummingbirds (and really all hummingbirds) are called hummingbirds due to the distinct sound of their rapidly beating wings which sounds like humming. Their wings beat 50 times per SECOND! Try moving your arms 50 times per second - it's impossible. They do vocalize and that often sounds like a chirping sound. All of this movement means they must eat constantly.

These birds eat nectar exclusively so they essentially follow the flowers north and south each year as they are blooming. There are especially attracted to red and orange flowers which is why so many hummingbird feeders are red. Planting Canna lilies, lilacs, butterfly bush, and salvias will attract birds to your landscape. There are lots of other flowers that are attractive to them but their preferred flowers are tubular in shape. If you have hummingbirds in your area you can absolutely attract them with a feeder and you can even make your own hummingbird 'food'. Simply mix 1 part water to 1/4 part white sugar. Heat until the sugar is dissolved, allow to cool and fill your feeder. Please don't add red food coloring as over time, this coloring is harmful and even fatal to hummingbirds. If you feed hummingbirds, change the food every couple of days or any time it appears cloudy. If hummingbird food ferments, it produces alcohol which can kill these little fellows.

A quick and easy way to keep food fresh is to simply microwave one cup of water for two or three minutes, stir in 1/4 cup of table sugar to dissolve, allow to cool and boom, you have plenty of food made. We wash and refill our feeders every other day to make sure we're providing the best possible nutrition for our porch visitors.

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