CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Hummingbirds usually arrive in south Texas in early March so this is a good time to get your feeder out, before they arrive, so they can load up on nectar as they make their journey north.
Although native flowering plants are the best source of nectar for hummingbirds, supplementing with a sugar-water feeder can give them additional sustenance during nesting season and migration.
You can make your own solution for your hummingbird feeder. Use 1 part refined white sugar to 4 parts water. Boil the solution then let it cool to room temperature before filling the feeder. Do not add food coloring to the solution.
Make sure to empty and clean the feeder once a week in cool weather and twice a week in hot weather. You can make larger amounts of the sugar- water solution and keep it in the refrigerator but remember to let it come to room temperature before filling the feeder.
There are 17 species of hummingbirds that migrate into Texas to travel to breeding grounds either in the state or further north and then return for winter either in the state or further south.
They need a lot of energy considering they have a heart rate of approximately 1,200 beats per minute while flying as their wings flutter at least 53 times a second.
In general, hummingbirds consume up to 50% of their body weight in nectar each day. During their migration, they increase their nectar intake considerably since they have no idea where their next meal will come from.
Hummingbirds have two migrations each year – one north and one south. These journeys can cover hundreds or thousands of miles and require large amounts of energy from these tiny birds.
Their spring migration north, from South America and Mexico up to Canada, is a solitary journey with the goal of getting to their breeding grounds early enough to claim the best feeding territories.
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