Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hummingbird Feeder Ant Cure

I've had my hummingbird feeder out since right after I got the photo of the hummingbird in the previous post. It didn't take but a few days for the ants to get in and taint the sugar water. (My feeder is hanging on a shepherd's hook.) There are various methods to stop them. I chose a homemade cure - a moat.

Parts you'll need:

  • A cap off of a spray can - like a paint can. 
  • Something to hang it with. I chose a piece of solid wire used for house wiring. 6" or so should be long enough. You can always cut it shorter if it's too long.
  • Something to make a hole with, like an awl or drill bit. An 1/8" bit worked perfect for me.
  • Something to seal around the wire to prevent leakage. I used a 3/8" glue dot available at craft stores.
  • Two water bottle caps from 1/2 Litre bottles.
Use the drill or awl to make a hole in the center of the cap, just big enough for the wire to go through. Peel a glue dot off its backing and stick the edge of it on the wire where you want the bottom of the moat to be. Wrap the glue dot around the wire, stretching it as you go. Slide the cap over the wire until it contacts the glue dot seal you just put on the wire. Twist the cap back and forth a little if needed, to get a good seal.

(Glue Dot "seal" and bottom hook.)
Make a hole in the center of each water bottle cap, and slide them down the wire on the inside of the spray can cap. Put the first water bottle cap with the open end down, and the second one on top of it, open side up. This will keep the spray can cap moat from tilting excessively.
(View of water bottle caps in center of moat and upper end of wire.)

Trim the wire to a suitable length and bend a hook in the bottom (feeder end), and an eye at the top - big enough to accommodate your hook/hanger or whatever your installation requires.

Hang the newly constructed moat on your mounting means, and hook your feeder onto the moat's bottom hook. Fill moat with water.

(Finished moat.)

Add water to the moat when you clean your feeder and change your nectar.


The glue dot didn't last very long for me, so I tried another route. I got some E6000 adhesive and applied it inside and outside the cap where the wire went through. After a couple days (I was making sure), it was well set and I put it back in service. Seems to be working pretty well now. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Black-Chinned Hummingbird

Another "first" for me here in the panhandle. Shelley saw one of these flit by a couple days ago, and this morning I took up a position near our trumpet vines. After a few minutes (10 or 15 maybe) I saw this little girl dancing around some of the upper flowers and darting in and out of them.

(Female Black-Chinned Hummingbird)
These tiny birds are not uncommon to the panhandle, but they are not easy to see - especially in the early morning light. In addition to getting the nectar from flowers like these, they also dine on tiny flying bugs and are frequent/common visitors to hummingbird feeders. Black-Chinned Hummingbirds commonly perch on high, bare branches of trees.

As part of their mating ritual, males will perform a steep dive as much as 75 - 100 feet to impress the females.