How Sweet It Is

During these busy spring and summer days, we count our hummingbirds by their daily sugar consumption. We have officially used 100 pounds of the sweet stuff since our first bird arrived on April 7! We typically feed around 400 pounds of white sugar during hummingbird season.

A few years ago, Stacy Jon Peterson figured a way to estimate your hummingbird population. Roughly, one quart of sugar water mixed 1 part sugar to 4 parts water would feed 250 birds in a day. This is assuming that the birds meet their caloric needs only with feeders. We know, of course, that hummers catch lots of tiny insects, feed on flower nectar, and even feed on tree sap from Sapsucker wells.

More hummers seem to be showing up daily and we are filling 8 feeders a day. Using Stacy's formula, there may be 2000 or more of these little sugarholics at our ranch.

Just a reminder: to keep the birds at your feeders healthy and coming back for more, please keep your feeders clean and replace the water often. Make your own sugar water using white sugar 1 to 4 with water. Commercial "nectar" contains red dye and other chemicals that aren't healthy for the birds. Plus, it is expensive.