MONROE, CT — Hummingbirds, the smallest birds in the world, are quite a sight to see. The birds’ wings are a blur from beating so rapidly, and a humming sound can be heard when they reach top speed.
The birds are pollinators and also benefit gardens by catching insects that are feeding on flowers.
“The Ruby-throated hummingbirds are the most frequently spotted hummingbirds in Connecticut,” said Alma Laumann, who was a certified hummingbird rescuer in Arizona for four years. “Early spring and fall you will see the Rufous Hummingbird.”
Laumann attracts hummingbirds to her daughter’s garden on Longview Road in Monroe, where she now lives. She said hummingbirds are drawn to the color red, so she planted red salvia and nasturtium in her section of the garden.
Laumann also has hummingbird feeders.
“Hummingbird feeders in our flowering gardens will welcome these tiny creatures to come and stay for the summer,” she said. “Only use pure sugar while making the hummingbird water. One cup sugar to three cups water.”
During a rescue in Arizona, Laumann said they would smash fruit flies for protein and feed it to the hummingbirds with the sugar water through a dropper.
“It is very important that these feeders are cleaned at least once a week to keep these hummingbirds healthy,” she said.
When cleaning a hummingbird feeder, Laumann said it’s recommended that soap not be used, because of the residue.
How small is a hummingbird? An early nestling can fit in one half of a teaspoon.
“Nestling, means that it is still in the nest and cannot fly,” Laumann said. “When it is a fledgling it will start to flap its wings and fly.”
“Only the mom feeds her babies,” she said. “After she has laid her eggs, usually two, it will take 14 to 19 days to hatch. Mom’s warm body will help with incubation. Within 24 to 26 days, the little birds are ready to fledge the nest. She will continue to feed them for another week or so.”
When a bird is injured
If you encounter an injured hummingbird, Laumann said to gently pick it up and place in a covered, ventilated box with soft cloth.
“Use rolled cloth if the bird needs support,” she said. “Put the box in a quiet place away from noise, pets and children. Do not hold the hummingbird. Do not give fluids without instructions. Call a wildlife rehabilitation licensee.”
Laumann said a tissue box, shoe box, cereal box or Tupperware type container with a soft cloth will work to carry a bird to safety. “Containers should have only a soft cloth … no branches, feeders or dishes,”she said.
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