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The Coolest Hummers

Meet the tiniest bird in the Biosphere, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird! These amazing little creatures have a lot of attitude and determination, despite their size. We’ve got no time to waste! Let’s get going with some fast facts on the Ruby-throated Hummingbird!

Here’s How You Can Help Hummingbirds

1. Hummingbirds like to perch in trees – especially deciduous trees like maples and oaks. If you have trees in your yard, hummingbirds will feel more comfortable visiting!

2. Plant a pollinator garden! Hummingbirds like to eat nectar from different species of flowers. They also love to pick off little insects from plants. Here are a few favourite native flowers for the Ruby-throated hummingbird:

  • Wild Columbine
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Spotted Jewelweed
  • Bee Balm (also called Wild Bergamot)

3. Keep your cats inside! Cats are a major threat to hummingbirds – especially when the hummingbirds are in torpor and are slow to respond to a sneaky cat. If your cat really, really wants to go outside, put them on a leash and supervise them in your yard. Or, build them an outdoor “catio” (a cat patio)!

Photo by Mackenzie Ruffo

4. Interested in setting up a hummingbird feeder?
Here are some basics: 

  • Get the recipe for hummingbird nectar here. Remember to use regular white sugar and hot or boiled water! 
Hummingbird visiting a feeder (in the Georgian Bay Biosphere!)
Photo by Tianna Burke
  • If you want to feed hummingbirds you have to make sure you are feeding them safely! Change the nectar in the feeder every 3 or 4 days. If you let the nectar sit out too long it will spoil and make the hummingbirds sick. Don’t fill the feeder all the way up if the hummingbirds aren’t using all the nectar within 3 or 4 days. This way you do not waste nectar.
  • Hang the feeder at least 1 metre off the ground to keep it out of reach of any stray cats. (Not your cat though, because you keep your cat indoors, on a leash, or in a catio)
  • Put the feeder in a shady spot (like near a tree). Keep it at least a metre away from your window so that hummingbirds don’t crash into your window and get hurt!

5.  For more information on how to attract hummingbirds to your yard, check out this web page from the National Audubon Society

Cool Stuff

A National Geographic post by hummingbird researcher Anusha Shankar: what it’s like to be a hummingbird researcher, including why it’s helpful to study hummingbird pee! 

Critter Craft: Make a Pom-Pom Hummingbird

You will need:

  • 2 pom-poms for the hummingbird’s body
  • 2 eyes (googly eyes or buttons work well!)
  • 1 or 2 pipe cleaners for the feet and tail
  • 2 wings cut out from felt or fabric
  • 1 toothpick painted or coloured black for the beak
  • craft glue

How to make your hummingbird:

Start by gluing the wings to the top of one pom-pom. On the end of the same pom-pom, glue on the tail.

Let the glue dry, then gently flip the “body” pom-pom over and glue on the feet.

As the glue dries, glue the beak and eyes onto the other pom-pom to make the hummingbird’s head. You might need to trim the toothpick beak if it’s too long.

Once the head and body are both DRY, you can glue the head pom-pom onto the body pom-pom.

Once it is dry, you are done! Let us know in a comment what you named your hummingbird!

Blog by Kayla Martin for the Georgian Bay Biosphere. Cartoons by Kayla Martin. 2020

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