A Little Hummingbird Told Me

We had concerns about hummingbirds. Where were they? Why weren’t they coming back to our yard after seeming to enjoy our eateries last year? We had seen two scouts early in the season, but that was all.

For weeks, we kept the feeders clean and stocked with sweet nectar, to no avail. I thought it might be because more people had moved into our new neighbourhood and there were more feeding options. Maybe they played better music or had prettier flowers in their gardens. Perhaps we had a bad review on Hummingbird Trip Advisor? Competition can get fierce!

Then a couple of weeks ago we saw one. Then another. And now it’s good times in the backyard again.

Where did the hummingbirds go?

Some bird nerds say everything in nature was thrown off by a wet winter. The birds weren’t gone, they were delayed. Birders in Oregon, San Diego, and all over Ontario reported the same thing: no birds until late in the season.

Derek especially gets a kick out of them. He likes to read outside on the deck and routinely gets checked out by hummingbirds at close range. He’s taken lots of shots.

Living in the country is where we got into hummingbirds. We could see them fly in and out for a long way over the cornfield out back of our house. They’re fascinating little creatures and quite competitive.

To Hate a Hummingbird You’d Have to Be A…Wasp

Wasps are their enemies. The insects will try to sting a hummer (or bummingherd, as Derek calls them) to keep them away from feeders. So we’ve gone on the offensive.

My hand holding a white spray bottle with a label that reads: wasp murder spray.

It’s a simple formula, it won’t hurt hummingbirds, and you don’t have to actually kill the wasps. If it’s sprayed on surfaces at dusk or dawn, the wasps will stay away. It only kills them if there’s a direct hit.

Fill a bottle with water. Add two good shots of dish liquid. And if you like, 10-15 drops of peppermint or lemongrass oil. Wasps hate the scents.

If I have to, I’m not afraid to go Tony Soprano when it comes to protecting hummingbirds. But, this entomologist takes offence at whacking wasps, pointing out that they are pollinators, just like bees. I suspect, though, that if we look into his finances, we’ll discover he’s being funded by the powerful Wasp Union.

My fave trick is the fake wasp nest. Because wasps are so territorial, when they see the “nest” they’ll go somewhere else to avoid a fight. Stupid wasps! You can get a fake nest at hardware stores, Walmart, etc. You’ll notice them on farm properties because they work. Hanging a couple of them kept wasps away from our farm house in Southwold.

So, whether you’ve had hummingbirds visiting since the spring (lucky you!) or you’re still waiting for the feeders to get busy, know that it’s them, not you. And they’re always worth the wait.

6 thoughts on “A Little Hummingbird Told Me”

  1. Lovely story, we don’t get hummingbirds but we do get carpenter bees, they were drilling holes in our porch. I read online that a paper lunch bag fill with paper etc will deter them. So I thought why not, so I hung it on the porch, low and behold it worked! Everyone laughed at me when I told them what it was for, they were so surprised when it worked.

    1. That’s a great tip! We had carpenter bees on our deck in London. I wish I knew that trick then. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. What do you think the specific appeal of hummingbirds is? There are plenty of birds, but people seem to have a special place in their hearts for them. Is it because they’re small? Small things are cute, after all.

  3. Love this Lisa 💚 Thanks for the wasp tip of your spray mixture. I too use the fake wasp nests. Hummingbirds bring such joy. I have never had so many come as frequently since we moved here at the end of March. I am very pleased with our first season. They are enjoying all my flowers as well as other pollinator plants. Butterfly bush attracts them too. We had monarchs & a hummingbird on at the same time once. Life sure is all about the little things!

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