Wild Birds Unlimited Newsletter
~ For those passionate about birding and nature ~
May 2019                                                                                          Volume 5.19
The Magic of Hummingbirds!
It is that wonderful time of year that Black-Chinned Hummingbirds are returning to our local areas for another summer. Have you seen any of these little flying jewels yet?  Keep your eyes peeled and your feeders full to ensure they see your yard as the perfect place to settle down and make a home so you can enjoy them all summer long. Want to know more about these remarkable little birds? Read on!

Did you know there are over 18 different hummingbird species in North America (and over 325 species total)? The Black-Chinned Hummingbird is one of the only breeding species here in Washoe County, however we do have a growing population of over-wintering Anna's in the Reno/Sparks areas. Hummingbirds are the second largest bird family (only flycatchers have more) and are only found in the New World (North, Central and South America).
Black-chinned Hummingbirds can be found in the West, most common in canyons and along rivers. In arid areas, most often found near cottonwood, sycamore, willow, salt-cedar, sugarberry, and oak. Birds wintering along Gulf very often spend time in shade of oaks.

Black-Chinned Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of red, orange and purple tubular flowers such as Obedient Plant, Wild Columbine and Wild Bergamot (also known as bee-balm). While Hummingbirds are not born with an innate preference for the color red, they do quickly learn to associate certain flower colors with food.  They also eat insects and insect eggs on the ground, plucked from spider webs, and in trees. They love spiders and spider eggs, and use their bill and not their tongue to catch insects.  Contrary to popular belief, they do not suck up the nectar through their bill, instead they lap up nectar with their long, grooved tongues. These grooves on either side of the tongue create a capillary action helping draw the nectar up the tongue and into the mouth. They can move their tongues in and out of their bill up to 12 times a second while eating!
Hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes. You can feed Hummingbirds in your backyard by planting tubular flowers and/or hanging feeders filled with a nectar solution. This solution is super easy to make at home: Mix four parts water and one part ordinary table sugar to create the perfect nectar solution. Example: (4 cups of water, 1 cup of refined sugar). Be sure to change the nectar and wash your feeder in hot water every three to four days (more often in hot weather or if you see it turning cloudy). If you have a WBU Hummingbird Feeder, you can simply place it in the top rack of your dishwasher. To save time, you can to make a large batch ahead of time and store the leftover solution in the fridge. Just be sure to boil the water first before mixing in the sugar.  Never add red food coloring, honey or artificial sweeteners to the solution, as this can harm the birds and is unnecessary.  Place the feeder(s) near your house or by a window for the perfect viewing spot, these birds are very bold and this won't deter them from visiting your feeder(s).

Hummingbirds start to nest in our region in late May into early June. Most Black-chinned Hummingbird nests have been found an average of 6 feet and at most 12 feet above the ground, but this may be because nests at this height are easier for observers to find. The nest is often on an exposed small horizontal dead branch well below the canopy.
Once laid, the tiny white eggs are incubated for 12-16 days with the nearly-naked nestlings staying in the nest for a further 18-22 days before fledging. Quite often they start a second brood as soon as the first have fledged, each clutch bearing 1-2 eggs.

Cool Facts
  • Hummingbirds can extend their tongue almost as long as their bill.
  • Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day.
  • A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than her egg.
  • Hummingbirds have such poorly developed legs that they are unable to walk, instead they can only shuffle along a perch.
  • The oldest known Hummingbird was a female, and was at least 9 years, 1 month old when she was recaptured/released during banding operations in West Virginia.
I hope you enjoyed this quick look into these flashy visitors to our region.  If you'd like to learn even more, check out the Cornell Lab's All About Birds page (www.allaboutbirds.org) on Black-Chinned Hummingbirds. It's a great resource with plenty of additional information. 
Happy Birding!
Click here to go to the Moana Nursery Website for more information
Wild Birds Unlimited
Rewards Members Special!   

30% all Aspects Brand Hummingbird Feeders
Don't forget to check out our current Moana Nursery Garden Specials
Hummingbird Feeder Promo! 

~ Rewards Members ~
Purchase a 12 or 16 oz. Aspect Feeder or spend $50 at Moana Nursery will receive a FREE 16 oz. Moana Nursery bottle of hummingbird nectar, plus refills at any of our locations (Sparks, Moana Lane, South Virginia) throughout May and June, 2019.

*All specials are limited to stock on hand. Discounts on regular retails only. Selection and specials valid May 1 - 31, 2019, unless otherwise noted.
Fun Facts About Hummingbirds

- There are 18 hummingbird species in North America. Hummingbirds are found no where else in the world except the New World (North, Central, and South America.)

- The oldest known wild hummingbird on recorded was a Broad-tailed Hummingbird that was over 12 years old.

- There are over 325 species of hummingbirds, making them the second largest bird family in the world, second only to flycatchers.

- Hummingbirds weigh 1/10th of an ounce; about the weight of a penny.

- Hummingbirds' brains are about the size of a BB.

- Hummingbirds' hearts are larger proportionally to their body than any other bird or mammal.

- Hummingbirds have such underdeveloped legs that they are unable to walk well.

- A mother hummingbird weighs only about eight times more than her egg.

- Hummingbirds lay the world's smallest bird egg.

- Hummingbirds generally lay two eggs, each about the size of a blueberry.

- Hummingbirds use spider webs as glue to attach the nest to a tree branch as well as a binding agent for the building materials.

- The nest is about the size of a golf ball; around 1 ½ inches in diameter.

- Hummingbirds eat about every ten minutes.

- Hummingbirds learn to associate flower colors, like red, with food. They do not have an innate preference for red.

- Hummingbirds can be very protective with feeding areas. One Anna's Hummingbird was seen killing another using its bill as a spear when a freeze killed a significant portion of flowers in the area. You can offer birds a helping hand in harsh weather times by providing extra feeders.

- Hummingbirds can drink up to twice their body weight in nectar every day (most birds only eat ¼ - ½ their body weight).

- They drink nectar from plants and sugar water from feeders.

- Hummingbirds lap up nectar with their long tongues. There is a groove on either side of the tongue that creates a capillary action to help draw the nectar up the tongue and into the mouth during the lapping action.

- They eat insects and insect eggs on the ground and in trees. They love spiders and spider eggs. They use their bill and not their tongue to catch insects.

- One research study recorded an Anna's Hummingbird visiting over a 1,000 flower blossoms a day.

Check out these Happy Hummers!
Wild Birds Unlimited - Hummingbird Feeders

Upcoming Events

Lahontan Audubon Society

Wednesday, May 1
 Birds of the Truckee Meadows -Introduction to Birding, Dave Jickling
Friday, May 3
 Field Trip - Davis Creek RP
Saturday, May 4
 Field Trip - McCarran Ranch
Wednesday, May 8
 Birds of the Truckee Meadows - Backyard Birds, Alan Gubanich
Saturday, May 11
 Spring Wings Bird Festival, Fallon, NV
Tuesday, May 14
 LAS Board meeting
Wednesday, May 15
 Birds of the Truckee Meadows - Raptors, Birds of Prey, Alan Gubanich
Thursday, May 16
Saturday, May 18
 Field Trip - Silver Saddle Ranch, Carson
 Celebrate the Valley, Washoe Valley, NV
Sunday, May 19
Friday, May 24
 Field Trip - Rancho San Rafael, Reno
Tuesday, May 28
 Program Meeting - Bob Goodman, Passing through Passes
Wednesday, May 29
 Birds of the Truckee Meadows-Flycatchers, Don Molde
Friday, May 31
 Field Trip - Hunter Creek Trail

Tahoe Institute of Natural Science

Mon Apr 29 @12:00AM
Thu May 02 @ 7:30AM - 09:00AM
Thu May 02 @ 8:00PM - 09:30PM
Wed May 08 @ 7:30AM - 09:30AM

Go to Tinsweb website for full list of outings 

Nature Happenings

* June is Perennial Garden Month & National Rivers Month
* Listen for the trilling sound of the male Black-chinned Hummingbird's wings as it darts about in search of insects, nectar and females.
* Some cavity-dwelling species may attempt to start a second brood. Be sure to check your nest boxes.
* Add suet dough to your bird feeding station during the hot summer.
* Bird migration is finished. Birds that are here now are summer residents that nest.
* As the month progresses, feeders can become busy with visiting parents and fledglings.
* Moving water is a real magnet for some non-seed eating migrants.
* Provide fruit like orange halves and apples for tanagers, orioles and grosbeaks.
* Listen for unusual bird calls as a clue to find different birds visiting your backyard.
* Orioles and grosbeaks are nesting.
* House Finches young are fledging.
* Most American Goldfinches are moving to higher elevations to breed.
* Peak breeding season for Anna's and Allen's Hummingbirds.
* Calliope Hummingbirds arrive in the high mountains.
* Mockingbird singing fades as pairs form.
* Eta Aquarids meteor shower is early-May.
* International Migratory Bird Day is mid-May.
* Keep cats inside to help protect fledglings.
* House Wrens are nesting.

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Moana Nursery | 1100 W. Moana Lane | 11301 S. Virginia St. | 7655 Pyramid Hwy. | Reno/Sparks | NV | 89509