. . . Bill also went on to say that the hurricanes Katrina and Rita were probably one of the most devastating events to affect not only hummingbirds, but migratory birds in general. Vegetation was completely destroyed all along the coast where the hummingbirds rested and put on fat for their 600 mile journey across the Gulf of Mexico. Many were lost over the gulf as they had no reserves to sustain them on the migration.

Hummingbirds rest and build reserves of fat all along the coast in preparation for their journey. They need proteins and fat to gain this weight. Sugar water and nectar alone will not build fat, it only gives them quick energy to hunt the insects that they need to build body mass. By the time they migrate, Ruby-throat hummingbirds will have nearly doubled their weight. These reserves are used in the twenty hour non-stop flight to their winter feeding grounds in Central America. Many people do not know that hummingbirds have a diet other than nectar. It is important to restrict the use of pesticides in habitats where you want to attract hummingbirds because, ‘a’ you are killing a potential food source when you spray, and ‘b’ the nectar in the flowers gets contaminated with the residue. The hummingbirds drink the nectar, so you are in effect poisoning the birds.

Bill suggests the best way to attract hummingbirds is a complete Hummingbird Habitat, rather than a Hummingbird Garden. There should be several different nectar sources, safe shelter, nesting areas, water, and solid food. For solid food, he suggests cultivating a healthy population of fruit flies. It seems that the birds love them. A few melon rinds, bananas, or rotten apples stashed in an out of the way area and kept moist, should do the trick.

from: Dave’s Garden