Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Nectar makes hummingbirds at home in Odessa garden

My husband, Jay, recently returned from our neighbors' and announced hummingbirds were zooming around their place.

"If there, then here," I remarked.

We've lived at our place for 34 years, and while we have a variety of critters at our rural Odessa home, we'd never seen hummingbirds. I've long been intrigued by the unique little fellows but sort of figured they were more suited to other climates, like North Carolina, where we have enjoyed their antics many times, hovering around an outdoor porch during the summer.

I trotted out and bought a hummingbird feeder, heeding the advice of my sister in Indiana — who has dozens of hummingbirds at her place — that the feeder should be red, since the tiny little birds seem to favor that color. I mixed a batch of nectar: one part granulated sugar to two parts water, heated it until dissolved, let it cool completely and poured a cup in the feeder. On Saturday, I hung the feeder off our deck near large pots of rose colored impatiens, having read hummingbirds are drawn to brightly colored flowers.

Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical. Late Sunday evening, as Jay and I were sitting down for dinner, I jokingly said I hoped one day he'd hear me call out, "Got one!" That would indicate a hummingbird sighting.

We were enjoying dinner in front of the large glass doors that give a good view of our back yard. "Got one!" I shouted.

Jay gave me a disbelieving grin and said, "Sure you did. You're teasing."

Then he shot to standing and exclaimed "Did YOU see that?! We have hummingbirds!"

We finished dinner and perched ourselves on the deck, sitting quietly, enjoying the little birds that seemed to drop out of the trees to slurp the sweet nectar. For more than an hour, it was a constant flurry of activity. I had my camera posed for a shot to confirm later that we REALLY did have hummingbirds.

It's hard to photograph these tiny birds that can almost be mistaken for dragonflies. Weighing less than a penny and with a wingspan of four inches, the tiny birds flutter their wings so fast they are a blur. In feeding, they pose at the port, slurp the sweet liquid, hover back a few inches and then return for seconds, thirds or fourths. They feed for a few seconds. Then in a flash, they're gone.

The experts at the University of Florida say three types of hummingbirds primarily frequent Florida, the main one being the ruby-throated kind distinguishable by the bright red "scarf-like" band around the front of the neck. Some hummingbird enthusiasts have documented up to a dozen species here, though.

It's a real treat to enjoy these little fellows, so bring out that hummingbird feeder and enjoy the visit. Better yet, come by the Pioneer Florida Museum's Hummingbird Festival on Saturday. Its gardens are blooming with plants designed to attract the winged wonders. Perhaps you'll catch a glimpse of one of these beautiful little fellows.

.if you go

Festival for them

The Hummingbird Festival will run from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Pioneer Florida Museum, 15602 Pioneer Museum Road, Dade City. Admission is $6 adults; $5 seniors; and $2 students. Activities include hummingbird and butterfly gardens; presentation on bats, butterflies and birds; traditional crafts; bluebird boxes; native plants and wildlife garden plants. The Hallelujah Sisters and Misters will perform bluegrass and gospel music in concert at 10 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. For information, call the museum at (352) 567-0262.

by the numbers

338 Known species of hummingbirds in North and South America

16 Species of hummingbirds commonly found in the United States

3 Species of hummingbirds that primarily frequent Florida (though more have been spotted)

Source: University of Florida

Nectar makes hummingbirds at home in Odessa garden 05/16/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 8:03pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trigaux: No more VinikVille as Water Street Tampa finally arrives


    Adios, VinikVille! Hello Water Street Tampa.

    An aerial rendering of the $3 billion redevelopment project that Jeff Vinik and Strategic Property Partners plan on 50-plus acres around Amalie Arena.
[Rendering courtesy of Strategic Property Partners]
  2. Finally, Jeff Vinik's vision has a name: Water Street Tampa


    TAMPA — For years, Tampa Bay Lightning owner Jeff Vinik and the real estate executives he employs have been dreaming how to transform 53 acres of downtown Tampa into a major hub of living, working and entertaining in the city's core.

    Strategic Property Partners announced the name of its new development: Water Street Tampa. This rendering shows the Tampa skyline with SPP's future buildings in place. [Photos courtesy of SPP]
  3. Future, Ruff Ryders reunion tour coming to the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre in Tampa


    Tampa's MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheatre is in the midst of a killer summer of rock (Green Day, Muse, Linkin Park) and country (Sam Hunt, Lady Antebelleum, Dierks Bentley).

  4. Rubio remains noncommital on Obamacare replacement but a likely yes vote


    Sen. Marco Rubio has been bombarded with phone calls, emails and on Monday, protests took place outside his offices in Doral and Palm Beach Gardens. But while the effort is most unlikely to dissuade the Florida Republican from voting for the Obamacare replacement -- if it even comes up for a vote this week -- he remains …

    Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. speaks at an event in Miami, Friday, June 16, 2017, where President Donald Trump announced a revised Cuba policy aimed at stopping the flow of U.S. cash to the country's military and security services while maintaining diplomatic relations.
  5. James Wilder Jr. back at running Canada


    Remember when former Plant High star and Florida State running back James Wilder Jr. announced he was switching to linebacker?

    That was short-lived, apparently.