Monday, July 30, 2012

Bird Dishes

Besides not knowing the words, hummingbirds can't do dishes either, so once a week I'm scullery maid to a pile of nectar feeders gluey with drowned ants, moldy sugar, and germs that God made invisible because He knew we'd freak if we could see them. Bird systems are tiny, and feeding responsibly means washing their dishes, especially in very hot weather. Black mold grows most cleverly in the crevices beneath the feeder "blossoms." Do scrub there, topside and underside; it's the nectar-feeder equivalent of washing behind your ears.

Washing aerial tableware.
Glass feeders last longer than plastic and get visibly clean. Use regular dish detergent and a dish brush. Remove traces of mold inside the bottles with an old, clean toothbrush. For stubborn goo I dunk glass pieces in an extremely mild bleach solution, but one must then rinse rinse very very well and allow the feeder to air-dry completely so the fumes dissipate.
  • After handling bird things, anytime, wash your own hands really well.
Homemade nectar: Add one part sugar to four parts boiling water and stir until dissolved. Boil three more minutes. Allow it to cool. Do not add color; they don't need it. Never use any sweetener except white sugar. (Honey is lethal.) Proportion three parts water to one part white sugar if you want more hummers or you want your hummers livin' large.

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