Thursday, June 9, 2011

Habitat Helper for Hummingbirds

We recently got a visit from a hummingbird to a nesting material station that I set up about 2 months back.  I no longer wanted to support the local rodent populations with the spilled remains of bird feeders, but I enjoy encouraging the local birds to come down for closer observation.  I was watching one of the local songbirds yank coco fiber from the liners on hanging baskets, and it dawned on me I may be able to encourage the birds to come down, at least during the spring/summer, by providing some nesting material.  I'd also often see birds up by the horses, taking off with some of the long mane hairs left on the fence line, so it could work.

I took down one of the suet baskets, and filled it up with natural cotton balls, which seemed like they would make good lining material, and hung it up outside with high hopes.  Then watched it, and watched it, and watched it - but it didn't get touched for the better part of two months.  Granted, it's been uncharacteristically pouring rain and cold most of that time.  The cotton balls held up well through the weather, and it looked like I'd just put them up fresh most of that time.

The weather just got nice this week, and low and behold, today I saw a hummingbird spending a lot of time buzzing around the cotton cage, and it finally dawned on me it may actually be using it.  I started watching with no small amount of anticipation, and I saw the little guy taking small tufts of cotton out through the wire!  After watching him dart up through the trees with a beak full of fluff, I realized that the cotton through the whole cage now had a frizzy look, from having bits of it tugged out.

I do not yet have images of birds removing the cotton, I will try and get a camera trap set up on it soon, but I wanted to share this post in case any one else wanted to try this out this season.


  1. Cool! I hope the camera trap gets some good pictures!

  2. Great idea. Might have to hang one of those for my hummers.

  3. Thanks Trailblazer and RT! The cotton cage is looking more frizzy by the day, so that is a good sign for some pics.

    RT, definitely let me know how it goes if you put one up. I'm curious to see if you get different species.


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