Get your hummingbird feeders cleaned and ready to be put out for the first arrivals. According to the interactive map at https://www.hummingbirdcentral.com/hummingbird-migration-spring-2021-map.htm the first hummers have arrived in far south Kentucky and Tennessee as of last week. The map is automatically updated by hummingbird fans documenting their first arrivals so you can check to see how the birds are advancing.

Before being put out, hummingbird feeders need to be thoroughly washed with a bleach water solution and well rinsed before being filled. The recipe for hummingbird sugar water is four parts water to one part sugar by volume. A variable amount can be mixed using different size containers. Mix four pints water and one pint of sugar or just take a common drinking glass and combine four glasses of water with one glass of sugar.

The mixture should be boiled and allowed to cool to room temperature before hanging out for the early arrivals. Feeders should be emptied and cleaned every 7-10 days to insure the birds get a healthy, uncontaminated meal. Never, never use food coloring to give the sugar water color! It is unnecessary and bird biologists believe it may be detrimental to the birds.

Don’t call them “bird brains!” Hummingbirds are disproportionately smart for their size! Hummingbirds recognize and remember people, and have been known to fly about peoples’ heads to alert them to empty feeders, or to sugar water which has soured or gone bad.

Sometimes, hummingbirds will get overly affectionate and fly right up into your face. This is not a reason for alarm. Hummingbirds generally fly up to someone’s face because they are curious or investigating a situation. They are extremely inquisitive about their surroundings and enforce caution and safety in their territory. They also recognize, associate and expect food from a homeowner when trained to be fed at a feeder.

Years ago, I had just refilled and brought the sugar water feeder back out into the yard and was about to hang it on the shepherd’s hook when a hummer approached. Holding very still, I simply extended my arm to see if the tiny feathered critter would come and eat. Sure enough, with no hesitation, the little rascal hovered at the feeder drinking its fill.

I should have remembered how territorial hummingbirds can be – fighting and chasing one another away from a feeder.

As I stood there calmly watching the little fellow eat, a rival came screaming past my ear, ducked under my arm and ran the other one off.

Hearing the sudden and totally unexpected loud buzz of wings in my left ear, the primitive man inside alerted me my body was under attack by an eight-pound bumblebee. It was a case of immediate fight or flight!

I chose flight, and screamed like a 2-year-old child and took off! I was halfway across the yard before I realized I had just been strafed by a one-once bundle of feathers. Thankfully none of the neighbors saw my side yard shenanigans.

Second bald eagle found Shot

Indiana Conservation Officers are now investigating the shooting deaths of two juvenile bald eagles found shot to death in the same area of the state.

Officers located the second juvenile eagle after responding to a call to a rural area in Northern Sullivan County along County Road 800 West, approximately eight miles west of Shelburn. As part of the investigation, the body of the eagle was recovered from a tree and found to have been shot. Officers believe the shooting occurred in early January.

The first juvenile bald eagle determined to have been shot was discovered in a southern Vigo County tree on March 10. Officers determined the juvenile eagle was killed from a gunshot to the breast area.

A joint $2,000 reward is being offered by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and Indiana Turn-in-a-Poacher, Inc. (TIP) to anyone with information leading to conviction of the responsible party/parties. If you have information, or know who is responsible, please contact DNR Law Enforcement Central Dispatch at 812-837-9536 or the TIP hotline at 1-800-847-4367 (TIP-IDNR).

Beginner kayak lessons

Patoka Lake interpretive naturalists will host a kayak lesson for beginners at 12:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17.

During the lesson, participants will get the opportunity to try several different styles of kayaks and paddles. Instructors will also cover the gear needed for a safe trip and the best places to paddle on Patoka Lake.

All equipment, including life jackets, will be provided. The event is open to anyone age 12 and older. Cost for the lesson is $5 per person, and space is limited. Advance registration is required by calling the Patoka Lake Nature Center at 812-685-2447.

The entrance fee of $7 per vehicle for Indiana residents and $9 for out-of-state residents is required for the Newton Stewart State Recreation Area, Patoka Lake, located north of Wickliffe on State Road 164. For more information regarding the program other interpretive events at Patoka Lake, please call the Nature Center at 812-685-2447.

‘till next time,

Jack

Readers can contact Jack Spaulding by writing to this publication, or e-mail to jackspaulding@hughes.net.

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