In the So Many Fairies story, “The Hummingbird Lady”, the Hummingbird Lady lives in a remarkably unusual house on West Broad Street.
But she hasn’t always been the Hummingbird Lady. Once she was a child named Marion who felt more at home with her nose in a book than outside watching the birds fly and the flowers bloom. Then, one day, when she was grown up and living in the city, she got a visit from a hummingbird fairy who opened a door to a whole new world.
Did you know that hummingbirds can fly backwards and upside down? Or that their wings flap about 80 times a second? Or that—in addition to nectar—they love to eat spiders?
All of that is true, but—as Marion learns in the story—it isn't the whole truth.
If you've ever seen a hummingbird in real life you'll know that the the whole truth is that they are at least half-fairy. That's the only thing that can explain their fascination—how they can pause a whole summer barbecue when they appear at the host's hummingbird feeder, how even the most loquacious child is amazed into to reverent silence when one zooms by.
And, in truth, it's that otherworldly quality that might just save them. Like many other birds, hummingbirds are threatened by habitat destruction and climate change. However—because we humans love to attract them to our gardens with feeders—they stand a better chance of battling onwards than many of their less beloved cousins.
To help with that effort, this week's craft is an easy-peasy, recycled hummingbird feeder.
Other than the feeder tube (which you can pick up at most hardware stores or order online), you can probably find the materials around your house. And once you've got your feeder put together, making the nectar to fill it is, literally, as easy as boiling water.
There's no need to add red dye to your hummingbird nectar, but it is important to keep your feeder clean. Hummingbirds can get sick from bacteria that will grow in the sugar water if you don't change it every 3-4 days.
With those bits in mind, dig into your recycling bin and let's attract some fairies! (Er...I mean, hummingbirds!)
Recycled Hummingbird Feeder
aluminum or copper wire (about 6 feet)
empty glass soda bottle
hummingbird feeder tube
Cut a length of wire about 6 feet long. Starting in the middle of the wire, wrap the wire around the narrowest part of the bottle neck a few times, then take both ends and—with each end on opposite sides of the bottle—pull them up under the wraps you've made.
Now you're going to secure the rest of the bottle with an “X” pattern. To do so, bring the wire ends to one side of the bottle and twist them together once. Then, bring the wire ends to the opposite side of the bottle and twist them together once. You should now have an “X” on both sides. Continue in this manner, alternating sides, until you reach the bottom of the bottle.
Then, twist the wires together to make a hook for hanging.
Fill the bottle with hummingbird nectar (recipe below), use the feeder tube to cork it off, and hang your new feeder somewhere where you can watch the magic.
Mix one part sugar to four parts water in an appropriately sized saucepan. Bring to a boil, and stir until the sugar dissolves. Allow to cool completely, then use to fill hummingbird feeders, being sure to change the nectar and clean the feeder every 3-4 days.
If you liked this tutorial, here are others you might enjoy:
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About the Author
The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.
Meryl lives in a hundred-year-old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two preschoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion — showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun — in her Sparkle Kitchen posts.