Wednesday, June 08, 2011

Ho Hum

Last week, Bear and I sat on the porch, waiting for the hummers to visit the feeder.
 It was a hot day, so I came prepared with a glass of iced blackberry/pomegrante green tea (unsweetened of course) and some dark chocolate peanut M&M's.
Just call me "AntiOxidant Man".

Bear had some water and a biscuit.

We snacked and waited.

We waited and waited.

Then, we waited some more.

Bear, ever the genetically engineered bird dog, never wavered from his post.

Other things flitted and flopped by, but no hummingbird came to the feeder.

I was becoming hummingbored.

Eventually my supply of M&M's and green tea ran out, and yet still no hummingbirds.

Bear suggested we investigate the feeder.
He noted that the CLEAR sugar water had a slight change in transparency and I had to agree he was right.

Perhaps our solution was growing a culture.

I decided to flush it all out, sterilize it and then fill it with fresh nectar.

That is when I discovered these ...

The feeder's fake flower feeding tubes were all jammed up with dead ants.

It was late when I discovered the ant carcass clog, so I grabbed the nearest thing that offered some size reference.

That is a standard 5cc syringe in the background.

These might be harvest ants (Doug?).

We are pretty droughty here and perhaps the lure of sweet water was too intoxicating to resist.

In any case, they apparently entered through the feeding tubes meant for a hummers bill and then died inside.

Every single flower was clogged, but not for long as I took the feeder apart and completely sterilized it.

The next morning, I replaced it with a fresh batch of nectar.

The hummer was feeding an hour later.

Bear has been unbearably smug ever since.

He says it is a "bird dog thang" and I would not understand.


Anonymous said...

Oh FC...sigh! Don't you ever get bored with being so 'doggoned' clever? Just passing through here but will see you next month for a few weeks!

Sayre said...

Lucky for you, Bear is on the ball! I've seen that happen before, though I can't help you out with what kind of ant that is.

Sharon said...

I tell ya, good looks AND intelligence. That dog has it all ;)

cinbad122 said...

You should have had peanuts and a coke! :)

Doug Taron said...

I'm not much of an ant guy. The antennae don't look quite right to me for a harvester ant. It might be one of the spine-waisted ants (Genus Aphenogaster). They are in the same subfamily as harvester ants.

Floridacracker said...


Bear keeps me straight. He's tinkering in the barn right now.

Oh he is the complete package all right.

Now THAT is nectar!

Works for me. Thanks!

lisa said...

Bear is very observant! I usually get the bees in the feeders ;)

threecollie said...

Good Bear! The only birds Nick sees are chickens and he really isn't supposed to be looking...unless he is asked.

Mark said...

I'd rather have our dog watching the hummers than the multitude of cats we have watching them. If I see a cat catch one of them, he's going to be a sorry cat.

Anonymous said...

Hey FC,

Smart pup that you've got there. Who says we can't learn from animals!


BBB said...

You should get an ant guard and fill it with water to keep the ants out of the feeder.

robin andrea said...

I have seen all kinds of wasp and bee critters hanging around the hummingbird feeder, but never ants. Interesting to find them there.

Banjo52 said...

Maybe it's a salmon ant -- you know, swimming upstream . . .

The patience and attention of some dogs (all of them big dogs?) is just amazing, isn't it.

myamuhnative said...

Agree that you need an ant moat.
I use the kind that looks like a bell and you coat the insides with vaseline.
A homemade version can be made with the top from a spray can- a clean one like from Pam or soemthing. Poke a hole in the center ,thread onto some fishing line or wire( I like leader wire), put a split shot on the wire as a stop.Coat inside with vaseline and attach your moat wire to the feeder . Viola! no more ants. Doesn't keep out the carolina anoles, myrtle warblers or raccoons though ;-0

Ericka said...

sounds like the wait was a very nice one. and yay, bear!

amarkonmywall said...

Yes, as others have mentioned, the ant moats work. There is a relatively cheap model here:

also there you will see this feeder which is the best and easiest to clean and the hummers love it, also not too expensive.

Sitting all day watching for hummers with Bear and M&Ms sounds like just the ticket for a hard working AntiOxidant guy.

Floridacracker said...

Thank you ant moat moativators! I shall find one.

Julie Zickefoose said...

You'll probably make your own ant moat. Ima go out and cut me a switch, 'cuz you're not checking your ports. Notice how somebody pulled the abdomens off those ants? Yum! Nectar-packed!