Our Hummingbird Helper Nesting Material endorsed and recommended by “The Hummingbird Society”
This product review will be in the March-2009 edition of “The Hummingbird Connection”, the Hummingbird Society’s Journal. The review was written by Ross Hawkins, Executive Director of the Hummingbird Society.
Hummer Helper, a source of nesting material for Hummingbirds, in a convenient holder is manufactured and distributed by Songbird Essentials. This product has a story behind it. In 1995, my wife, Beth and I discovered Dan Brown’s Hummer House”* near Christoval, Texas. We heard he had a very large population of nesting Black-chinned Hummingbirds. Hoping to take a few photos of his feathered residents, we toted our cameras and tripods to Christoval. We were not disappointed: In a one-hour walk around, we found 15 (!) active nests within a few hundred feet!
The primary reason - not surprisingly - was his consistent feeding over many years; at the time we saw seventeen half-gallon feeders. But another reason was his encouraging the female hummers by providing nesting material: Unprocessed natural material from a furniture factory. Dan kept a big clump of this natural material tied to one of the many live oak trees on his property, in particular, one he could see easily from his back patio.
We watched with excitement as female after female came up to the material, gathered a piece in her beak, and disappeared into the live oaks.
Jump now to the present. This past May we learned that Songbird Essentials had introduced a new product: Hummer Helper. This is an open-wire frame, 10.5 x 6 inches, holding the same material we had seen at Dan’s house! We had to try it.
Beth hung a Hummer Helper on the second-floor patio of her photo gallery. She had already begun drawing hummingbirds with a couple of small feeders. Within 2 days, females of both Anna’s and Black-chinned Hummingbirds were observed taking away the nesting material. This, in a two-story office building!
We placed the second unit at home, in an apricot tree near some of the feeders in our yard. It was discovered quickly by the hummers. And this year, for the first time, we discovered an active Black-chinned nest several hundred feet from our house.
We also observed Lesser Goldfinches taking the material. Other unnoticed species may also have been consumers, which is O.K. with us.
We recommend this product, the first we’ve seen aimed at encouraging hummingbird nesting in a natural way. It has the potential to help you bring in more hummers where you can observe them, and then to increase the odds that they will nest near you. The latter will also assure that more fledglings will visit your feeders. And, since hummers practice “site fidelity” and return to the same site every year, you could see an increasing number of hummingbirds in the future.
You can learn more about the Hummingbird Society at: www.hummingbirdsociety.org or call 800-529-3699. We sincerely encourage you to join. They are doing some great things in preserving the habitat of Hummingbirds in Central and South America. We also encourage you to visit Hummer House in Texas. It’s worth the trip!!