How to Tame Wild Humming Birds (Oct, 1952)

How to Tame Wild Humming Birds

RALPH J. AYER, a farmer living on a rural route out of Eastonville, Colorado, has a hobby that requires a great deal of patience—that of taming wild humming birds. The humming bird is very suspicious of mankind as a rule, but Mr. Ayer decided to try to trick them into becoming better acquainted with him.

His first step was to drive small wooden stakes equipped with wire perches into the ground. Into the top of each stake he bored a small hole large enough to hold a perfume bottle filled with honey and sugar water. Over the mouth of the jar he slipped gladiolus flowers and tied them on. The tiny birds sipped from the bottles. Gradually, he moved the stakes nearer the house and dispensed with the flower covering. The birds continued to sip from the bottles, which were placed eventually on the window sills. There the birds would sip the nectar, then wipe off their tiny bills on the window panes. Finally, by using extreme patience, he made them so friendly that they would sip the nectar from bottles held between his lips or in his hands.

Because the birds have been very tame each year since he began his plan, Mr. Ayer is convinced that the same birds return each summer.

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