Indigo Buntings and Outwitting Ants

23 May

This handsome fellow has been hanging around our feeder for several days, but it has taken us a few tries to get a decent shot. This is a male indigo bunting – the female is all brown and could easily be mistaken for a wren, except that the tail is straight, not upright. She’s probably been around, but we haven’t noticed.

indigo bunting 2People (scientists) keep saying animals are color-blind, but that doesn’t explain why the females are always much more drab and often invisible.

hummingbird feeder  If you’ve been following my blog for very long, you know we have been plagued by ants inside the house. Anybody who feeds hummingbirds has probably watched in frustration while the bloody buggers climb up the post and drink the nectar you put out for the hummingbirds. Well, I think I have it solved.

I found a spray can top with an “inner circle” and punched a hole in the center, and strung a wire loop through the hole, long enough to reach beyond the top of the plastic lid. I filled the outer ring with water and a few drops of liquid dishwashing detergent. Not much, just a drop or two. When the ants crawl up the pole and down the wire loop, they cannot get past the water barrier. The soap breaks the surface tension of the water, and the ants drown. Be careful that the rim of the lid doesn’t touch the wire at any spot, or the ants will bypass your little trap. Some hot glue, blue tack, or even used chewing gum placed either inside or outside the cup will help keep it upright.

And there you are. An ant-proof hummingbird feeder.

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