More and more hummingbirds have been arriving at our feeders for the last month now and provide us with lots of entertainment! Hummingbirds specialize in eating nectar, and they depend on this sugar-rich food for up to 90 percent of their diet.
If hummingbirds migrate to your area, here’s a recap on how you can help attract these beauties to your yard. (By the way, Joey is an adult male, Black-chinned hummingbird. When the light catches his throat, or gorget, just right, the coloring is a deep, rich beautiful purple!)
- Hang a feeder, preferable with red, like a red base, that will attract the hummingbirds. Fill with a simple sugar solution you can make at home.
- Sugar solution:
- 1 part sugar
- 4 parts water
- Boil for about 2 minutes to clear out chlorine and dissolve the sugar. Do not boil too long as the water evaporation can create a more concentrated sugar solution. Cool and store unused portion in the refrigerator.
- Never use honey or artificial sweeteners. Honey ferments easily and promotes the growth of harmful bacteria. Artificial sweeteners have no food value.
- Avoid adding red food coloring. The dye may be harmful to the birds. Regardless, it is an additive and in my opinion, it’s better to be safe and leave it out. The birds will be attracted to the red color on the hummingbird feeders.
- Hang feeders in the shade to discourage fermentation of the sugar solution.
- Clean the feeders about once a week and change the sugar solution regularly, about 2 to 3 times a week in hot weather, before the water gets cloudy. Fill it only part way to avoid wasting food. We fill ours about 1/3 full each time…adding more if the birds start draining the food quicker.
- The sugar solution can ferment quickly in hot weather and be less attracting for the birds. The fermentation can also cause mold, which can be harmful or fatal.
- Use one part white vinegar to four parts water as a cleaning solution for the feeders. To remove mold deposits, add dry rice grains and shake vigorously to scrub the mold off. Make sure the feeding ports are not clogged. Rinse three times with warm water before refilling with food.
- Hummingbirds are territorial and will dominate feeders close to each other. Put up multiple feeders in different locations, out of view from each other.
- Hang the feeders about two weeks before they start arriving in the spring. In the fall, leave them up for about two weeks after you see the last hummingbird at the feeders. Hummingbirds know when it’s time to leave and will not stay if you leave the feeders out. Plus, they need to double their body mass before they migrate south, so they will need to consume a LOT of food for their long journey.
I hope you are all having a nice week!