Posted by Brent Wilson on 9/22/2016 to Birds & Wildlife
There is a huge selection of hummingbird feeders on the market today, and new ones are always being designed. When buying a hummingbird feeder, as with anything else, you often get what you pay for.
Choosing a Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbirds don't depend upon scent to locate nectar, but are attracted most often to brightly colored flowers, especially red. This is why hummingbird feeders are primarily red. So purchase a red feeder! My favorite hummingbird feeder is one I've been using for two decades...the BEST 1 Hummingbird Feeder.
Look for hummingbird feeders that do not block the vision of your hummingbirds.
Don't buy feeders that make a hummingbird stick its head down inside a deep flower. These deep flowers are a haven for fungus that can be harmful to hummingbirds. Give your hummingbirds the best chance for survival.
Placement of Hummingbird Feeders
Space two or more hummingbird feeders around your property. Place hummingbird feeders out of view of each other - maybe one in the back yard and one in the front. It makes it more difficult for any one hummingbird to patrol all the feeders.
If you have a larger number of hummingbirds visiting your feeders, you can probably group your hummingbird feeders together into one active feeding station. A large number of hummingbirds will just have to get used to sharing feeders!
Experiment in your own yard to get your own results. If the hummingbirds aren't feeding in one location, move the feeder elsewhere.
Hummingbird feeders placed in the shade are not as attractive to bees as feeders placed in the full sun. So hang your feeder in a shady location if possible.
Note: Put your hummingbird feeders up early to catch the earliest migrating hummingbirds. If you don't have blooming flowers near the feeders, add some color yourself. Tie some red bows and ribbons near the feeders as well.
There are several reason why hummingbirds might not feed from a hummingbird feeder.
If the feeder was cleaned with a strong, chemical-based detergent and not rinsed thoroughly this might deter the hummingbirds.
The hummingbirds at my house didn't like the nectar I made with processed sugar. I found they really liked the nectar made with Turbinado Evaporated Cane Sugar.
To make a little over 1 cup of hummingbird nectar recipe solution follow the below directions:
Make sure your feeder is cleaned thoroughly before adding new solution.
- Boil 1 cup of water.
- Stir 1/4 cup of white granulated sugar into the 1 cup of heated water.
- Stir until sugar dissolves.
- Cool, fill your hummingbird feeder and serve!
Any leftover nectar can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 weeks.
During warmer weather the nectar in a feeder should be changed every 4 to 5 days or it can sour. Because the hummers usually won't empty a full, large feeder in a few days time, it's best just to fill a feeder about one-third to halfway. This ensures the nectar will be fresh.
Adding red bows and ribbons to the base of your feeder, or somewhere close, will catch their attention.
To get one's flying by to stop and check your yard out, throw a red tablecloth over your outdoor table. Or if you don't have a table, toss it over something else. It doesn't have to stay there forever!
Add red accents around the garden: garden flags, hang feeders from colorful hooks, wind spinners, stained glass wind chimes, red hanging pots, paint a big rock or planter BRIGHT RED and add a "Welcome Hummingbirds" message to it!
Important Note: Leaving feeders out during the Winter will NOT prevent hummingbirds from migrating. Conversely, removing feeders will NOT convince birds to migrate! Hummingbirds migrate when their hormones tell them to, and generally after they've fattened up for the trip. If they're not ready to leave, they will just search for food elsewhere removing your feeder doesn't do them any favors. Furthermore, if you have a feeder out in Kentucky, rest assured that a western hummingbirds do not fly to your home all the way from Idaho just because your feeder is still out. Feeders simply bring into view some birds that are already in the neighborhood.
Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders
To avoid spread of diseases to hummingbirds, feeders should be cleaned at least once a week - more often in warm weather.
To clean your feeder, you can use a diluted solution of bleach or vinegar as a cleaning agent. Place two tablespoons of either liquid in the empty hummingbird feeder and fill it with water. Let the feeder sit upright for 20 minutes or more until all mold has disappeared. Ports and other parts can be removed from the feeder and allowed to soak in a bowl of the same cleaning solution. Be sure to rinse feeder and parts thoroughly with clean water before refilling with nectar.
As an alternative to bleach, try using grains of uncooked rice as tiny scrubbers. Using a funnel, put 1/4 cup rice into the feeder and fill it only with enough with warm water to make the rice slippery. Put your finger over the opening and shake vigorously until all mold disappears.
A cotton swab is helpful in removing dirt or mold stuck in feeder ports.
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