Feeding Hummingbirds

If you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard this year, then here are a few tips to help you get started.

From personal experience, you attract hummingbirds faster if you make your own food.  It is not hard and does NOT contain the red food dye that is in the commercially bought powdered food.  You still have to mix water with that purchased packaged food, so why not just make your own?

Many hummingbird lovers are concerned about the dye, so they make their own.  It is true that these tiny miracles of nature are attracted to red and orange colors, but it doesn’t have to be in the food, it can be in the feeder itself. 

Here is a great hummingbird feeder recipe to get started with:

¼ cup of white sugar – DO NOT USE SPLENDA OR OTHER DIET SUGARS, just normal white sugar.

1 cup of water

Bring the water and sugar to a boil and make sure to be stirring it until it is dissolved.  Let it boil for at least a full minute. 

Take it off the heat, cover it with a lid and let it cool naturally.  Once cooled down, you can add this to one feeder.  This batch is perfect for one feeder.  If you would like to have multiple hummingbird feeders then double or triple the above batch of the hummingbird feeder recipe, and keep any extra covered in the fridge.

When it comes to attracting hummingbirds you have to take care of their health, by changing the feeder food every 3 days or so, especially in the hot weather.  By boiling the sugar and water you keep it fresh for a few days, but in the hot weather, if they have not used it up, you run the risk of it going mouldy.

When purchasing a hummingbird feeder, personally I prefer the glass ones they are much easier to clean and don’t go cloudy.  By having colourful flower on them and the feeder tubes looking like flowers, there is no need to have red food.

Hummingbirds actually lick up the nectar, they don’t suck it out, so sometimes they will dribble nectar onto the feeder which can attract bees, so try and keep it clean. 

A hummingbird beats its little wings 53 beats per second and therefore needs to feed every 10 to 15 minutes as they burn enormous amounts of calories.

They are also territorial, and so if you want to have a few hummingbird feeders around your yard, space them out a bit, or they will get into fights.

When replacing the food for your feeders, the best way to do this, is to make up a fresh batch, let it cool, then in the evening when the hummingbirds are finished for the night, bring in the feeders and empty any residue and then wash them out with plain white vinegar and hot water.  Add some vinegar to the container and then the hot tap water, and swish it around.

If you notice that this glass feeder has some mould spots, or cloudy spots forming on the glass, then you can add a few grains of rice and really shake around, this should scrub the glass and then empty it out and really clean well with fresh water.  Don’t use cleaners or soap in your hummingbird feeders  it can be hard to get out the soap residue.  A small bottle brush is also a great way to clean your feeder.

Make sure you wash all the parts to the feeder well, and then after rinsing well with clear water and making sure they are drained, you can refill your feeders with the food and put them back out, so that they are ready for the morning.  Hummingbirds are early risers, and quickly get used to where the feeders are, so you don’t want them missing in action for too long.  Cleaning them at night works best for this.

If you have just started hanging out feeders and are trying to attract hummingbirds to your yard, then make sure and plant some flowering shrubs, or annual flowers that are bright red or orange.  Hummingbirds will still go to lighter coloured flowers, but tend to be attracted first to the brighter ones. Perky Pet 203CP Pinch Waist Glass 8 Ounce Hummingbird Feeder glass hummingbird feeders

By having a feeder hanging nearby, they will naturally migrate to the feeder.  You can hang them in trees or on their own garden hook, just make sure they are high enough off the ground so that other critters, such as cats don’t scare them off.

We have tall garden hooks, with stakes on the bottom to get them firmly in the ground, they are the type that you would put your hanging baskets on.  I use one side for a hanging flower basket and the other side for a hummingbird feeder.  These are beside my back deck, so you can sit out and relax and watch the hummingbirds in action.  They will get used to you being there, as long as you don’t make sudden moves, they will quite often feed within feet of you.

Many people actually will get them to feed out of their hands if they hold a container, but I just to like being near them.  They are amazing to look at, and to watch feed.

As long as you refresh their food every few days, they will keep coming back.  Also in the spring, watch for any flowering plants to bloom, usually the hummingbirds will come back for the season when there are some blooms to eat.  It all depends on where you live.  I personally live an hour north of Toronto in Canada, and find that the hummingbirds are back around the 15th of May, so I start putting the feeders out the last week of April or first week of May as some will get here early.

Once they have found your yard, they will nest nearby, so once you start attracting hummingbirds to your yard, you should continue with the feeder for the season.  If you go away for vacation, make up a large batch ahead of time and keep in the fridge and have someone replace it for you, to keep them happy and healthy.  Also see using a Tumbling Composter for your backyard this year.