In my part of the United States, we get one type of hummingbird during summer migration. These ruby throated flying jewels are a joy to behold. I put out my feeder last Friday hoping they will start coming around, if only on their way to more northern climes.
|Wish I Could Take Credit for this Image|
First, you don’t need to buy expensive hummingbird food. And the fluid doesn’t need to be dyed red. Most feeders take care of that.
Simply mix four parts bottled or filtered water with one part table (white processed) sugar. Do not, under any circumstances, use powdered sugar as it often contains a small amount of anti-caking agent. That is not any better for a tiny bird than the chlorine in my tap water.
I don’t think I need tell anyone not to use artificial sweetener. ~grin~ These flyers need lots of calories.
As for the type of feeder, I prefer the ones with a central water reservoir to deter ants. As shown below, it is also easy to clean. The entire red top with perch lifts off the clear round bottom portion. And the hook unscrews, so the top and bottom units can go into the dishwasher at the end of the season.
|Like Many Bird Species, Females and Juveniles Lack the Bright Coloration|
If insects gross you out, be warned that you will find determined critters have made their way down into the ports. I almost always discover little drowned bugs or see them bedraggled and floundering. Never having been bitten or stung in the process, with a gentle pour over the nearby grass I always hope survivors recover.
Meanwhile, I like to mix up a good sized batch of ‘nectar’ and keep it in my refrigerator between fillings. Four cups water and a cup of sugar goes a long way. Oh, and you don’t need to heat the water. Sugar granules dissolve just fine with simple stirring of even the coldest fluid. If you do make it ahead of time, just give a quick stir before pouring out another serving.
Attracting them has been easy for me. There are all kinds of annual and perennial plants that help with this; I’ll let you look them up for your region if interested. And while these birds are territorial, I often get to enjoy their acrobatic aerial confrontations. You can imagine just how adorable I found a nest one autumn. Too bad I missed the hatchlings and nobody returned to that spot since.
|Amazing Photography, No?|
As for me, I found their buzzing by my head startled me, as I’m usually writing or reading if I sit outside, so my shepherd’s pole supporting the feeder is about ten feet from my patio chair. And believe me, I still hear them buzzing in for a landing to enjoy their presence.
Did you know hummingbirds catch insects while in flight for protein? The potential for them catching mosquitoes is just one more reason to adore them.