AND NECTAR MANAGEMENT
Feeding hummingbirds is an easy, inexpensive and rewarding pastime. All you need is a feeder, table sugar, some water and you are all set. Here are some easy guidelines to get you started.
Hummingbirds will eat from anything with nectar in it, but they must be able to find it. Most hummingbird feeders have red on them because the birds seem to be more attracted to red than to other colors. If your feeder does not have red on it, just tie a piece of bright red ribbon or tape on it to attract them. They will explore around and find the nectar once they discover the feeder.
In nature, hummingbirds eat flower nectar for energy and bugs for protein. Here is the recipe for making hummingbird nectar:
RECIPE: Mix 4 parts water to 1 part table sugar in a pan. For example, use 1 cup sugar to 4 cups water. Make sure to use cane sugar only. If it doesn't say cane on the label it is probably beet sugar - not what you want.
What about ready-made hummingbird nectar you can buy in the store?
These have unwanted preservatives and/or red dye RD-40, which is harmful to the birds, just as they are bad to us. The red dye is particularly harmful, as it is a carcinogen and can cause the hummingbird to develop tumors. Avoid these, and just make your own nectar in your kitchen. It's easy and quick.
CLEANING: I clean all my hummingbird feeders in their own wash basin in the sink with a mixture of very hot water and a half cup of vinegar. Scrub all parts well with a brush to remove all traces of dirt and mold. Dry completely before replenishing with nectar and placing outside.
Notice brown spots
Wide Mouth Built-in perch all around Ant Moat at Top
Cleanliness: Sugar water is a very rich growth medium. The outside hummingbird feeder must be change the nectar frequently to avoid contaminants. In cooler temperatures we recommend changing it every seven days. If the temperatures are getting above 60 degrees, follow this chart:
Daily high temperatures 61-70; Change nectar after 4-5 days
71-80 3 days
81-85 2 days
Placing the feeder in direct sun will cause the
nectar to go bad quickly. Keep the feeder in
the shade, either with a baffle shown in the
picture to the right, and/or under a tree
branch. Clean it well when you refill, and
do not put more nectar in the feeder than
will be consumed in the recommended time.
Feeders: There are hundreds of hummingbird feeders available for you that are quite adequate. You can choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, styles and materials, depending on your own aesthetic choice.
1 - Glass feeders over plastic, as they are easier to keep clean.
2 - A wide mouth over a narrow opening for easy cleaning and refill.
3 - Built-in perch so the hummingbirds can sit and drink.
4 - A flat top to easier refill (see picture on the left above)
5 - A built-in Ant Moat at the top of the feeder to be filled with water
to keep ants from invading your feeder (notice ant moat on right picture).
1 - A screw in the bottom of it that penetrates the nectar reservoir. Those will eventually leak, losing nectar and attracting bees and ants.
2 - Can be easily taken apart completely for thorough cleaning. Some feeders don't allow you to take the bottom nectar reservoir apart, so you can't clean the inside. Test the feeder you are considering by taking it apart BEFORE you purchase it. If you can't take off the bottom, don't buy it.
Some feeders we recommend:
1. Best value - Ruby Hummingbird Feeder by
MoreBirds.com, sold in Walmart for $9.86
Holds 10 oz of nectar; these feeders have the
deepest ant moats, most effective bee
guards and best designed perches
2. Glass Hummingbird
Feeder by PerkyPet.com - 30 oz $14.59
found in Ace Hardware, Walmart, etc.
3. 3-in-1 Hummingbird feeder - can be hung,
placed on pole or mounted on a window.
This comes with all the equipment for
adding this to your garden.