The hummingbird is perhaps one of the most beautiful and mesmerizing birds in North America. If you're tempted to lure it to your backyard for your viewing pleasure, you'll need to use a hummingbird feeder properly or you'll never catch a glimpse of these fast-flying beauties. Here are some tips on how to properly use hummingbird feeders.
Have the right recipe for nectar. You don't need to purchase nectar each time you want to use your hummingbird feeder. It's an easy solution you can make at home. Simply combine 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, boil for 2 minutes and store in the refrigerator until you need it. (Don't serve a hummingbird hot nectar!) Avoid the temptation to add food coloring to your homemade hummingbird food. It will harm the hummingbirds. And steer clear of artificial sweeteners or honey too, as these will cause sores in the hummingbirds' mouths. Stick to 100% pure white sugar.
Do something about those pesky ants. Hummingbirds aren't the only creatures that will be attracted to the nectar in your hummingbird feeder. Ants love the sugary syrup! Keep ants away from your hummingbird feeder by purchasing a hummingbird feeder with an ant guard. It will act as a barrier between the ants and the hummingbird food.
Clean your hummingbird feeder regularly. Unlike other bird feeders, hummingbird feeders require regular cleaning. Because of the sugary nectar, your hummingbird feeder will need to be cleaned once or twice a week, and even more often in the hotter months. Mold will inevitably grow inside your feeder (you will recognize it as black spots), and this is definitely not healthy for your hummingbird friends. Using hot water and bottle brush, scrub all parts of your hummingbird feeder to remove all dried sugar, mold and other debris. Never use a harsh cleaner as it may transfer into the nectar and harm the hummingbirds. Some prefer to boil a hummingbird feeder after cleaning to ensure that all dirt and bacteria have been removed. If you do this, just ensure that you don't boil it so long that it deforms the plastic pieces. Remove it from heat after no more than 1 minute of boiling.
Go red! Hummingbirds love the color red, and they will be attracted to anything in your yard that is red. Now, you already know that you can't use red food coloring in your nectar. So if your hummingbird feeder isn't red, you can still attract hummingbirds to your feeder by tying a red ribbon to it.
Find the best spot to place your feeder. When you're deciding on the best place to hang your hummingbird feeder, you need to consider two things: proximity to flowers, and proximity to you! Place the feeders where hummingbirds will already be naturally attracted (near flowers) but don't place it so far away from your windows that you can't enjoy the hummingbirds when they're feeding. (Plus, the closer it is to your immediate view, the more likely you are to remember to clean it on a regular basis.)
These are the basics for using hummingbird feeders. Once you get into the habit of regularly cleaning and refilling your hummingbird feeder with nectar, you'll enjoy a constant flow of hummingbirds at your feeder.