There are a ton of feeders out there, but my rule is buy one that is easy to clean! Most feeders on the market are very narrow mouth. These are messy to fill, and a nightmare to clean thoroughly. You will need to clean your feeder at least weekly, and sometimes 2-3 times a week during hot summer weather to prevent mold which is harmful to the hummingbirds. Buy carefully so you enjoy your experience. A feeder that is dishwasher safe is a nice perk, but hot soapy water and a wide-mouth feeder make cleaning a snap.
I stock only the best hummingbird feeders on the market. Easy to clean, functional yet beautiful! Buzz by our store to see my full line!
Plants are also a major attractant! For gardening and plant tips, come chat with my neighbor, Summerland Gardens!
Mix 4 cups water with 1 cup white table sugar, stir until sugar is dissolved and bring to a brief boil (boiling helps slow bacterial growth). Remove from heat. Allow the sugar solution to cool before filling your feeder so you don’t break your feeder, burn yourself, or burn the little bird tongues. Store extra nectar in your refrigerator for up to a week in a sealed container. Please don’t use food coloring, or other sweeteners.
Come see me to learn my extra special nectar trick to keep hummingbirds in your yard!
Add any dye or red food coloring to the mixture, it is not necessary.
Use saccharine or artificial sweeteners as these have no nutritional value for birds.
Do not use a sweeter mixture – it will spoil too fast leading to harmful mold
Do not substitute honey for sugar as it will promote fungal growth as is harmful to birds.
Do not use store bought nectar powders or liquids. It is expensive, has additives that the birds don’t need, and they actually prefer it less, if they eat it at all. Save your money and buy more of my birdseed.
Change nectar and clean feeder at least weekly, and sometimes 2-3 times a week during hot summer weather. Tip: when it starts turning milky, going bad and should be changed. If you see little black mold spots or floating items be sure to change and thoroughly clean your feeder as mold is harmful to the hummingbirds. If extra cleaning is required, a solution of 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water can be used, shake with a few rice grains if you need some natural abrasion for pesky mold spots.
Perches: hummingbirds prefer to perch as they feed, as they are highly efficient little wonders. They can expend 15 times more energy hovering than perching. Further, a perched hummingbird allows you a better view of their beauty. However, perches are not absolutely necessary as wildflowers don’t provide them!
Hang your feeder in the shade. Avoid hanging in a location that gets direct, afternoon sun. This will keep your nectar fresher, longer. More important, the internal nectar temperature can be 10 degrees higher than the outside temperature. This isn’t refreshing for the birds, and heated nectar can expand internal feeder pressure causing it to leak out of the portals and seems. This creates a mess underneath if hung on a patio or deck, it wastes nectar, and it could attract ants.
Ants: If ants are climbing down the wire or up the pole, try a little petroleum jelly, it will block their route. Refresh the coat as needed.
Bees: Bee “guards” on feeders are marginally effective. Instead, try one of my disk feeders to keep the nectar below the bees reach, but within the long tongue grasp of your hummingbirds.
Some feeders have more red than others. Some of my glass and copper feeders have red just around the nectar feeding ports. This is plenty for the birds to find your feeder, but if you’d like to speed the process, especially in the Spring when the incoming hummingbirds are flying higher, you can tie a red ribbon or bow around the feeder. Once they find it, they will remember your house!
Hang your feeders from April 15th until October 15th. Watch for freezing nights on either end to prevent your feeder from breaking. It is not true that leaving feeders out longer will impede their migration, their instinct to move south will prevail.
Window mount feeders: For best suction cup adhesion, make sure both window and suction cup are clean and dry. Rub suction cup with finger to provide a bit of natural oil for adhesion.
Hummingbirds - the tiny jewels of the avian world!
Hummingbirds, the tiny jewels of the avian world! Attracting hummingbirds is easy, requires a simple setup, and is extremely rewarding. These tame birds will fascinate you. They are the only birds to be able to fly in any direction, including upside down and backwards.
If you’d like to get youth involved, hummingbird feeding can be the best way. I have created a kid starter hummingbird hit, complete with feeder, instructions, funnel for easy refilling, magnet, and a kid-friendly, informative book, “Enjoying Hummingbirds More.”
See below for fun facts, tips, good-to-know's, and nectar recipe.
Hummingbirds in Colorado
We have four hummingbirds that are Colorado regulars. The Broad-tailed hummingbird is our most common, followed by the Black-chinned hummingbird. The spectacular and somewhat pesky Rufous hummingbird joins mid summer, and the tiny Calliope hummingbird is the smallest avian migrant in the world (not the smallest in size, that’s the Bee hummingbird of Cuba).
Hummingbirds weigh about as much as a penny, or 1/8 of an ounce!
Their bills and tongues have evolved to reach deep into long tubular flowers. And, some flowers have evolved to only accept specific pollinators so as to discourage nectar thieves like ants! Their tongue can flick into the nectar as many as 20 times a second!
They may need to refuel every 10 minutes. Hummingbirds burn from 6,600 to 12,000 calories per day, and intake about1/2 to 1 times their body weight each day.
Their wings can beat up to 90 flaps per second during normal activity and 200 flaps per second during courtship. Their entire wing is like a tiny propeller that "sculls" (like an oar) from the shoulder, allowing them to fly backwards, sideways and upside down.
Not all hummingbirds hum! Only the males have the distinctive wing feathering which creates the humming sound. First year males also do not hum.
Magnificent coloration, or not? Their throat feathers (gorget) are actually drab grey, but they have what is known as structural coloration. Hummingbird feathers contain many layers of tiny air bubbles on the surfaces, all reflecting light at various intensities. This creates the very pure and brilliant iridescence we see!
The sugar-containing nectar secreted by plants and consumed by pollinators shares a number of similarities to fitness drinks, including ingredients such as amino acids and vitamins. However, most of the protein, especially important for nestlings, comes from insects.