Five Easy Tips to Attract Hummingbirds
Don’t forget the hummingbirds! One day a few years ago I looked up to see a hummingbird looking in my window. Actually he wasn’t just looking in the window, he was obvious trying to get my attention. It was the second week in May and I had forgotten to put out his feeder for the year. This is a true story, I could tell he was trying to tell me something.
Hummingbirds are very loyal, or at least territorial. Hummingbirds are known to remember every flower in your yard and return year after year to the same spot. While we lived on the mountain I had at least eight hummingbirds visit my feeder repeatedly everyday. I have four or more hummers visiting my feeder here in the valley.
Hummingbirds are not shy. I can be working in the yard, eight inches from their feeder, and they buzz by my head to take a drink. I can stand and watch them face to face. As far as birds go, they may be the smallest, but they are the bravest. I’ve seen pictures of people holding small feeders in their hands while the birds drink from them. My old feeder may not be much to look at, but my loyal hummingbird friends don’t care, they keep coming back.
If you want to have the joy of watching these little dive bombers fight for the nectar from your feeder here are five simple tips.
Five Easy Tips to Attract Hummingbirds
#1 – The Best Feeders
I had two feeders originally but I quickly got rid of the one. It was made of light weight plastic and would blow in the wind to the point of losing most of it’s contents in a single afternoon. My other feeder was smaller and was made out of glass. My tip is to buy a sturdy glass feeder with bright red colors. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. The size should be large enough that the sugar water last a day or two in the heat of a summer day. A 16 to 24 ounce size works good. Click here for one like mine from Amazon.
#2 – Don’t Use Red Water!
Store bought red colored water is a waste of money and it isn’t good for the hummingbirds. Red food coloring isn’t good for anyone. All you need to mix up you own nectar is one part sugar to four parts water. Some people suggest boiling the water, but if you change the water often and have good tap water it is not necessary. Which brings up the next very important tip.
#3 – Keep the Feeder Fresh!
The sugar water will ferment, or spoil if left sitting more than a couple of days in the hot sun. Don’t fill your feeder all the way to the top until you see how much the birds will need. If you are trying to attract hummingbirds for the first time, put a few inches of sugar water out and be willing to change it and keep it fresh. I try to put enough sugar water in the feeder to last no more than two days. Like humans, hummingbirds require more liquids when the weather gets hot. To save time and to be prepared, I mix up two to three times as much sugar water as I need and keep the extra in the refrigerator. Make sure you clean out your feeder before adding fresh sugar water.
#4 – Be A Good and Consistent Host!
If you want to have loyal hummingbird friends you need to make sure your feeder doesn’t run dry and put it out each spring. I usually put my feeder out by the first of May. You may not see any hummers until June, especially if this is your first year, but keep the feeder ready and fresh.
#5 – Placing Your Feeder.
Hummingbirds aren’t picky about the placement of the feeder. Sun or shade doesn’t matter to them. You can even move it a few yards each year and they will find it. I put my feeder up by my windows and next to the patio or porch so I can enjoy them while I’m inside or outside. A Shepard’s hook works well to hang the feeder on. Make sure your feeder isn’t being watered by the sprinkling system. Your nectar will get diluted. (After a big rain storm it is also a good idea to replace your nectar.)
Hummingbirds do get a little cranky with each other, so sometimes it’s nice to hang more than one feeder far enough apart that they aren’t fighting with each other. (Although their squabbles can be entertaining as well.)
It’s Worth the Effort!
It really is quite easy, but it does take a few minutes every couple of days to keep these incredible little friends coming back year after year. My grandchildren love watching them stop at the feeder as much as I do. It is fascinating to watch them up close all summer long. Give it a try and feel the joy!