I haven't had as many hummingbirds this year. I thought maybe I need to get another recipe for mixing up sugar water for the hummers. Does anyone have a good recipe to attract them?
Sherrie from Greenville, KY
This might help you keep your babies healthy, and a good nectar is 1 c. of sugar to 4 c. of water. Simmer on the stove. If you do not cook it, a bacteria will grow and harm your babies, and store extra in the refrigerator.
If you make it a weaker sugar solution the hummingbirds have to come back and eat more often, I really would not up it more than a 1/2 a cup more of water.
Keep Hummingbird Feeders Clean
Washing your hummingbird feeders can to be a chore. I discovered an easier way to do it, reports I've tried many different methods, but nothing works better than a small piece of nylon netting, like the kind people use to hold nuts for wedding treats.
I fill the feeder with soap and water, push in the piece of netting and shake the feeder vigorously. Then I rinse it thoroughly. The netting rubs away any dried-on nectar but doesn't scratch the plastic feeder. I haven't had any trouble getting the netting out, but if you do, just attach a piece of string to one corner to make it easy to pull out.
I also use one part sugar to 4 parts water. I add 1/2 tablespoon red-tinted commercial nectar just to give it a reddish tinge, but I've read that the commercial nectars can cause a fungus on the hummingbirds' tongues, so I don't use more than that. I make only 2 cups at a time, and microwave it for 45 seconds until the sugar dissolves.
By trial and error, I've found that if I fill the feeders about 2/5 full (no more than 2 inches in each feeder), it will get nearly emptied in about 4-5 days, which is about as long as the nectar should be left in the feeder without being emptied, cleaned, and refilled with fresh nectar.
I have read that any soap or detergent residue is very harmful to the hummingbirds, so I just use a bottle brush and hot water to clean them. If you have more than one feeder, you are likely to get more hummingbirds because they are very territorial and will scare other hummies away from a feeder they consider "theirs". Keep the nectar in the refrigerator, let it warm slightly before putting it in the feeders; they seem to like cool nectar better! (07/16/2008)
By Nancy in NC
One other important thing, don't use artificial sweeteners, they will not provide any calories, which the hummingbirds need for energy. (07/16/2008)
By Nancy in NC
We have hummingbirds and we love watching them they are just plain nuts. Not only that, just last night I went to Hummingbirds.com and you can not believe the info that I found out about them. Here are some things to read. This is all very interesting, surprising, and very informative. But my husband and I love them.
One thing they all failed to mention is that the hummingbirds do like to perch while they eat. We have a feeder made of glass and under each hole where the sugar water comes out you can pull out a little seat for them. You do not have to pull it out very far just a touch and that is it. I found out that they like to bathe on the leaves of the trees after rain, like taking showers from the mist of a hose.
These steps will tell you everything you need to know.
Hummingbirds are very territorial about their feeders and flowers, and will protect their nectar sources from other hummingbirds. Competition for feeders can be fierce. To combat this, place more than one feeder in your landscape. You can do this one of two ways either place several in a grouping so that one hummingbird can't defend them all, or place them in separate areas away from the view of the others. Hummingbirds eat all day, and usually start feeding about half an hour before sunrise.
So what conditions should your landscape have to attract these beautiful creatures? First of all, shelter. Hummingbirds spend time sitting on branches of trees and shrubs, and they like them to be in view of their nectar source, whether it be near flowers or your feeder. They like trees and shrubs of varying heights. Hummingbirds do make nests, and they love soft nesting material like bits of string and fabric.
Of course, we've all heard that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, and it's true! There's a reason nearly every hummingbird feeder has some red on it. If yours doesn't, just attach some red ribbons to it, which will flutter in the breeze and get the hummingbirds attention. You can also add red garden decorations, like a red bench or a gazing ball. Before you know it, you'll have hummingbirds fighting each other for access to your feeder!
Now that you know what kinds of shelter hummingbirds like, it's important that you use the correct kind of food for them. For instance, hummingbirds can't smell, so the flowers and nectar they are attracted to need not be fragrant. They like tubular-shaped flowers in masses of red, though they'll eat from flowers of other colors, too. You'll want to select flowers that bloom at different times of the season to keep the hummingbirds coming around on a regular basis. You can also put out rotting fruit to attract fruit flies, apparently hummingbirds consider fruit flies a delicious treat
Here are a few tips specifically for hummingbird feeders. First of all, please don't color your hummingbird nectar for your feeder red. It's not necessary, and who knows what they put in dyes these days? You can easily make the nectar for your feeder at home, here's the recipe: use 1 part of sugar to 4 parts of water. Add both to a saucepan, and bring it to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes, then let cool. Fill your feeder, and you're set!
A moldy hummer feeder - see the brown spots? You can make the birds sick if they ingest the mold. Remember to regularly clean out your feeder, especially in hot weather. The nectar is only good for a few days during the hottest summer months. Take the feeder completely apart and soak it for an hour in bleach and hot water. The bleach will not hurt the hummingbirds, but will kill any germs that have accumulated on the feeder.
You'd be surprised to hear that the nectar that hummingbirds collect from feeders and flowers really only powers their real food passion for bugs. They eat most small bugs such as spiders, aphids, and gnats. In order to get enough energy to chase those little bugs, some hummingbirds will visit almost 1,000 flowers every day! (09/01/2008)
We also love hummingbirds. There aren't as many around this year as last. Many say it's because some didn't make the trip back from their winter homes because of bad weather. We mix our nectar 3 to one in the fall, so that they can fatten up nicely for their trip. Migration is beginning, last week we had a lot of them passing through. Here is a great site to visit. It's a forum where you can post questions or just read. They all are hummingbird fanatics. They love to help!network54.com (09/01/2008)
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