Hummingbird feeders placed in your backyard attract some pretty fascinating little creatures. When to place hummingbird feeders in the garden all depends on your location.
Most hummingbirds are migrant birds and will visit during the warmer seasons. In some areas of the country, you may have these beautiful creatures all year long but in the northern areas such as the Upper Great Lakes region, it may not be until sometime in May.
If you feel you are not attracting any hummingbirds to your backyard or garden, you may want to try some of these tips that will bring those hummers to your feeding area in a short period of time.
The majority of hummingbird feeders that are available for purchase have areas on them that are colored red if you feel your feeder does not have enough red you can try hanging a red ribbon to the feeder.
Another way to make your feeder stand out would be to plant some flowers that hummingbirds like or to hang a basket of some of their favorite flowers somewhere near the feeder. Just remember one thing that activity to a feeder will be slower when the flowers are in bloom.
Hummingbirds do prefer to have the natural nectar over what you offer them in the feeders. The hummers are still around and you will see more activity at your feeders much more often as the flower blossoms begin to diminish.
If you are living in the Eastern section of the United States, you have probably only seen one hummingbird that likes visiting during the summer and he is the Ruby-throated. They seem to be very territorial and will defend the flowers and the feeders that are within their roost spot.
If you would rather see more than one hummer you can place 2 or 3 more hummingbird feeders in other places that are not within sight of each other so that one hummer can dominate a different feeder.
The following is a list of some of the flowers and shrubs that attract the hummingbirds. One thing to note is that these flowers do not need to be red in color even though red is very attractive to most hummingbirds. Flowers that they like include –
Begonia, cardinal flower, columbine, coral-bells, flowering tobacco, fuchsia, geranium, hollyhock, impatiens, lantana, and petunia.
The also enjoy the following shrubs – azalea, butterfly bush, honeysuckle, and flowering quince.
Hummingbirds’ specialty is eating nectar; their trademark is their extended bill which is ideal for pursuing tubular flowers. Though their bills can vary in shape and size, each of them protects a long, sensitive forked tongue, which the hummingbird uses to lick, not suck, its nectar, whether it is from a flower or feeder, from three to thirteen times per second.
The fork of the tongue creates a trough that pulls up the nectar by capillary action. Ninety percent of a hummingbird’s diet is dependent on rich sugary nectar and the remainder is made up of pollen and insects that furnish needed protein.
Keeping and maintaining a backyard feeder for hummingbirds helps provide them with nectar that is critical to their survival, particularly in the fall when they must double their body mass before they migrate.
A common fear is that the extra food we supply to them will prevent them from migrating south, this is not true when it is time for them to fly south, they will.
Hummingbird feeders Shapes and sizes
Hummingbird feeders come in many shapes and sizes such as pie or saucer-shaped, tubes, blossom feeders, and many other designs. Some are designed with perches so these tiny birds can sit and feed.
Hummers use a huge volume of energy while hovering and would prefer to sit when they feed if at all possible. A good place to hang your feeders is in the shade; this will help prevent spoilage and fermentation of the sugary hummingbird food.
Be sure you change the nectar regularly before it has a chance to get cloudy, or roughly twice a week in warmer weather. If you have problems with ants or bees getting into the sugar solution try smearing a bit of petroleum jelly around the feeder ports to discourage them.
You can make your own hummingbird nectar by using 4 parts water and 1 part white sugar. You want to bring the water to a boil over low heat and then stir in the sugar and boil for about two minutes.
Boiling will kill any mold spores but do not over-boil the mixture. Cool the solution before pouring into the feeder or storing in the refrigerator. You do not want to use honey because it will spoil easy and cause harmful bacteria.
You also do not want to use red food coloring because this could be harmful to the hummers. If you do not want to mix your own food you can purchase instant hummingbird nectar for your hummingbird feeders.