I live in southern Ontario, Mount Forest specifically and every year I mark Mother’s Day as the time to get my hummingbird feeders
out for those little jewels of the air to drink to their hearts content. But this year I fear I may be too late. I occasionally check the The Ontario Hummingbird Project and this time when I looked there had already been sightings of hummers on March 19th!! Almost 2 months before I even think about getting the feeders out. They are checking to see if this is due to our unusually warm temperatures this year.
In any event, if you haven’t already gotten your feeders out or you are thinking about starting hummingbird watching (you won’t be disappointed) here are a few tips that may be of some help
Hummingbird feeding liquid
The liquid that is used to fill hummingbird feeders is a simple sugar and water solution. It should contain ONLY sugar and water and NO OTHER ADDITIVES.
This “nectar is made up of a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water and will produce a liquid that will closely resemble the nectar found in flowers.
Here’s how to make it:
- Add 1 part sugar and 4 parts water to a pan on the stove.
- Stir to completely dissolve the sugar while bringing the mixture to a boil.
- Boil the solution for 2 minutes to release the chlorine and kill any mold spores that may be in the sugar.
- Remove from heat and cool
- When cool, add enough nectar to your feeder to last a day or two, the rest may be stored in a closed container in the fridge for up to one week
Clean feeder and change the nectar regularly to avoid mold and possibly harming the birds.
Hummingbird red food color
The red dye in hummingbird food IS NOT NECESSARY to attract hummingbirds, and may actually harm the birds you are feeding. Us a feeder that has red on it, tie on a red ribbon or add some red silk flowers to your feeder to attract the hummingbirds.
Feeding hummingbirds maple syrup
NEVER use maple syrup, honey, molasses, corn syrup, brown sugar or artificial sweeteners ~ just plain white granulated table sugar.
Choosing a hummingbird feeder
This is my preferred hummingbird feeder. it’s easy to clean, doesn’t leak, has an ant mote and raised flower ports to divert rain and perches if the birds decide to rest a bit while feeding. Best of all it’s not expensive!
Where should I put hummingbird feeders outside?
The ideal location would be close to a window in your house so you can watch the hummingbirds while you are indoors. The feeder should also be hung in a shady spot if possible to keep the nectar from spoiling too soon. If you use more than 1 feeder, hang them so that both feeders can’t be seen at the same time. Hummers are very territorial and will guard a feeder by chasing off other hummers that try to use it. If a territorial hummer can see both feeders he will guard both at the same time and make it hard for others to get a drink.
When my husband and I lived in Utopia, before moving here to Mount Forest, (yes, we did leave Utopia believe it or not ) I had 8 hummingbird feeders out at the same time! After the first couple of years there were so many hummers that came back I had to place that many around so they could all feed easily. I could almost set my watch to the birds coming back to the feeders at about 15 minute intervals. When we left Utopia, I left the feeders behind along with instructions for the next tenants for feeding my little friends. I sure hope the kept it up.
Well, that’s about it. I hope we aren’t too late getting those feeders out, and I also hope this has answered any questions you may have had about feeding hummers. I’m certainly no expert but I do enjoy the little time I have with hummingbirds so I’ve picked up a thing or two over the years, so if you have any other questions I haven’t answered, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll get right back at ya. Who knows, you may be asking a question that someone else is too shy to ask, or even one I don’t know the answer to and I’ll have to research it, but in any case we may all learn something new.
Have a great day,