Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating birds that you'll ever see. Their bright, flashy wings make them look like flying jewels. Everybody I know loves hummingbirds and knowing how to attract more of them is a question we encounter frequently.Here are just a few tips to help you attract these tiny flying jewels to your yard, and keep them coming back year after year.
USE RED: Hummingbirds instinctively watch for red things, so bright red flowers are a magnet for these little gems. They also like tubular flowers such as honeysuckle. Planting red flowers is a great way to attract hummers.
PROVIDE FOOD: There are many commercial hummingbird nectars out there, but you can also make your own. While red definitely attracts Hummers as I mentioned above, it's best not to use any product that contains red coloring. That is also the case is you want to make your own: omit any red food coloring. If you decide to make your own, the recipe is quite simple. Just mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. For the best mixing, I always boil my water then, I stir it well to ensure that all the sugar has dissolved. The boiling water not only helps the sugar to dissolve completely, but it also reduces any impurities from your water so the mixture will store longer. Don't mix in any honey or other additives when feeding hummingbirds, simply the sugar and water recipe works perfectly. Depending on how many hummingbirds you have, you may need to refill your hummingbird feeder every 2 to 3 days. And the Heat of the summer, you really shouldn't let your feeder go more than 3 days without cleaning. It's best to remove it and clean it first thing in the morning.
KEEP IT CLEAN: Sugar water that has gone moldy can pause a great health risk to your birds. If you're going to put out feeders, it's essential that you keep them clean. It's best to clean your hummingbird feeders every 3 to 4 days, and replace the mixture approximately every 3 days. If you have a lot of hummingbirds like we have in the summer, you may find that you need to refill it every day, they're hungry little guys! If you find your mixer starts to get cloudy, you definitely know that it's time to clean it.
PUT IT IN THE OPEN: Hummingbirds have a very high metabolism, so they're always on the lookout for food. They're very good at finding your feeders, but you'll have better luck if you put the feeders out in the open. There are all kinds of Shepherd hooks that will attach into the ground or on a deck, so it's a great opportunity for you to place your feeder within view so you can see the antics of these fun little birds. You'll find almost every hummingbird feeder has some red on it, but if you happen to fall in love with one that does not have red, it's totally fine. It's not necessary to use a feeder that does have red because the hummingbirds will find it anyway.
EVERYBODY NEEDS THEIR SPACE: While many songbirds such as goldfinches and bluebirds feed happily together, Hummingbirds will often fight over space at feeders and chase others away. If you put up multiple feeders you give these little guys their own space to feed. They've evolved to feed at flowers which only produce a limited amount of nectar, which is why they guard their food. Multiple feeders in various locations helps reduce territoriality.
CREATURES OF HABIT: If it seems your Hummingbirds come back looking in a specific spot for a feeder or a flower, you're probably right. Hummingbirds are small little creatures in a very big world. They have a highly developed spatial memory. Spatial memory is memory for remembering physical location. Being such small creatures in a very large world, you can understand why it's important they remember where their food is. This is especially important when you take into consideration that they have a somewhat specialized food source. This works out to our benefit. Once you start attracting then, them come back every year.
NURTURE VS. NATURE: Some people grow concerned that if they leave their hummingbird feeder out all year, the hummingbirds will not migrate. Rest assured that leaving your hummingbird feeders out will not prevent your hummingbirds from migrating. These little birds are program to migrate have been doing so for many many years. Once they're ready, they'll migrate whether feeders are out or not. It's imstinct. This is good news for you because this means that once you attract them, they'll be back for more!
PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE: In the beginning, it may take the hummingbirds a while to find your feeder. Just keep it out, keep it clean and be patient, and they will find it. Even after they find your feeder, you may find that it will take them a while to stick around consistently. They may zip into the feeder for a quick sip before you have a chance to see them. So keep beating the hummingbirds and keep watching, and you'll be rewarded I haven't he's marvelous little creatures in your backyard.
Photo Credit: Birdwatchersdigest.com