Time to Feed the Hummingbirds

Time to Feed the Hummingbirds

hummingbird feeder

As flowers and warm weather begin to creep up from south to north, it brings with it many migratory birds and insects, but none quite so highly anticipated as the jeweled Hummingbird!

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird begins migrating north as early as February and many other species start as early as March. Either remaining year-round in California and the Pacific coast, or having wintered over in Central America and Mexico, these flying jewels start traveling to the US to nest and raise their young, or continue on through until they reach Canada!

hummingbird

Their heart beats up to 1,260 times a minute, and their wings flap 15 to 80 times a second! Typically burning through 6,000 to 12,000 calories during migration and when feeding their young, an adult hummingbird needs to consume up to half their body weight in sugary nectar a day!

So you know they’re going to be arriving hungry!

The males arrive first and the females are close behind. During their solitary migration (or a parent accompanied by last year's young), a Hummingbird can fly up to 23 miles in one day.

Having access to safe roosts in the evening and nectar-rich pit stops along the way is vital for these tiny birds!

The best way this early in the growing season to help them out is to set up a Hummingbird feeder!

infographic

Getting Hummingbird Feeders Ready!

If you already have a feeder, get it out of storage or bring it in from where it’s been hanging outside since last fall.

  1. Take apart and scrub the feeder in warm water if it is very dirty
  2. Mix a solution of one quart of water and one-fourth cup of distilled white vinegar in a sink or dishpan.
  3. Let soak to soften any encrusted matter from last year
  4. Scrub gently with a bottle brush to get in every nook and cranny.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
  6. Completely dry the parts and reassemble

Avoid bleach and soap as the residue will make the Hummingbird sugar/water taste unappealing and can even make them ill.

Preparing The Hummingbird Food

You can buy pre-made Hummingbird nectar or make your own! Either way, avoid the gimmicky red-tinted stuff because artificial food coloring can also make them ill in the long run.

DIY Hummingbird Nectar

  1. Mix one part sugar to four parts water. The sugar/water should be boiled to both dissolve the sugar and to sterilize the water. 
  2. Let cool so it won’t burn you while pouring it into a sterile bottle.
  3. Carefully fill your feeders
  4. Store the unused portion in the refrigerator to use within a week or so. Do not use any colorants, they are not needed.
  5. Keep the solution in your feeder fresh and replace it when it gets cloudy. Likewise with the stored extra sugar water. It should be kept refrigerated for about once a week or more.
  6. Keep your feeders clean and filled once you begin feeding so they make your home a regular stop.

Where to Hang Your Hummingbird Feeder

feeder

The best placement for your Hummingbird feeder is in a secluded area away from full sun areas so the solution does not heat up or dry out faster.

Choose a location with plenty of cover for the Hummingbirds to feel safe to roost and dart out of and where it is safe for them to sip the nectar.

You’ll also want a front-row seat, so hanging one by your picture window or favorite garden bench works great too!

Keep Them Coming Back!

Hummingbirds are creatures of habit! They travel the same route along their migratory path and they revisit known hotspots to fuel up on food! Once they’ve chosen your yard as a favorite, they’ll be back year after year!

If they are nesting in your region for the summers, be sure to plant plenty of Hummingbird-friendly plants for them to sip from! Choose red and brightly colored flowers with tubular-shaped or trumpet-shaped flowers. They like herb flowers and typical pollinator plants that are nectar-heavy. I’ve even seen them visiting the flowers from my forgotten Arugula and ignoring the Trumpet Vine just a few feet away!

Nature Hills Nursery is here to help you keep these lovely birds returning to your yard and support them throughout their migration each spring and fall with a wide variety of plants you and they will love!

Happy Planting!

shop hummingbird nectar

 

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