Hummingbirds are inquisitive birds that find their food through sight. Many people enjoy the beauty of these birds by either planting a hummingbird garden or by using hummingbird feeders. Both of these methods can be used to successfully attract these birds into your yard or garden. A local nursery may be able to provide you with a listing of the types of plants that hummers like. Generally, red flowers are best. Some people attach red ribbon to their feeders. This seems to make it easier for the hummers to find the feeder. Hummingbirds also require a perch to rest on. It is estimated that these birds spend up to eighty percent of their time on twigs or other perches. Most hummingbird feeders are red because the birds are naturally attracted to that color. Many people successfully attract these birds to feeders by preparing a solution of four parts water to one part sugar. Commercial food is available but the solution described works well. This solution is referred to as the nectar. This nectar should be placed into the feeder about a week prior to the arrival of these migratory birds. The time will vary depending on where you live.
Your hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned regularly and nectar changed every 3-4 days. Sometimes mold can contaminate your feeder. This can be seen in the form of black spots inside of the feeder. The mold should be cleaned if detected. Each time the nectar is changed, the feeder should be rinsed with hot water. Regular cleaning should prevent mold from growing inside of the feeder. It is suggested that the feeder be half filled with nectar. Putting more is wasteful, because the birds will not be able to consume that amount in 3-4 days. Remember to change the nectar!
Hummingbirds require a lot of energy. They need to eat a third to a half of their body weight daily to fuel their high metabolisms. Their diet includes both nectar for carbohydrates and insects for protein and fats. So providing a food source will almost guarantee hummers to your garden.
Your garden or feeder should be placed in an area that can be easy viewed. Many people place theirs near windows or patios. Placing the hummingbird feeder among flowers is most desirable. An effective habitat will contain water, shelter, space, and food. Hummers afford excellent opportunities to take pictures of natures visitors.
Hummingbirds are very territorial. If you attract several hummingbirds, you should expect hummer fights. They are very protective of 'their' feeder. Hanging several feeders in different parts of your yard should reduce this activity. Different species of hummers feed at different heights. By hanging feeders at different heights, aggressive behavior can be reduced. Hummingbirds do not use birdhouses. They usually make their nest in the forks tree branches.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds typically fly north in late February to mid-May, and fly south to their wintering grounds in southern Mexico and Central America in late July to late October. Ruby-throats can fly 500 miles nonstop across the Gulf of Mexico during migration.
The beautiful Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most common hummer in the eastern half of North America. The western half of the continent is visited by up ten different species.
Want to learn more about hummingbirds? Check out the articles:
- Hummingbird Species Overview
- What do hummingbirds look like?
- Hummingbird Species of North America
- 5 Ways to Make Your Yard Hummingbird Friendly
- Hummingbird Nesting and Mating
- Video - Bird Man Mel's Attracting Hummingbirds