I’ve been reading up on hummingbird feeders and have learned that there’s a RIGHT way to use them:
- Mix one part sugar with 4 parts water, boil to
dissolve. Or use baker’s sugar, which dissolves in cold water. (Is that the same as confectioner’s?)
- Or you can buy "instant nectar," which comes in flavors. (But why?)
- Clean really well, before using, with Qtip and vinegar-water.
- Replace and clean every 2-3 days or more, depending on how hot it is.
- To remove black mold spots, advice ranges from special cleaning concoctions to doing something with sand that made no sense to me.
- Use an ant guard AND a bee
guard to keep them from – I don’t know, but I’m sure it’s bad.
- Hang them in partial shade so the
nectar doesn’t ooze out, which attracts ants, which we’ve established is bad.
- Not much action? Add a red ribbon to feeder, though some people say any color will do.
Here’s what NOT to do:
- Do NOT use food coloring or honey – bad for the birds
- Do NOT use honey – it ferments, and that’s bad for the birds.
- Do NOT use artificial sweetener – it has no nutritional value.
Replace and clean as often as every other day? Only for my cats would I go to that much trouble.
OR how about just growing a few colorful plants and maybe adding some water? I’m lusting for some bloomers to climb up the pillars of my front porch – crossvine and American honeysuckle, and maybe the tropical annual tacoma I’m hearing good things about.
Reading up, I’ve seen a few plants I already grow recommended as attractants, but I’ve never seen hummers feeding from them – petunia, columbine, azaleas, butterfly bush, and weigela. Y’all have any luck with them? What plants work for you?
I love this video, though I can’t help worrying that the little guy might be slurping up red food coloring, which we know by now is a no-no. But guess what – he’s not drinking this stuff by sucking. I found out that hummers are actually LICKING. Really, really fast.
These folks seem to know how to do it – with a red pipe-cleaner wrapped around a solution-filled tube.
Once I started watching, I couldn’t stop. This next one shows one feeding its babies.
Photo credit: University of Alberta.