Thursday, June 9, 2011

Invite Hummingbirds to Your Yard, Recipe for Nectar

Hummingbird at my feeder
This was the first hummingbird of the season for me. Put your feeder out as soon as the azaleas begin to bloom and then wait with great anticipation for the first little male to arrive. He'll scout out the territory and soon the larger, but less brightly colored, females will join him. If you haven't put out your feeder yet, it's not too late. One of my friends told me yesterday that she'd neglected to put out her hummingbird feeder, and a returning hummer hovered at her kitchen window as if to remind her to feed him! Here's how you make the food and maintain the feeder:

Homemade Hummingbird Nectar

Dissolve 1 part granulated sugar into 4 parts boiling water. (If you want to make 2 cups of nectar, you would use 1/2 cup sugar; 4 cups nectar-1 cup sugar.) Cool to room temperature. Store extras in the fridge.

Purchase a brightly colored feeder. The colors will attract the hummingbirds, so you do not need to add food coloring to the nectar. Wash the feeder in hot soapy water, rinse well and allow to dry.

Fill feeder with nectar and hang in the yard where you can watch it. I have one in front of my kitchen window and one at the back deck. It may take a couple of days, but once a hummingbird finds it, more will come and soon you'll have them buzzing all around. They will entertain you with their air show all summer long, and will leave in the fall before the frost. Mine usually stay till the second week in October.

Keep a close watch on the nectar in the feeder. If it gets cloudy or you see black dots of mold, then empty it and repeat the first step. A bottle brush helps get the interior of the feeder clean. You'll find that you need to change the nectar more frequently in hot weather, so only fill it with as much as the birds will consume in four days or so. You'll figure that out because it depends on the size of your "flock."

Click HERE for more information on hummingbirds, including migration maps (you won't believe how far these little birds fly).

With love, from me to you!