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When we moved to the country last year one of the first things I bought was a new hummingbird feeder. At our previous house, in the suburbs, we didn’t have any mature trees in the community and therefore had barely any wildlife. I didn’t even notice the lack of squirrels in our neighborhood until my husband mentioned it one day after had lived there for months. We did have a family of bunnies move into our front yard one spring and it was so fun to watch them grow. Not near as fun as it has been watching all of my hummingbirds now!
I purchased this really pretty copper hummingbird feeder from Amazon. I know it’s said that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, hence why most feeders are red, however I haven’t had any issue with the hummingbirds finding my feeder! It does still have the red flowers where they drink from and I love how it blends in with our decor.
If you don’t seem to be getting much action at your feeder, try moving it to a different location. Ours is on our front porch, several feet away from the front door and next to a tree line. I’ve noticed the birds love to grab a quick drink and then rest on the nearby trees. You also want to opt for a shady spot to keep the sugar water solution cooler (help keep mold growth down) and you may even want to add two feeders, several feet apart, if you find your hummingbirds fighting over the one.
An important thing to point out is that you do not need to dye the nectar red. The hummingbirds will be attracted to the feeder, not the color of the nectar. It is unnecessary and potentially harmful to add red dye or coloring to the food. All you need is a mixture of 1 part sugar to four parts water, that’s it. Don’t think you are “spoiling” your birds by making this solution any sweeter, it can actually be harmful for their livers. Also, don’t use honey (promotes fungus + contains botulism toxins) or artificial sweeteners (zero calories). Measure the amount of water that your feeder holds (mine is 1.5 cups) and calculate the sugar based on this. (An easy way to do this is to fill the feeder with water and then pour the contents into a measuring cup.)
You can help prevent mold growth by boiling the water first and then quickly stirring in the sugar until it is fully dissolved, just be sure to allow it to return to room temperature before hanging. You also need to change the nectar every 4-5 days, though mine usually doesn’t last that long! Clean your feeder with a mild vinegar solution instead of harsh soaps or detergents.
Plant or place nectar-producing blossoms near feeders so hummingbirds will also have insects and natural nectar for a more balanced diet. To supply birds with food throughout spring, summer and early fall, select plants that bloom at different times of the year. Azalea, Petunias, Honeysuckle, and Dahlia are all popular options. Go for brightly colored, particularly red and deep pink, and trumpet-shaped flowers to attract hummingbirds.
I’ve read that hummingbirds will return to the same area each year if they find a good food source. I don’t know exactly how true that is, but I love the idea that it may be the same birds returning to my feeder. Help your birds out by putting your feeder out early (after the last freeze) and keeping it up until the weather starts to turn cold again.