Hummingbirds feed 5-8 times per hour, and birders who are interested in feeding hummingbirds can take advantage of those voracious appetites with a deliciously attractive habitat to entice hummingbirds to visit. These eight tips for feeding hummingbirds are sure to help you attract hummingbirds by appealing to their hungry attitudes.
1. Provide Natural Food SourcesA hummingbird’s diet is made up of a variety of food sources. Nectar-producing flowers are a rich and popular option and colorful blooms will attract many birds. Other hummingbird food sources include tree sap and insects, including spiders. Avoid spraying pesticides or insecticides that would remove these natural food sources.
Feeders filled with a classic nectar recipe can help birders attract more hummingbirds and save money over more expensive commercial nectar mixes. A simple sugar water solution is just as attractive to hummingbirds as natural nectar sources.
There are many types of hummingbird feeders to choose from, and birds that dislike one specific shape or size of feeder may be attracted to another. Use a variety of feeders spread throughout your yard to attract the most hummingbirds.
4. Position Feeders ProperlyTo keep hummingbirds safe from window collisions or from getting their delicate bills stuck in window screens, feeders should be positioned either very close to the window (great for visibility) or at least five feet away. Placing feeders in an area free from breezes and out of direct sunlight minimizes spilled nectar and slows fermentation. To help the birds find your feeders, place them near nectar-producing flowers.
5. Discourage InsectsBees, wasps and ants find nectar solutions just as irresistible as hummingbirds do, but you can minimize annoying insects by choosing feeders with built in insect guards or traps. Avoid feeders with yellow ports – yellow is attractive to bees and wasps – and do not put oil or sticky products on feeder poles, as these products can stick to birds’ feathers and make it difficult for them to preen.
6. Fill Feeders AppropriatelyHummingbird nectar can ferment in just a day or two in hot weather, so do not fill feeders with more sugar water than the birds can consume in that time period in order to minimize waste. Nectar expands as it is heated, and an overly full feeder is more likely to leak and attract insects.
It is important to thoroughly clean hummingbird feeders at least two or three times per week, and even more frequently in hot weather when the nectar can ferment quickly. Fermented nectar can cause mold that is fatal to hummingbirds and sour food will not attract as many birds.
8. Provide Migration Meals
Hummingbirds feed excessively just prior to migration in order to build up energy reserves for their long flights. Keep hummingbird feeders clean and filled throughout the late fall and early winter so all migrating birds can be fed, and place feeders
out the next year early in the spring to attract the first returning hummingbirds.