Sunday, March 21, 2010

Sugar that Brings Them Humming

With spring coming, so comes the sounds and sights of the birds coming back to brighten our days.  One bird that my children and I love to see are hummingbirds. 

A couple of years ago I brought a few hummingbird feeders and the hummingbird nectar.  When I ran out of the hummingbird nectar, I was complaining to my mother about having to buy the expensive food when she suggested that I make my own.

So I did some research and found a recipe for hummingbird food.  I also discovered a few things to remember when feeding hummingbirds.  Use only white cane sugar and water.  Do not use red dye or other additives.  The use of honey or artificial sweeteners will kill the hummingbirds, so do not use.

Humming Bird Food

1 part sugar
4 parts water

Mix until sugar is dissolved.

Pick a feeder that is easy for you to clean.  Homemade hummingbird food will last around 3 to 4 days if the temperature is between 60-80 degrees, more with lower temperatures and less with higher temperatures.  Discard the hummingbird food if it becomes cloudy or you see mold growing in the feeder.  Never "top off" the food in the feeders when they become low.

Clean the feeder with hot water at each refilling.  Once a month, clean the feeder with 1 tbsp of blech in 1 quart of water then rinse with hot water throughly.  You can also use undiluted white vinegar.

A trick to keep bees and wasps from your feeder is to get a feed that does not have any yellow on it.  It has been found that bees and wasp are attracted to the color yellow.  Another trick is to make a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part sugar and put in another feeder nearby.  The bees and wasps will be attracted to the richer solution and leave the orginal solution for the hummingbirds.

Even though making your own hummingbird solution is a sure way to attact hummingbirds especially to windows where you can watch them, their natual food sources are a way to ensure that they will stay.  Planting plants that attact hummingbirds will help keep good food sources for your hummingbirds.  A mixture of annuals and perennials makes sure you have blooms throughout the spring and summer before the hummingbirds start their migration. 

Here is a list of some annuals and perennials that are attractants for hummingbirds:


Butterfly Bush
Bee Balm
Butterfly Weed
Red Hot Pokers

Hummingbirds are insect and spider eaters.  So having them around your home will help cut down the insect and spider population in your yard.  The sweet nectar from flowers and the sweet food source from your hummingbird feeders give your hummingbirds the power to feed on those pesky insects.  Keeping hummingbirds in your yard is easy and fun! 

Check out these web sites for more information:

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