Here you’ll find an easy recipe for homemade hummingbird nectar, feeder care, amazing facts, and tips on attracting hummingbirds to your yard.
The hummingbird is a favorite species of many bird lovers. Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds, and have long slender bills used for drinking nectar. They are amazing little birds that are like iridescent gems flying from flower to flower, feasting on the tasty nectar. Hummingbirds drink the nectar by lapping it up with their tiny grooved tongues. Although they drink half their weight in nectar every day, they also eat insects as a source of protein.
There are approximately 320 known species of hummingbirds, 15 of which are in the United States. The most well known variety in the east is the Ruby-throated hummingbird. The male has a scarlet red throat, and a green iridescent body. Female Ruby-throated hummingbirds do not have the colorful red throat.
The Rufous hummingbird can be found in the western part of the United States. The adult male has a bright reddish-orange throat, a white chest, and rufous thighs, tail, and backside. The adult female Rufous hummingbird has a red spotted throat, a green head and back, rufous thighs, and a white chest.
You can attract hummingbirds to your yard by planting trumpet vines, morning glories, salvia, and a host of other nectar-rich flowers. Hummingbirds need the nectar to support their high metabolisms. Their wings beat at the amazing speed of approximately 78 beats per second while in flight, and reach speeds of about 45 miles per hour while diving. Their tiny hearts beat about 1,260 times per minute.
You can also attract hummingbirds to your yard with a specially designed hummingbird feeders. They come in all shapes and sizes. The most common kind is a plastic bottle that screws onto a base. The base typically has 4 plastic flowers with holes in the center for feeding. There are other variations of this kind that come in many shapes and colors. There are also beautiful blown glass hummingbird feeders that have one feeding tube. They are very unique, and come in many colors and sizes. Another type is a small plastic flower attached to a clear round bottle on a metal stem. Hummingbird feeders are available in many styles and price ranges. Keep in mind that a feeder doesn’t have to be expensive to attract hummingbirds.
You can buy hummingbird nectar already prepared, or you can make your own. Making your own is much more reasonable, and it is very easy to do. Begin by washing and thoroughly rinsing your hummingbird feeder. If it is moldy or stained, soak it in a solution of vinegar and water, and clean it with a small bottlebrush before rinsing.
For a 16-ounce hummingbird feeder, boil 2 cups of water with ½ cup of sugar. That equals 4 parts water to one part sugar. It is not necessary to add red food coloring to this mixture. Also, do not use honey or artificial sweeteners. Honey can be deadly to hummingbirds. Be sure to let the nectar cool completely before pouring it into the feeder.
It’s important to keep your homemade hummingbird nectar fresh, and the feeder clean. Empty out the old nectar, and clean the feeder at least once a week. You can make a larger batch of nectar, and store it in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Hang your feeder near a porch, deck, or window, for easy viewing. The nectar will stay fresh longer if you avoid hanging the feeder in direct sunlight. Once hummingbirds notice your new feeder, they’ll be back again and again.
When you are outside by your feeder, don’t be surprised if a hummingbird flies very near. They are attracted to brightly colored clothing, and they aren’t shy. The buzzing may startle you at first, but you’ll be amazed when you see how close you can get to a hummingbird. With proper cleaning and care, your hummingbird feeder will provide countless hours of pleasure from spring until fall, and you’ll be lending nature a helpful hand.