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Learn How Easy and Inexpensive Feeding Hummingbirds Can Be!

May 31, 2008
One of the most interesting birds around is the hummingbird. There is just nothing else like watching the tiny creature zip around your yard and find hummingbird food. The little bird can zip across the yard, buzz your ear and fly away before you can even spot it! Keeping a regular hummingbird visitor in your yard is fun and easy to do, just provide a little hummingbird food.

Adding natural sources of hummingbird food to your yard is the best way to attract hummingbirds. Add a few hummingbird feeders to your garden and you can have hummingbirds near your home from spring until fall. Natural sources of hummer food are really easy to set up and maintain. These plants not only attract hummingbirds but they will also make your yard more attractive. Most flowers that attract hummers are red and very attractive.

Natural Hummingbird Food

Hummingbird nectar is sipped from flowers, usually red ones. Petunias, fuchsia, red columbine , trumpet vine and red bee balm are just a few plants that will attract your winged friends. The plants simply need sun and water to grow and the birds will find them on their own. Tiny flying insects are another natural food source for hummingbirds.

"Artificial" Hummingbird Nectar

You can attract hummingbirds even if you don't have a yard. If you live in an apartment, a condo or even in the city don't worry, you can still attract hummingbirds. Hanging flower baskets do a great job at attracting hummingbirds in small spaces. Hummingbirds can also be attracted using hummingbird feeders. They come in many designs, colors and sizes. They will easily hang under your eaves, on windowsills or even right on a window.

When using hummingbird feeders look for ones that have red coloring on them. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Hummingbird feeders come in many shapes and sizes but that is more a personal preference. The hummingbirds only care about the nectar inside.

Feeders for Hummingbirds

Hummingbird feeders come in two basic styles, dish and bottle. The bottle style hummingbird feeder is usually a glass or plastic bottle turned upside down, sending the nectar down a tube. They often include red plastic flowers and bee-guards (little plastic screens that keep insects away from the sugar solution) on the feeding port. One downside to this style hummingbird feeder is that they tend to leak. When hanging in sunlight the liquid stored in the bottle feeder warms and expands. The expansion forces small amounts of nectar out the feeding tube.

The dish hummingbird feeder is normally made of plastic although some very beautiful ones are made from blown glass. A dish style feeder is in essence a covered dish with feeding ports built into the cover. The feeding ports in the top make them less appealing to bees and wasps. Several dish feeders are now designed with a storage bottle to distribute the sugar solution from above. Since the hummingbirds may not be able to eat all of the solution, this style feeder should be cleaned and re-filled more often. I prefer this style of feeder for feeding hummingbirds.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Making nectar for feeding hummingbirds is simple. The traditional recipe calls for 4 parts of water to one part sugar. You can adjust the batch size to fit your feeder needs as long as you maintain the 4 to 1 ratio. If you go through a lot of nectar and have a large number of feeders to fill daily, you can mix 4 gallons of water with one gallon of white sugar. For small feeders, mix 4 cups of water with one cup of sugar.

The mixture doesn't necessarily need to be boiled. Boiling the sugar and water will guarantee that it is mixed, but stirring well will also keep it mixed. When you do boil your mixture, make sure to cool it down before serving it up to the birds. Red food dye is not needed to attract them, either. The red dye may actually be harmful to the birds. Store any leftover nectar in the refrigerator. It can remain for a week or two without going bad.

Hummingbirds will visit your hummingbird feeders into the fall. Many of the hummers you see at your feeders in the fall are migrating from locations farther north. The nourishment they receive from your feeders will provide the energy needed for the long flight to their winter home.

Attracting hummingbirds gets easier each year. Studies have shown the hummers return to reliable food sources year after year.
About the Author
If you enjoy feeding hummingbirds I want help you attract more of them. Using plants and hummingbird feeders will bring these fascinating birds flocking to your yard. Just apply these easy to follow tips.
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