We have a group of little hummingbirds that live in our front yard. My husband hung a hummingbird feeder from the Japanese maple tree in our front yard and those cute little birdies flock to it all day long. I love to hear the buzz of the little hummingbirds as I am out and about in the garden. It seems as soon as I realize the humming noises I am hearing are coming from a hummingbird, I look up and they are already flying away.
Hummingbirds drink nectar, a sweet liquid found inside certain flowers. Nectar is a mixture of glucose, fructose and sucrose. It’s a poor source of nutrients so hummingbirds get their nutrition from eating flying insects and spiders. Hummingbirds consume more than their own weight in nectar every day and visit hundreds of flowers. They are continuously hours away from starving to death and are able to store just enough energy from nectar to survive the night.
We used to put the dyed red hummingbird food in our feeder but noticed the birds weren’t really drinking it. We started making our own hummingbird food and it’s surprisingly easy. All you need is white sugar and water. It turns out that red dye isn’t necessary at all and in fact probably isn’t very good for our feathered friends to be drinking on a long term basis.
Regular white granulated sugar is the best sweetener to use in hummingbird feeders. Use a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil the mixture and then let it cool before putting it into the feeder Boiling it will make sure there isn’t any fungi or bacteria present in the nectar. Brown sugar, honey, agave or any other kind of sweetener is not recommened for use in hummingbird feeders because they are more likely to grow bacteria. They also spoil more rapidly and can make the birds sick. You may not even realize that you are making the birds sick because they won’t die until several days after they have ingested the spoiled food. Make sure you clean out your feeder on a regular basis. Make sure the feeder you purchase is easy to clean and give it a good wash every couple of days.
Other animals may visit your humming bird feeder like bees, wasps and ants as they are attracted to the sugar water. They may crawl into the feeder where they can become trapped and drown. You can help prevent ants from crawling into your feeder by using Vaseline on the wire it hangs from so they can’t get to the nectar. As for bees and wasps…sorry, can’t help you there.
Now I can sit on my front porch and watch these beautiful little birds take drinks from the feeder. Aren’t they beautiful?