Hummingbirds ? Attracting Those Little Flying Powerhouses
It's early in May a beautiful fairly warm day so I've decided to enjoy it and sit on the front porch.
While relaxing in a rocking chair with my eyes closed, just enjoying the sun and early warmth I begin to hear a sound off in the distance. At first it's not recognizable, sounds almost like a hum from a model airplane.
As it begins to get louder I'm beginning to think I know what the source of this strange noise is.
I open my eyes and sure enough just as I thought there is a small green colored Hummer hovering right at the edge of the porch - coincidentally right where a feeder normally hangs - now I'm not certain but he appears to be looking right at me like he's trying to tell me "Hey, I'm back, where's the food".
Every year it's the same, they show up around Mothers Day and every year I'm always a little surprised to see them and of course not prepared. Well so much for my relaxing afternoon, it's time to get out the feeders, clean them and make up some food then get them hung. And so begins another season with these marvelous entertaining little birds.
Hummers have a good memory they can remember where to find food sources from previous years. However in order for them to remember your home you will first need to let them know about it.
There are two ways to accomplish this, first by planting or hanging flowers that will attract them, second is to have an additional food source such as a hanging feeder that you keep filled with a syrup solution.
Flowers that have red to orange blossom colors are known to attract them but they will visit any color if they discover sufficient nectar.
Blossom shape is also important as this little birds beak is long and tapered, so downward-hanging blossom - Honeysuckle is a good example - are a favorite.
Several other varieties are as follows. These particular flowers are geared for the Northeast - where I happen to live - so you will want to check within your region for appropriate blooms.
· Bee Balm
There are several Annuals that will also satisfy their little palettes.
As these are favorites in the use of hanging baskets each summer try hanging several around your home. The most common place of course is on your front porch or on hooks around a deck or patio; another idea is to hang some right from tree branches. I've done this and not only do the Hummers like them; it also adds color and interest out in the yard.
Putting Up A Feeder:
From elaborately decorated glass to simple plastic there are numerous types of feeders to choose from.
I will tell you from experience, I've used both - the decorated one just because it was pretty, the Hummers really didn't care - and I ended up with a simple teardrop shaped clear glass container with perches around the base, it was easy to tell when the solution was low and simple to take apart.
Where to hang your feeder or feeders - once you start, guaranteed you'll have to have more than one - is up to you and the layout of your home and yard. If you have an open porch this is a great place or from tree branches. Most people look for spots where the birds can be seen; after all half the fun comes from watching these little dynamites. Feeders that mount to windows with suction cups are another alternative.
What To Fill Them With:
Two choices here, pre-made solution or hand made, the choice is up to you. I personally have done both but if you prefer to make your own the following is the standard recipe.
· One part ordinary white cane sugar to four parts water
· Boil the water is you wish however it is not really necessary
· Store unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
If you choose to make your own solution, do not add honey as it ferments very rapidly and can be fatal to the birds. Also the addition of red food coloring is not necessary, they will find the food without it.
Maintenance of Feeder:
Sugar and water mixed together will ferment - not good for the birds - which limits it's usability, this can happen very quickly during hot summer months.
Therefore when temperatures range between 60-85 degrees - or higher - the mixture really should be changed about every three days, of course if you happen to have a few Hummingbirds visiting your outdoor diner then you will be refilling about this amount of time anyway. If you should notice any cloudiness in the mixture change it right away.
Before refilling feeder be sure to thoroughly clean the feeder with warm soapy water and rinse very thoroughly. This is where having a feeder that comes apart easily is important.
Attracting these wonderful little birds is not only entertaining it's also beneficial as they also eat insects.
Plant some Bee Balm, hang a container filled with a beautiful Fuchsia plant and last but not least put up a feeder. You'll find that having your peaceful afternoon snooze on the porch interrupted is worth it.
If you would like to learn more about the Hummingbird the following web site are filled with lots of great information.
· The Hummingbird Society - www.hummingbirdsociety.org
· The Hummingbird Web Site - www.portalproductions.com
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Bonnie P. Carrier is the creator of Savvy Home Decorating & Savvy Outdoor Decorating. She is the mother to two grown daughters and a very spoiled 4yr old Blue Merle Sheltie named Toby. Stop by for information and ideas for both inside and outside your home.