Care for Hummingbirds

Care for Hummingbirds for the remaining summer months is not tricky-

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In nature, hummingbirds eat flower nectar for energy and bugs for protein.  Flower nectar is 21-23% sucrose- regular table sugar- so it is very easy and inexpensive to make.  But there are a few simple rules to follow in order to make things easier for you and your fast winged friends.

Feeding:

Mix 4 parts water to 1 part table sugar in a pan.  Do NOT use honey, Jell-O or brown sugar.  Do NOT use artificial sweeteners or red food coloring.  It is unnecessary and can harm the little hummers even in low concentrations because they eat so much nectar.  Just sugar and water is all you need.

Bring to a boil then remove from the heat.  Stir while heating until all of the sugar is dissolved.  The reason for boiling is not to make syrup, but to drive out the chlorine in the water and to kill mold and yeast spores that might be in the sugar.  This will help make the nectar last longer both in the feeder and in your fridge.

Cover and cool before pouring into your feeder.  You can make a larger batch of nectar and store in a pitcher in your fridge.  This makes refilling the feeder so easy that you won’t mind refilling every few days.

Cleanliness:

Sugar water is a very rich growth medium, meaning yeast loves to eat it.  Mold and bacteria can grow causing harm to the hummingbirds.  This is why it is very important to keep your feeders clean and the nectar fresh.  You must change the nectar frequently to avoid these contaminants whether the birds come or not.

When the temperatures get above 70 degrees follow this chart:

High temperatures              Change nectar after

71-75                                             6 days

81-84                                             4 days

89-92                                             2 days

93+                                                  every day!

Clean your hummingbird feeder with hot soapy water each time you fill it and rinse well.

Other notes:
  • ALWAYS fill the feeder completely full with cool nectar Tube feeders operate on a vacuum principle and the feeder must completely full in order to form the vacuum.
  • Only hang your feeder in shade or partial shade.  The cooler the feeder the less likely to drip and the slower bacteria is to form.
  • News travels fast in the bird community and if you offer dirty feeders or rancid nectar they tell all their friends and you are tagged for life!

 

 

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