Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Yard - Home Made Hummingbird Food
There is a fascination of watching these little creatures we call hummingbirds. Something about their size combined their their capability to move so rapidly, and the way they flit here and there which is different than just a bluebird or cardinal swooping through your backyard. So how do you attract hummingbirds to your backyard? Know the right plant types that hummingbirds feed on like honeysuckle or trumpet creepers situate these plants in a place in your yard that allows you to easily view the hummingbirds as they flit about the yard going from plant to plant gathering the nectar they prize so much. You are in for a show!
Hummingbird Food Recipe
The reality is that for most people to view the hummingbirds in their yards, they need to put a hummingbird feeder near or on the patio or use a window hummingbird feeder to attract them to a kitchen or bedroom window so we can enjoy them from inside our homes. So first step get a hummingbird feeder, second step learn how to make the food they eat to replenish it over and over again.
One standard recipe for hummingbird food is to make a solution of one part sugar to four parts water. Many experts will recommend using cane sugar for your hummingbird brew (the white granulated type is fine.) Typically you will start with one cup of water and add one quarter cup of sugar. This should be about the right amount for a typical feeder. If you get frequent hummingbird visitors, you can increase the recipe as you see fit because it can be stored in a refrigerator for about two weeks.
Use water from the cold water tap (it has a lower level of minerals). Boil the water and then add the sugar as that will dissolve the sugar more quickly and completely. This heating also reduces the chlorine level along with killing most bacteria, etc, in the water. After mixing and boiling for until the sugar is thoroughly dissolved, let it cool and then store it in the refrigerator. Again, it's best to store it for just a couple of weeks.
In the winter months you may want to add a little more sugar to increase the energy content of the mix.
Use Sugar, No Sweetners and No Dye
When making hummingbird food, be sure you are using real sugar, since most artificial sweeteners have no calories, or energy, for the birds. It's also recommend that you not use honey, since it has different sugars (not the sucrose naturally found in nectar) and food made from honey tends to ferment quicker.
Many wives tales say the home made hummingbird food should have food coloring added. Not so. Natural nectar is odorless and clear, so there is no need to add food coloring to the mix, and the color of the feeder should be enough to attract your hummingbirds.
Once you start using your hummingbird feeder on a regular basis, the other thing you need to keep in mind is to clean your feeder on a regular basis.
Cleaning Your Feeder
Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders
The hummingbird food in a feeder may last around three to five days, less in hot weather, and will start to look cloudy when its going bad. Then you need to replace it and it's best to clean the feeder at this time.
Cleaning a hummingbird feeder is simple enough, but its critical that you don't leave any trace of the cleaner in the feeder. RINSING IS CRITICALLY IMPORTANT.
Most feeders are made to be cleaned easily, so take your feeder apart to start scrubbing. The cleaning solution you use can be:
1. Soap and water
2. Mixture of bleach and water (one part bleach to ten parts water)
3. Commercial cleaning fluids, usually these are organic enzyme mixes.
4. A mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide, about a 3% strength
A bottle brush or a special cleaning brush can be a big help. For tough stains you may want to let the feeder parts soak in the cleaner. AGAIN, MAKE SURE THEY ARE RINSED THOROUGHLY.
For some feeders, the disassembled parts will fit nicely into the top of your dishwasher. Just drop it in and let it go!
For feeders with plastic parts take care if you are wanting to use a bleach solution, as it may cause them to fade. And of course don't get it on yourself. This is not nearly as big a problem with hydrogen peroxide.
Can't say it enough: RINSE.
Attracting Humming Birds
It is important to plant the flowers that hummingbirds are attracted to if you want to have them in your yard and feeders! The trumpet vine is my favorite and does the trick in our yard. Other flowering sources are: bee balm, lantana, red columbine, delphinium, and hollyhock.