If you love hummingbirds and like seeing them in action then you probably know attracting them using homemade hummingbird nectar is the easiest way to bring them to your backyard. There is a lot of myth out there, about just what needs to go into the nectar. While most homemade hummingbird food recipes published online outline the essentials, most people remain confused because of an equally large number of literatures that contain conflicting information. This narrative offers information on the ingredients that healthy nectar should have and, highlights some of the feeding hints you should enforce if you want a colorful buzz in your backyard.
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Ingredients for making homemade hummingbird food
Hummingbird nectar recipe contains just two items, clean water and sugar. Most people tend to add dyes or food coloring and honey or artificial sweeteners. Such practices are not necessary; in fact, prudent birding frowns upon such unnecessary ingredients. Honey may make the nectar ferment a lot faster than is normal and, it can make the hummingbirds develop inflammations in their throats.
Dyes and food coloring on the other hand, add no value. People who use them do so thinking that they attract birds. Naturalists believe there is no ecological proof that the dyes indeed attract hummingbirds. Moreover, most hummingbird feeders have red portals and yellow flowers, which should suffice in attracting the birds. Dyes, food coloring and sweeteners contain additives that hummingbirds have no business ingesting or even digesting for that matter.
Perfect timing – Hummingbirds, especially the ruby-throated, start their migration early. Therefore, you may want to put your feeders out just as early, probably as early as mid-March, depending on your location. Doing so gives you a good chance of attracting the early migrants. Residents of Canada and Northern U.S. may want to do so towards the end of March while people residing along the Gulf Coast should hang their feeders at the beginning of the same month.
Apt feeding – During the early stages of migration highlighted above, you should fill your feeders to the level that the birds can exhaust so you do not waste nectar. Graduate the level up and only fill the feeders to the brim when the birds can drain them in three days or less. For an entire season’s action, you may want to keep your feeders in place the entire summer and take them down early October. If you are able to keep the nectar from freezing then you can try keeping the show going up until after Thanksgiving because stray hummingbirds, though uncommon, sometimes wander from the western U.S. and often stay all winter.
Location of the feeders – Offering hummingbirds food allows you to be close to their tantalizing action. It is thus only reasonable to hang the feeders in full view of the important ‘windows’, especially those with a direct unobstructed view from your breakfast and dinner tables. Though hummingbirds rarely run into windows, it is not advisable to position the feeders too close to the windows to avoid accidents, even if rare. And, if you hang more than two feeders in your yard, then position them such that there isn’t a clear line of view between them. Multiple feeders are preferable though the recommended number is three feeders in every backyard.
Disciplined feeding – At a cursory glance, hummingbirds appear to prefer nectar to other foods available to them. The reality however, is that they have a much disciplined feeding ecology and visit flowers in your yard where they suck natural nectar. They also trap small insects and feed on plant sap whenever they can. It is therefore not necessary to spend a fortune on prepared mixes that contain vitamins as well as some preservatives. These mixes as unnecessarily expensive and the preservatives they contain are not good for the digestive systems of hummingbirds.
Driving away intruders – Once you hang and fill the hummingbird feeders with nectar, ants and bees are going to become a constant problem. You can use an ant moat to keep the ants away. Attract the bees away from the feeders using a saucer placed in the open, with sugar and water solution. These two fixes are preferable to pesticides and insect sprays, which may harm juvenile hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds are captivating birds and if you can attract them into your backyard then you are sure in for an enchanting time. Using homemade hummingbird food recipes to make healthy nectar is a start. Following these hints then helps improve the experience.