By Ronnie Booth
Bird watching is one of the few pleasure that can be done for free, or nearly so. Hummingbirds are one of the more popular species for birders – they come in beautiful colors and are able to hover in mid-air while they drink the nectar from flowers in your garden. But even if you don’t have a garden, you can be feeding hummingbirds by using a proper feeder that has been designed especially for them.
There are lots of different styles of hummingbird feeders. Most of them have some red in them because the birds are attracted to this color. However, if you find a feeder you really like that doesn’t have any red in it, a red ribbon tied around it will do the trick.
Aside from red, another thing that will help to attract hummingbirds is the nectar from various flowers, vines, shrubs and tress. Positioning your feeder among your garden will also help to get their attention (even if the flowers aren’t in bloom).
Some of the hummingbird’s favorite plants include flowering plants such as Columbine, Begonias and Holly Hocks, Fuchsias, Lantana and Coral Bells. Pentunias, Impatiens, and Penstemen are other favorites.
Trees that flower, such as Morning Glory, Trumpet Honeysuckle and Trumpet Creeper can also help to attract hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds are very territorial, so you’ll need to have your feeders in spots where they won’t be visible to one another. If they’re placed within sight of each other, the birds will often fight – sometimes to the death – to protect their food.
The best time of year to put out your feeder is 5 to 10 days before the start of hummingbird season. This lets any passing migratory hummingbirds see the feeder and they will quite likely stop in your garden. Hummingbird season starts when the weather begins to warm up.
A food mixture that has been found to be popular with hummingbirds can be made as follows:
– 1 part sugar
– 4 parts water
Boil them together for a minute or two to kill bacteria and avoid spoilage. Cool the mixture in the fridge and store it there until it’s feeding time.
Once you’ve started feeding them, you’ll be amazed at how many hummingbirds will arrive at your garden, adding plenty of color and interest.
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