Hummingbird feeder tips

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by flutemandolin, May 4, 2004.

  1. flutemandolin

    flutemandolin mark an eight, dude!

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    I heard some good tips on the radio this morning for feeding hummingbirds, and I thought I'd pass them on.

    Use sugar, not honey, for a sweetener. Honey can harbor certain fungi that cause illness.

    The sugar water should be mixed at a ratio of one part sugar to four parts water. Any more sugar and the hummingbirds need to use their own body water to metabolize the sugar and they can become dehydrated.

    Avoid red food coloring; it is not necessary.

    Fresh sugar water should be put out every 2-3 days and the feeder should be cleaned thoroughly at that time. If old sugar water sits in a feeder it can ferment and cause liver damage to the birds.

    A feeder should not have perches. If the hummingbird sits and rests while feeding, especially on a cool day, it can actually succumb to hypothermia within minutes because the bird is not generating body heat.

    These tips come from Laura Erickson, a local expert on birds. Her website is:
    For The Birds .
     
  2. rio002

    rio002 Well-Known Member

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    Another handy tip for those of us with ant problems and the feeders..spray the top of your feeder with non stick pan spray, with or without flour in it and the ants won't bother it at all yet the hummers come back even with minutes of recoating. :D
     

  3. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) We do love these little guys don't we? LOL

    These are pretty good tips. We just discussed hummers a couple of days ago and they are so much fun!

    As for the sugar and water ratio.....it is accepted that the one part sugar to four parts water is OK. However it's now known that nectar concentrations vary extemely in flowers and vary from the equivalent of one part sugar to one part water...all the way to one part sugar to eight parts water and hummers drink them all.

    Some people mix up different concentrations depending on the time of year mixing the concentrations heavier at first when the little birds first arrive.

    As for the perching business. Hummers can and do regulate their body temps. That's how they can spend the night and still be alive in the morning! If you watch them they will get a drink and then fly off to a perch and stay there until it's time to chase another hummer off it's territory or get another drink. They CAN perch without causing themselves harm.

    Many of these so-called "facts" are just parroted from person to person without bothering to update info.

    LQ
     
  4. kabri

    kabri Almst livin the good life

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    Wow, I've been doing 1 part sugar to 2 parts water for 2 years! We have more hummers now than ever and I'm filling 2 feeders every other day (one of the feeders takes about 5 cups!) We've counted up to 12 birds at a time in the evenings. Next batch, I'll try diluting it more, although with all the rain we've had, there's sure plenty of water for them to drink!
     
  5. Guest Too

    Guest Too Active Member

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    A lot of "facts" are just ideas people tell each other because they've heard it somewhere.

    Funny story about Hummingbirds:

    My mom and dad went to Colorado a couple of years ago and stayed in an RV park. They put up their hummer feeders and attracted all the hummers in the park. People kept asking what they where puting in them. No one else could get any to eat from their feeders. Mom mixed her mix quite a bit sweeter than anyone else in the park. :D
     
  6. nappy

    nappy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    How do you keep wasps off the feeders? I suspected a hummer had been stung as it kept flying up to the roof of our open porch and falling to the floor. I picked it up and held it for about 30 min. and set it on a branch outside. It flew away as if all it needed was a rest. Sometimes the competition between hummers and wasps for the nectar is very intense.

    Nappy
     
  7. Gercarson

    Gercarson Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Honey bees took over my feeder and chased the hummers away - is there a remedy for this problem?
     
  8. Little Quacker in OR

    Little Quacker in OR Well-Known Member

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    :) Firstly, use bee guards to help with the wasp and yellow jacket problem..and then, coat all around the feeding ports with petroleum jelly. This also works nicely on the wire that holds the feeder up to keep ants out if you have them.

    Have fun...LQ