Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds

When feeding birds in your backyard, don’t forget about hummingbirds!  The extra effort involved in maintaining a bird feeders for these tiny jeweled creatures is well worth it.  They seem to disregard the laws of physics, beating their wings hundreds of times per second and flying in any direction – backwards, straight up, even upside down.  Landscaping, feeders, birdbaths, even red ribbons or lawn ornaments will catch their eye and bring these natural wonders into viewing range.

Most backyard birders immediately think of nectar feeders when it comes to attracting hummers, and for good reason.  If hummingbirds are reasonably common in your area and you maintain your feeder on a regular basis, you’ll soon have several birds competing for a drink.Unlike a flowering bush, a hummingbird feeder can be placed anywhere in your yard.  Be careful, though, not to hang a bird feeder too close to a window; birds could accidentally strike the glass and become injured. 

It’s not necessary to purchase a premixed hummingbird nectar solution.  In fact, the dyes and other ingredients sometimes found in these products could be harmful for the birds.  A simple mixture of four parts water and one part white sugar will serve your backyard hummers quite well.It is important to change the solution often.  Solution that’s left too long in the sun will begin to ferment, sickening the birds.  In hot weather, even more frequent changes may be necessary.

While a nectar feeder can be a hummingbird magnet, hummingbird-friendly landscaping will also attract them.  Red, tubular flowers, such as flame acanthus, cross vine, Otay Monkey flower, and trumpet creeper are especially attractive.  Do a little investigating and find out which blooms are native to your area.  In addition to flowering plants, hummingbirds look for stands of dense vegetation in which to safely nest.If you want a female hummingbird to lay eggs and raise her brood in your backyard you will want to maintain sumacs, junipers, and other thickets of trees and shrubs.  If you do find a nest, you can be sure it belongs to a Ruby-throated Hummingbird; it’s the only hummingbird species which breeds in North America.

In addition to nectar, hummingbirds need clean water, both for drinking and for bathing.  Hummingbirds must clean their feathers regularly to maintain their aerodynamic shape and insulating properties.  A bird bath that’s intended for these diminutive birds should be kept shallow, no more than two inches deep.  Hummers are most likely to be attracted to moving water; this can be as simple as a dripping bucket, or as ornate as the most complicated bird bath fountains. 

If it’s taking a while for the hummingbirds in your neighborhood to find a newly hung feeder, a splash of color might do the trick.With their incredible color vision, you will find hummingbirds are attracted to bright red feeders and other colorful items in your yard.To help hummingbirds find the new nectar source, place a red pinwheel next t your hummingbird feeder.