Cleaning the Feeder
When cleaning out the feeder use only water, vinegar and a stiff bottle brush since birds are sensitive to chemicals. They must be cleaned often, the sugar water can create mold and bacteria quickly. Many diseases can spread and we don’t want to make these special birds sick.
Not only that, bees, ants and earwigs are also fond of their food, they will get trapped and die in the feeder. Not a pretty site.
Food for the Hummer
Hummers need a constant food supply. They are tiny flying machines. Their metabolic rate is so high that they must feed almost constantly during the day. A feeder with red on it will help to get their attention, or you can add red ribbons to the feeder to attract more attention from the air.
Place the feeder in the open where the hummers can find it because they fly 30-50 feet overhead. If the feeder is under a tree or patio, they may miss it. Place your feeder out in April for their arrival this spring, and by August/September for when they leave in the fall. It is not true that hummers will forget to fly south if you leave the feeder out too late in the fall. Hummers migrate based on their internal hormones, and the length of the day (not food availability). Please try to avoid using pesticides as much as possible because spiders and other small insects are an important part of the hummers regular diet, especially when they are feeding a hungry family. If you must use insecticides or fungicides, choose an organic control. Spot treat only the plants that are in trouble.
How to make your own nectar:
Mix 4 parts water to 1 part sugar, Boil until all sugar is dissolved, Cool. Do not add food coloring , they don’t need it and it’s not good for them., Change the solution every 3 days or so. Keep leftovers in frig for 1 week.
Planning the Hummingbird GardenWhen planning your hummingbird garden, the first thing that needs to be picked out is the location. The hummingbird garden should be in a place you can enjoy it. You may even want your camera handy. Think about how much room you have to work with. A hummingbird garden can be as small as a window box, container garden, hanging basket or as large your entire yard. Your garden will also need both sun and shade. Hummingbirds like to hum around in the sun, but they do need shade to rest, cool off, and make a nest for their young. Hummingbirds prefer to nest 5 to 15 feet off the ground. Trees and shrubs close by provide weather protection and a nesting place. Which also keeps them safe from their predators. Water is very important to a hummingbird garden. Hummingbirds need water to drink and to bathe. A small birdbath or even a shallow bowl works well. Make sure you change out the water every other day or so to prevent mosquitoes from breeding. When picking the flowers, be careful of hybrid flowers as they can produce less nectar than their wild cousins. This doesn't mean that they should not be used, they may prefer their wild cousins instead. Select flowers that bloom at different times during the gardening season so that there will always be flowers around for the hummers. Also, use a variety of flowers. We don't like to eat the same thing every day, and neither do they.
These are just a few of their favorite flowers:
Bee Balm( Monarda didyma), Butterfly Bush (Buddleia species), Butterfly Bush (Buddleia species),
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Fuchsia (Fuchsia species), Salvia (Salvia splendens) and Trumpet Vine (Campsis radicans).