Wednesday, May 14, 2014


Do you put up a hummingbird feeder?   Do you put it up on a certain date or do you just wait till you see them in your area?. I’ve always sort of timed putting mine up with the flowering of my Sargeants crabapple tree which is just outside my kitchen window, but this year it seems that a lot of the flowering shrubs and trees are behind schedule so I checked the hummingbird migration map and they are already active in my area.  This map also covers the eastern provinces of Canada.  You can check out the species of hummingbirds that have been seen in your state on this website too.
In the northeast we have only one species of hummingbird that visits feeders regularly and that is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  However, that being said, a few sightings of Rufous and Calliope hummingbirds have been made in New Hampshire in the last couple of years.  This could possibly be due to global warming expanding their ranges, or the little guys just got bored and decided to take a road trip.
My feeder attaches to my kitchen window with suction cups and has a perch.  I like it because I can get a good view of the birds from my breakfast counter and at the sink.  They don’t seem to mind me standing close by while they are feeding.    DSC02896
Hang your feeder about 4 ft off the ground so that it is away from predators (like kitties).  Hummingbirds for their size are very territorial and will not tolerate attitude from other hummers or small birds.  I once saw one chase off a larger goldfinch that was too close to a feeder!  The suggested spacing for feeders is to place them out of sight of each other to prevent one bird from monopolizing all of them. 
You don’t have to purchase the “nectar” that’s sold in the stores.  They get most of their protein and nutrients from eating small flies and spiders, so they really don’t need any of the “extra” ingredients.   I make up my own sugar solution of 1/4 cup granulated white sugar to 2 cups of boiled well water.  This is not as sweet as some recipes that call for more sugar, but it is still attractive to the birds without attracting bees.  I don’t add red food dye either, since the red feeder will attract their attention. I store any extra food in the fridge but get rid of it after a week if I haven’t used it.  If you have chlorinated water, you might want to use bottled water instead.   DSC02895 DSC02898

My feeder was purchased from Wild Bird’s unlimited.  It has a lifetime warrantee.  There are many different models. though that hang on feeder poles  or even hanging baskets and window boxes. 
I know some people are concerned about ants and bees. My feeder has a well in the center that you fill with water to discourage ants and I can buy tiny bee cages that fit into the openings on the feeder and prevent bees and hornets from getting to the nectar.  I’m also very careful when filling and replacing it.  I don’t overfill my feeder and I use a wet paper towel to wipe up any drips right away.
In my experience, the heaviest feeding times are between late June and August, after that it dwindles off.  Most of the birds start their migration south in mid-August.  The older ones leave first,  followed by the current year’s nestlings.
I’ve given hummingbird feeders as gifts to family and friends who tell me later how much enjoyment they get out of watching the little birds.  I like to hear that because the more we enjoy something, the more vested we are in preserving it.

1 comment:

  1. I have ruby throated hummingbirds coming to my feeder too. I put mine on the corner of the porch so it hangs to the backside and I can sit and watch them. They seem to like coming when I got out. I read about making my own solution and read 1/4 to 1 cup of water, is that too much? They seem to like it, although the bees are attracted to it too.



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