Hummingbird Facts and Folklore




  
 

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Hummingbird Food

1 Part Sugar 
4 Parts Water 
Boil 1-2 Minutes 
Cool & Store In Refrigerator 
Never use honey or artificial sweeteners. Honey ferments easily, and can cause sores in a hummingbird's mouth. Artificial sweeteners have no food value. DO NOT use red food coloring in your solution, as this could be harmful to your hummers. No testing has been done on the effects dye has on hummingbirds. Most feeders have red on them and that should be enough. 

Feeder Care 
Your hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned, and nectar changed every 3-4 days--more often in hotter weather. If you see black spots inside your feeder this is mold and you will need to scrub it out with a good bottle brush, but if you can't reach it with a bottle brush you can add some sand with water and shake the feeder to remove the mold. You should never use harsh detergent to clean your feeder. Rinse it out each time you change your nectar with hot water - if you do this on a regular basis you should not have a problem with mold inside the feeder. Don't fill the feeder more than half full, because they won't be able to drink it all before it will need to be changed. Although my mother-in-law has a tough time keeping hers filled for more than a day she has so many hummingbirds. You'll get to know their feeding habits.

Successful Tips To Attracting Hummers To Your Yard!  
If you never seem to be able to attract hummingbirds to your yard, try one or more of these tips, and you should see hummers at your feeder soon. All hummingbird feeders that are purchased these days have red on them somewhere, but if you are in doubt that there is enough red, try tying a red ribbon on the feeder. Another way to attract attention to your feeder is to place it among flowers that hummers like, or hang a basket of flowers nearby. You will find that feeder activity slows as more flowers bloom in your yard. Do not panic! They prefer natural nectar over what we give them in our feeders, so they are still around, and you will see them at your feeders more often, as the blooms start to diminish. If you live in the Eastern part of the United States, you will find you only have one hummingbird that will visit for the summer,  the Ruby-throated hummingbird. They are very territorial and defend flowers and feeders within their favorite roost spot, so if you want to attract more than one hummer, try putting up 2-3 more feeders out of sight from each other--perhaps on another side of your house. 

Flowers, Shrubs, Vines and Trees That Will Attract Hummingbirds
Following is a list of flowers, shrubs, vines, and trees that hummingbirds are attracted to. Note that none of these need to be red in color, although the color red is attractive to hummingbirds. If in doubt as to whether any of the following will flourish in your area, please check with your local nursery. Looking for the plants? check out Gardenfairy's Seed Company Directory.

Flowers
Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
Nasturtium (Tropaeium majus)
Lantana (Lantana camara)
Columbine (Aguilegia spp.)
Fuchsias (Fuchsia spp.)
Impatiens (Impatiens spp.)
Coral-Bells (Heuchera sanguinea)
Hollyhocks (Althea spp.)
Penstemen (Penstemen spp.)
Petunia (Petunia spp.)
Flowering Tobacco (Nicotania alata)
Geranium (Pelargonium spp.)
Begonia (Begonia spp.)

Shrubs
Azaleas (Rhododendron spp.)
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia davidii)
Flowering Quince (Chaenomeles japonica)
Honeysuckle (Lonicera spp.)
Weigela (Weigela spp.)

Trees and Vines
Flowering Crab (Malus spp.)
Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron Tulipifera)
Locust (Robinia)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus spp.)
Vines Honeysuckle (Lonicera heckrottii)
Morning Glory (Ipomea ssp.)
Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)
Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)

When To Put Up A Feeder 
Most Hummingbirds are migratory and visit North America in the warmer seasons. Feeders should be put up in time for their arrival. This varies greatly depending upon where you are located. In the Florida area they arrive as early as January, and in the Upper Great Lakes they arrive in May. It is important to know the average date they arrive in your specific area to get your feeder up 5-10 days before the average date so they will see your feeder up and take a drink and possibly stay for the season in your backyard!

When To Take Feeders Down
One of the biggest misconceptions about hummingbirds is the belief that if you do not take your hummingbird feeder down they will not migrate. This is absolutely false! In many areas hummingbirds start to migrate even before the flowers and insects start to wane. Males generally migrate several weeks ahead of new hatchlings and females. Migration is done according to changing day length or photoperiod. Actually, migrating hummingbirds may be helped by feeders that are left up until at least two weeks have passed since seeing your last hummer.

Amazing Myths and Facts
Myth: Hummingbirds migrate on the backs of geese.
Fact: NO! Hummingbirds and Canada Geese migrate at different times, live in different habitats, and migrate to different areas.

Myth: Hummingbirds suck nectar. 
Fact: Hummingbirds do not suck nectar. They place their open bill into the feeder and lick up the nectar at a high rate of speed.

Myth: Hummingbirds eat from only red flowers.
Fact: Yes, hummingbirds are attracted to red, but you need only to observe them for a short period to realize that they will eat from any color of nectar-producing flowers.

 

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