Courtesy of Southern States
With their miniature size and unique ability to hover in mid-air, hummingbirds are fascinating to watch.
Hummingbirds generally weigh from two to 20 grams. Their feet are designed for perching instead of walking. Because of their unique way of flying, they require enormous amounts of food each day for energy. Flower nectar and the sugar-water solution that fills backyard feeders supply that energy.
Many people hang feeders to attract and watch the tiny birds. While hummingbirds usually find backyard feeders without any trouble, some places in your yard are better to hang them than others.
Number Of Feeders
A common mistake of those new to feeding hummingbirds is purchasing a single, large feeder with multiple feeding ports.
Instead, place several smaller feeders in different locations in the yard. Doing so attracts and keeps more hummingbirds coming back to the area. And since hummingbirds are territorial, it deters a single bird from dominating one feeder and chasing other birds away.
Choose feeders that are sturdy and easy to hang. Because the feeders need to be cleaned regularly, they should be placed in spots that are convenient for you to take them down and put them back up several times a week.
Selecting Feeder Sites
Find quiet places where the birds are easy to see. A garden area filled with flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds is a good place. The birds can feast on the sugar solution in the feeders, as well as the flowers’ nectar. Hummingbirds naturally are drawn to the color red and many flowers fit the bill. Fire pink, wild columbine, cardinal flower, Maltese Cross and Penstemon are among the numerous plant options that attract hummingbirds.
The birds also like gently flowing water from a waterfall or fountain. It gives them a place to bathe and wash off the stickiness of the nectar and sugar.
Hummingbirds eat insects for protein, so a yard with spiders and the accompanying webs draw hummingbirds to the neighborhood.
Protective cover near the feeders is a plus. The hummingbirds can perch in the bushes or trees and rest between their frequent feedings. The foliage also provides refuge from predators. However, if the feeder is too close to the trees, cats and other animals could pounce on them and cause harm.
The sugar solution spoils more quickly in the sun, so put feeders in locations that have some shade. And protecting the feeder from the wind helps to prevent swaying and spilling.
Bird lovers usually have at least one feeder near a window, so they can watch all of the activity. However, hummingbirds are known to collide with windows as they take off from the feeders. Try a feeder that attaches to the window. When using other styles, hang them a few feet away from the window. The birds are less likely to collide into them from close proximity than from feeders that are 12 to 15 feet away. Placing decorative window clings on windows also alert the birds to the glass.
If hummingbirds visit the feeders less often in mid-summer, it’s usually because of nesting and tending to their babies. They’ll reappear as summer turns to fall, often with their young.