Several years ago in Brown County (Nashville, IN) while setting on the porch of a friend of mine I noticed many beautiful humming birds flying, almost within reach, around a humming bird feeder. They seemed to be fighting over the sugar water that was inside the feeder. Up until that day I cannot say that I have ever seen a humming bird that close or even from a distance.
So when I got back home I went to the garden shop where we actually have humming bird feeders and I selected one, filled it with humming bird food (sugar water) and hung it near my patio deck. It probably was as quick as 30 minutes when I saw my first humming bird. It was amazing! Since then I have been hanging my feeder out on the deck year after year and have yet to be disappointed.
I have found out a few things of importance over the years about humming birds that you need to know. For some unknown reason the humming birds have favorite humming bird feeders. I have been given many decorative feeders that the humming birds just do not like. I have hung them along side of their favorite feeder and monitored the solution levels. They will completely drink all of the nectar from their favorite feeder and not touch the other one. I have taken away their favorite feeder, leaving only the other, fancy feeders and they seem to disappear. I have gotten rid of the decorative feeders.
Humming birds are around from April until October but they seem to feed the heaviest towards late summer. It must be because they are filling up for their long journey to the south where they go during the winter months. I am surrounded by flowers in full bloom, all summer long, and they say that humming birds prefer the nectar of real flowers over the sugar water in feeders. I say they drink up the nectar from both places 50/50. I watch them travel from flowers to feeder, back and forth, over and over. In my opinion, they like the feeders best.
Making the humming bird “nectar” is real easy. The rule is one-ounce sugar to four ounces of water. You really shouldn’t vary from that formula much but I have found that I get the best results if I add just a smidgen more sugar.
Many of the feeders are 8 ounce feeders, so I mix 3 ounces of sugar to 8 ounces of water. Now you must bring this to a boil in order to make what is known as a “simple syrup” and in reading recent articles it is not a good idea to add red food coloring to the mix. Also, never use honey or artificial sweeteners.
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