Friday, March 25, 2011
Time to Get Your Hummingbird Feeders Ready
Tiny patient at Wild Bird Rescue (left)
Hummingbirds are moving back into Texas. The reports on TEXBIRDS have been getting closer by the day. This morning I saw a post of a black-chinned in Weatherford, so they should be arriving here within days. The ruby-throated hummingbirds are usually a couple of weeks behind.
Although plantings of native flowering plants is the best option for attracting these tiny birds, many of us also like to attract them to areas we can watch them with feeders. If that's the case for you, it's time to get your hummingbird feeders ready to go. Make sure they are clean. Plain soap and water works. I used to get really frustrated trying to make sure all the little crevices and tiny holes were clean until I happened upon this little trick--use Efferdent tablets. They are very helpful in cleaning tiny areas. You can also use vinegar and baking soda mix (just like unplugging your drains.)
Don't buy commercial nectar. It is expensive and has red dye. The red in the feeders is enough to attract the birds. They could care less what the nectar looks like--you don't see red nectar in flowers, do you? To make your own nectar much more cheaply, mix 1 c water and 1/4 c granulated sugar. You can stir until the sugar is dissolved--I usually boil the water, stir in the sugar and then let it cool. The sugar dissolves more quickly and thoroughly in hot water. If you make more nectar than your feeder holds, you can put the sugar water in a covered container and store it in the refrigerator for a few days.
You should dump any nectar in your feeder every few days. You will need to do it more often when it is hot than when the temperatures are moderate. Always clean out your feeders if you see any cloudiness.
When you place your feeders, hang them close to cover (trees and shrubs) but not under an overhang. Hummingbirds generally shoot up when startled by predators and prefer to see open sky above the feeders.
So get out your feeders and get ready to enjoy these beautiful and interesting birds.