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Bird Watching: Question about food for hummingbird feeders

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Forum: Bird WatchingReplies: 7, Views: 49
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Eureka, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 17, 2012
6:09 PM

Post #9046576

I am hoping that someone can give me a bit of advice about hummingbird food. Last week I hung a hummingbird feeder out in my yard. I used the powdered type of hummingbird food and I only mixed up one cup of it, which is in the feeder. I noticed that the instructions on mixing the food said that if extra food was made, it needed to be refrigerated.
So it has been a week now, and the hummingbirds have not found my feeder yet (although I have heard them and seen them in this area). I am wondering how long the food in the feeder will be safe for the birds to eat, since it has been at outdoor temperatures for a week? I don't want food that has grown bacteria or whatever in it, and I surely wouldn't want to make any birds sick. Does anyone know how often is it necessary to change to fresh food, and to clean out the feeder?
Marlton, NJ

March 18, 2012
1:22 AM

Post #9046947

Hi tiny, The higher the temperature is then the more often you need to clean and change the feeder/ food. Since yours has been out a week now then it's definitely time to clean and change it.

When we get high summer temps here I change mine every other day. The bacteria / mold can build up very quickly.

Hope this helps. :-)
Kelseyville, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 18, 2012
8:10 AM

Post #9047199

Hi Tiny, I'm located just a few hours from you and have been changing my hummer feeders every three days through the winter. I just have 4 hummers right now but more will come. I just fill the feeder half way and refrigerate the sugar water that I haven't yet used. Keep in mind that I've read you shouldn't keep the refrigerated mix longer than 7 days. Also, clean your feeder well every time you change the liquid.

I don't use the powdered mix-instead just use sugar and water (no red dyes are needed). Make your own with 1 cup of sugar to 4 cups of boiling water. (During the winter I just use 1 cup sugar to 3 1//2 cups water-our birds need the stronger mix to help them last the freezing temps)

Don't lose patience waiting for the hummers to arrive-they'll eventually find your feeder and the more flowers you have in your garden the better. Also, keep in mind your hummers may just be at your feeder very early in the morning or later toward evening. We have lots of eucalyptus and manzanita blooms on our neighborhood trees which sustains them during the daylight.

Good luck and let us know when you've had success.
Eureka, CA
(Zone 8b)

March 18, 2012
12:56 PM

Post #9047478

Thank you both very much for the advice.
I had better get that feeder down today, clean it well, and refill it with fresh food!

Many years ago I had a feeder, and I used to make the sugar/water mixture for their food. But then I read that hummingbirds need the special store bought-food because it also contains minerals or vitamins (or something) that they need. However, it seemed like my little birds were doing just fine with the sugar mix back then, does anyone know if it really makes a difference for them?
Marlton, NJ

March 19, 2012
6:06 AM

Post #9048332

Hi tiny, The sugar water is better because you know what it is and the hummingbirds get nutrients from eating small insects.


Putnam County, IN
(Zone 5b)

March 19, 2012
3:53 PM

Post #9049237

I just checked the migration map and I think I will be putting at least one feeder out this week!
Melbourne, KY
(Zone 6a)

March 19, 2012
8:02 PM

Post #9049582

Wow, I guess I better get mine out, too!


Putnam County, IN
(Zone 5b)

March 20, 2012
12:40 PM

Post #9050326

I put one feeder out today!

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