We only use sugar water ( no red food coloring ) and change our solution of sugar water every day.
I boil 1 cup of water ( measure ) and when it boils on the stove, I add a 1/4 dry measure of pure cane sugar (which I have measured), then stir it in till it dissolves and take it off the hot burner and let it cool. We use the cooled mixture and split it into 2 feeders.
I also have a lot of flowers that are attractive to Hummers .
Thanks, Marilyn. I have a lot of hummer-friendly flowers, too. We had hummers around last year, but I'm trying to entice them closer to the house with a feeder so dh can enjoy them more. he is disabled and doesn't get outside much. I thought I'd put up some hanging planters with fuschia near the feeder, too. I used the same recipe, so I guess I'm on the right track. and no red dye.
We have a two sided post that we hang the feeders on. We hang them at the edge of the patio so we can see the Hummers from the kitchen window and the patio.
Edited to add... We added the perches on the feeder on the right side (like the one on the left) later in the season last year. Also, added 2 more feeders (like the feeder on the left side shown) in the front yard in front of the living room window later in the season last year. ;-))
I also have 3-4 pots on the front porch of Fuschia "Gartenmeister" (also, seen it as Fuschia "Gartenmeister" Bonstedt). Its an upright Fuschia that attracts the Hummers. Our front porch gets the morning sun and its shady the rest the day. The porch has a overhang, shading it even more. We'll be sitting on the couch at see the Hummers come up to the pots of Fuschias to feed! It is so exciting!!!
In this photo (which was taken in spring), I pushed the pots back the the brick to make room for the plants I had bought, but I'll bring the pots out from the wall (to give room for the flowers for the Hummers) when I dump the old soil to add new soil and the plant (or plants).
I don't use red food coloring either Marilyn. I meant to wear a red shirt while outside and that might bring them to you. It worked for me. My feeders are bigger. I boil 2 cups water in the micro and add 1/2 cup sugar. We've only been in this house for a year, so my native plants need to grow up before the hummers find them. They were all over my penstemon calycosus last year. But a lot my plants were put in, in the fall.
I wish I had a pic...we've moved and I can't find photos and my last computer crashed with all my old house pics. Anyway, a previous house was a ranch house, stained redwood. I didn't want redwood, I wanted natural redwood, which is more of a brown color, but the builder brought redwood, so we stained it red. Garage door was painted in a browny red color. Our roof was a reddish color with flecks of brown. It was a hummer magnet and I loved it.
Marilynbeth - Thank you so much for advising everyone not to use red food coloring! And your recipe is the exact one that people who are hummer experts advise! I have read that it is suspected that the red color and too high of a sugar concentration can cause liver damage in hummers. Last year I had someone tell me they put RED JELLO in their feeder. I was horrified! Tried to set them straight, but I think it fell on deaf ears.
I've actually heard of people using artificial sweeteners to make hummer food. Why not just fill it up with strychnine? That stuff reverts to its basic ingredient -- formaldehyde -- when it heats up. Neither good for man nor beast.
And I don't mean to be preachy, but I did read about a study where they watered identical sets of plants with tap water and with water that had been microwaved and cooled, and the nuked water recipients died. It may have been a hoax of some sort, but I use my microwave as a cabinet now.
Lily I think that is a great experiment, I have given up my microwave also. Now which one of my houseplants to subject...thinking it will be a spider since I have so many due to them being so easy to propagate.
I read on a different forum ill affects from "nuking" & one of my mothers "alternative" health providers is very anti-nuke, some of the things these "alternative" health care people have said over the years (remeber the butter vs. margerine) I'ld scoff at,then years later find out...technology is not what it is cracked up to be, give me tried and true any day.
Is it really worth it (nuking) even if there is the slightest truth to it? I mean a hummingbirds metapolism is not on the same level as a houseplant.
We just bought the camera in Sept and paid a small fortune for it. Now the menus doesn't open, can't delete pics, can't turn off camera w/o taking a pic first, and a few other problems I can't think of. Still under warranty so gotta turn it in and get it fixed.
Don't you just love when that happens?? I bought a new camera and I forgot to buy the memory card. It has a built in memory, but only takes a dozen or so pictures. But it's brown and ugly out, nothing to take a picture of. My luck? I'll finally get some pictures and go to download them on here and it won't work. BTW, I bought a new camera because the dinosaur one died and the other one I can't find the software for it. I can't download any pictures on here now. I didn't like it anyway...and it was given to me by somebody who couldn't figure the thing out either, so I'm not out a thing...
I was sitting on the back porch yesterday and suddenly, there was a hummingbird, 5-6 feet away, just checking things out! I ran out and got a feeder and set it out this morning. I hadn't been watching 10 minutes and he (she?) was back! It's going to be a good summer.
I've been watching hummers for years and still can't get enough of them. I've found that down here the "scouts" come about the middle of March and the others come about the middle of April. Of course there are the ones that stay the entire year and regardless of what "some" say that they are diseased, old, infirm, etc. a lot of time they just like where they are and stay. I just can't buy the stories that people perpetuate about a lot of things about hummers in particular. There used to be a story that kept popping up that after a certain date you should take down your feeders so the hummers would continue south and that was poppycock from the word "GO". reading this thread and the garbage about microwave ovens and using water you have heated in it threatens hummers is pure garbage. BUT, the part about using artificial sweeteners in feeders is very true. Have you ever seen an obese hummer? Or one w/diabetes? geeeeeeeeeeez The sweet nectar they get from flowers is terribly sweet. The hummer society (don't know its -or their - name(s) says that most of a hummer's diet is mostly protein from tiny bugs such as gnats, etc. I don't know for sure since I'm not a hummer nor have I followed any around to see what they do or do not ingest. Have to take their research on faith. I color my sugar water red so they find it easily because my feeder that I can rely on is so old that the sun and clorax (from sterilizing and cleaning over the past 10-12 years) has turned the red parts very pale. They haven't dropped dead or become diseased that I am aware of because of the dye. Of course, I don't use something like beet juice as the dye, just certified food quality red dye. Why oh why do people have to make easy things so hard? Just enjoy and take ordinary precautions that the water doesn't become contaminated. Sterilize and clean your feeders periodically. I have mine out now where I can see it from my computer and multitask work and "play".
Last year, I had the highest number of hummers visit at one time on four feeders spread throughout my backyard. If I remember correctly, I counted 9 at one time. Course, I do remember getting dizzy trying to count without counting the same one twice. The males were getting dizzy defending more than one feeder. For my birthday last year, my DDL and DS gave me an unusual looking green colored feeder. No red on it anywhere and the hummers ignore it for three months. Thanks to a tip from a DGer, I tied red ribbons on it in early August. I then I noticed them finally using and defending it.
My first sighting to my feeders was this week on March 22 at 6:40p.m.
pepper23 with our yucky weather this weekend I've enjoyed visiting lots of threads. I love those little hummingbirds and trying to keep them happy and content with my feeders. I try to keep my feeders clean and don't mind the orioles except when they spill the food around trying to eat.
I've put my feeders out here - and have seen the levels go down, but no bird sightings - it could be evaporation OR really quick migrating birds in a hurry to get to Missouri (and north!) to have families. I also have a cestrum that blooms year round that would be tastier than sugar water. I don't use red food coloring in the feeders and they find them anyway in the southward/fall migration. Starting in late July and peaking in October they hang around the feeders here in droves to fatten up for their trip south. In southeast Texas, the best HB watching is in the fall. Have fun with them in Missouri and northwards! I'll continue to put feeders out for them so they can have strength to head up your way.
I put out a feeder on April 1. On April 2, I saw the first hummer. He has been to the feeder everyday. However, it is getting cold again and I am not certain what he will do, if anything. If he stays, he will strongly defend the feeder until the girls arrive. Then a female will be allowed to frequent the food bar. LOL
Here's the link to the Hummingbird map. We haven't seen any here yet, but I see the map shows 3/30 in our area. We're going to put up our 4 Hummingbird feeders next week after all the cold temps are gone. We put up 2 in the front yard and 2 in the back yard. Never add red coloring to the sugar water solution and we change it every day once they start using it.
No hummingbirds yet because it has turned off very cold. Lows in the 20's and highs in the 30's. A few days ago it was in the 80's!! We are in record cold now. My feeder would freeze if I put it out! Flowers, shrubs in bloom, trees leafing out, etc. are all getting zapped right now with this wave of very cold air. It's heading south too. It's 29 degrees right now at lunch time. My lilacs trying to bloom are frozen. They are saying we may get into the teens tonight so those hummingbirds near here won't like it one bit. The wind chill makes it feel must colder. Can't wait for the warmth to return so I can put out my feeders and watch the action.
They are at least 2 weeks late here in nw metro Atlanta. We expected them to be early (as so many of the flowers have been). But perhaps they knew something we didn't -- namely, the expected frost over the next few nights.
Cuckoo said it best. It is so cold out it hurts if you aren't dressed for it. My coworkers were dressed for the cold in several layers and they still were cold and couldn't warm up easily. I had 3 sweaters on today and even though I was inside most of the time I never had to take any of them off it is so cold out.
I spent the weekend north of Houston (Conroe area) and had a male ruby throat visit the feeder I had just put up Saturday afternoon. It was about 45 degrees and blustery and the little guy just sat there and drank and drank. Brrr... hope he had on his heavy feathers. I hope all you up north are a bit warmer today.
Speaking of the hummers knowing something... I heard a speaker from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept say that the fall migration of hummers in 2005 was so huge here in the south because they somehow "knew" to wait until after hurricanes Katrina and Rita cleared out. I had big feeders being drained daily for weeks after those two storms. In '06 I had a few days like that, but not so many. Awesome how they know that. Maybe we should use HB migration to predict our hurricane seasons LOL...
bookworm28 I hope they don't come north for awhile because it's so cold. I can't figure out why it's staying so cold so long. Last week it was in the 80's with spring in high gear and this morning it was about 18 degrees for the low. Wind and cold everyday now like a broken record. The hummers would freeze as would there food!! Anxious to put out my feeders and watch for those little birds...
pepper23 I don't like seeing spring taken away from us so quick and with so very cold.The wind has cut to the bone for several days now. My plants are in bad shape. They can't fly away like these little hummers do!!
cuckoo and pepper - I'm pretty sure we here in Texas and Louisiana are hosting your hummers a bit longer! I have feeders and a great flowering bush (think it is a cestrum) that feeds them - I didn't see him today, so maybe he knows you'll be warmer soon and is heading your way. We don't have many of them nest here - they just pass through mostly to your way in the spring and back to Mexico and southward in the fall. Hope you warm up soon! We get to 50 + tomorrow... and back to 80 + the next day. Back to the usual... I will be missing the cool weather - only back in late October here.
It's VERY cold here in Pa. I already have one of my feeders out in case some sorry soul made the mistake of coming here too early! It only seemed to have froze on the very top of the liquid.
I hear we might get a NorEaster! Gosh, I NEED to move down south!
Bookworm-- I read on here that you don't know why your feeder has emptied a little. Well I learned that, at night, bats like to sip on the sweet treat! So maybe that is what has happened.
Bats... oh my! We don't have any other nectar loving birds around here like orioles or finches - hadn't thought about bats. Another yard mystery is missing monarch cats - but that's for another thread. I wonder if bats eat monarch cats? I saw the weather for up your way babybird! Good luck this weekend - stay warm :)
More cold anti-hummingbird weather here in the heartland. Temps are dropping and the forecast they have'nt a clue. Maybe rain, maybe no rain, maybe no snow, maybe snow, maybe tonight, maybe tomorrow, and they finish up with this is a funny one to predict and check in for updates!!! Soon it's going to jump up into the 60's and 70's.
We are under a tornado watch - your nor'easter in the making. I guess the hummers will just have to stay put a bit longer. Stay warm and safe - we'll keep our feeders loaded for when they are ready to head your way!
Oh my is that the sun trying to peek thru a few clouds just before it sets?? Come on little hummingbirds begin to head a tiny bit further north. I do believe it's going to warm up starting tomorrow!
Oh, my! First it wouldn't stop raining (freezing). Then it wouldn't stop snowing.(I'm still freezing!) When I went to work yesterday, it was snowing heavy at my house. I went down the road about a mile and it was raining. The entire day was like that! I HATE SNOW! It is still supposed to be that way for a couple more days but only rain/snow "showers". Then we are supposed to crawl into the 60's! I need to get my gardens started! This has to end! I still have my feeder out, i don't want to take ANY chances that one poor soul could be starving!
My husband and I just returned from SE TN last night. We had to come home to IL to warm up!! It was unbelievable. Cold, rainy, windy, ick. Could of stayed here and had that sort of weather and expected it, coz we sure didn't expect it down there.
Just a note -- I've put up 6 feeders and have an occasional HB but this morning one came and found my comfrey plant (which has little purple trumpets) and dined as if he hadn't eaten in a week! I was really thrilled to see that.
That's it!!!! I'm putting up my feeders this weekend... Now if I can just see that first one come to eat...
Today it was 81 degrees, sunny, windy, and hummingbird and mushroom weather is here. I HOPE!!
Pepper if we get some showers look out. Morels will be popping up and I love to hunt and of course eat them. Often the bottoms has the biggest but I usually don't hunt there. Elm trees(dead of course) are good areas especially if the bark is still on or near them. Right now no hummingbirds nor mushrooms so that cold snap really pushed things back.
We have dead elms, with the bark on them but there won't be any mushrooms since they are still standing. lol. I will have to keep an eye out for those mushrooms. Starting to sound good right about now. The cold snap has done alot of damage around here. Including me. LOL. Trimming dayliles earlier in the week and cut the tip of my finger off. Looking great now. Has a layer or 2 of skin on it. Just can't touch metal. That hurts!!!!
Pepper... I'm originally from KC... my aunt lives down I-70 from you (Sweet Springs). When I called her yesterday to tell her I'd finally gotten my first h-bird here in Lawrenceville, Ga., she said she'd gotten her first one in Sweet Springs that afternoon. So you might not have to wait a week!!!
Here in nw Metro-Atlanta, our regular population seems to be settling in. Several females among the males. And they have a little weight on them.. not those straggly pathetic little guys that pass through earlier. And am pretty sure that some of them are "ours" returning for another year, because they're very comfortable both with us and with our environment.
Oh Marilyn - that's so wonderful. You will see more. Take good care of them and next year you'll have more.. These are so cool. They come back to your house year after year. And their babies will too. Congratulations!