Hummingbirds are the tiniest of birds that got their name from the sound produced as their beating wings flap at high frequencies. The humming sound and the birds’ tendency to hover as they feed make them interesting to watch. They have an incredibly high metabolism rate and to survive they have to go into a state of deep sleep similar to hibernation at night or whenever they are not foraging for food. They consume more than their weight in nectar a day to fuel them in their constant quest for bugs and tree sap. Their huge desire for sugar is great leverage for people who are interested in feeding hummingbirds.
All you need is a feeder from which the birds can feed as you watch. It must be easy to disassemble for better cleaning as reports show that the birds would rather starve than feed on spoilt syrup. The mixture of water and sugar goes bad in as little as two days and must be checked for mold to avoid harming the birds. In light of this you should go for basin style feeders rather than inverted-bottles if you want to attract the hummers. You might want a feeder with a perch unless you are a photographer looking to capture the perfect shot of a hovering humming bird. A perch helps the bird save calories which are essential to its survival. (we recommend Perky Pet via: http://www.hummingbirdsplus.org/feeders/glass/ )
The feeder’s location is important as it determines how well you can watch visiting birds and how easy it is for them to access the syrup. Some people would rather not put a feeder near windows to prevent injuries from hitting glass. You can deal with this by drawing blinds to alert the birds that there is an obstacle to direct flight. Hummers rarely hit windows but safety measures are never a bad idea.
Cane sugar is the best natural flower nectar supplement but some people seem to succeed at feeding hummingbirds on beet sugar. It is suggested that a hummer can tell the difference between cane and beet sugars and often rejecting the latter. Brown sugar is not an ideal choice as it contains more iron which could kill a hummingbird. Be careful of commercial sugar mixes for hummingbird feeders as they could be contaminated with harmful compounds. According to experts you should never put Jell-O, fruit, brown sugar or food coloring in your feeder. Honey should also be avoided as it ferments very fast and could kill the birds while food coloring is said to cause tumors.
While it is important to use clean water, you do not have to boil it to prevent fermentation. The microorganisms that make this happen are usually carried to the water by the bird and boiling water doesn’t help to prevent it. Ants are very pesky and will find feeders unless deliberate measures are taken to avoid that. You may use a dripless feeder to keep ants at bay or choose feeder models with built-in ant moats. Do not use oil in the ant moats though as this might harm other creatures that might feed from it. Bats are also attracted to the feeders and if they are a problem to you, use bee guards or take the feeder in at night.
Avoid using yellow colored plastic flowers on the feeders as these will attract bees, wasps and other insects besides the birds. Instead paint the feeder red or use feeders with bee guards. You might also try to move the feeder to deter insects but keep the birds coming. Insects are not too smart and if something is not at its usual place, they assume it is gone forever but hummingbirds are very smart and curious enough to locate a good source of sweet energy.
Hummingbirds are migratory birds and will not delay their schedule for any reason. Some species of the little birds visit the U.S in small numbers during winter but it is possible to attract some non-migratory species of the U. S Pacific Coast and South Western Canada all year round. Watching the lovely hummingbirds may be delightful but that pleasure comes with some responsibility. You must keep feeders clean and place them in safe spots where no harm can reach the birds that come to them.