It’s time to start putting up hummingbird feeders.
Before you run down to Wally World, and get that commercial red stuff, don’t do it! If you have a feeder with red on it, that’s all that is needed. It’s very easy to make syrup without the toxins in it. Take one part sugar and four parts of boiling water, mix and let cool and put in your feeder. During the early part of the year, I use 4 tablespoons of sugar in twelve tablespoons of hot water. You need to clean your feeders at least once a week and refill with fresh syrup. By the middle of the summer I’m making it a gallon at a time, refilling my feeders daily. I store the extra in the refrigerator. Last year I was a little late in hanging my feeders. One of my returnees let me know real quickly that I needed to put my feeder up by the screen porch door. It was flying around the house looking in every window until it spotted me and started complaining. Mornings and evening meals of my days off are spent out on the screen porch. I’ve learn to check the feeders first or the little buggers will let you know that they are hungry. Most of the hummers found in the NW corner of Alabama are ruby throat hummingbirds. The mature male has a red reflective coloration on his throat depending on how the light strikes it. The nest is about the size of a quarter made of webs and lichens. I find that the nests are hard to find. I have a weeping flowering peach tree at the end of the driveway that I know there’s a nest, but have yet to find it. The three hooligans like to harassed the mother hummer to the point of trying to climb the tree. Click on an image for a larger view.
Ants are a big problem with feeders. You can put Vaseline on the hanger above the feeders and the ants will not cross. By the end of the feeding season it’s a little unsightly. Another method is to put a cup with water between the hanger and the feeder. I bought one on sale at the end of the feeding season and they work great, but they are on the pricy side. This year I plan to make some out of the spray can tops by drilling a hole in the middle and running a stiff wire through the hole and make a loop on each end and use waterproof caulking to seal up the hole.