Hummingbird migration south

Hummingbirds are heading south for the winter.  An old wise tale says to take your feeders down to prevent them staying here.  Feeders will not keep them here. Nature tells them when to go.  There are a few that choose to overwinter in the area.

Those migrating through need the food to help them get to Central and South America.  I usually leave mine up until 3 or 4 weeks after I see the last hummer.

DO NOT use the red dye stuff.  It is not good for the birds and will eventually kill them.  It’s very easy to make your own.

Last year I rotated and used twenty feeders.   A good hummingbird feeder recipe that I use:

4 parts hot water to boiling water

Stir in 1 part pure granulated sugar

Cool to room temperature

Store remaining mix in fridge for 7 to 10 days.  When I first put my feeders up, I’ll use a coffee scoop to make up the sugar water.  As the number of birds increase, I’ll use four cups of water and one cup of sugar.   Do not substitute brown sugar. Do not add red nectar, red dye, honey or anything else.  Boiling water not only kills most bacteria and viruses, it also removes many other microorganisms and some chemicals.

Recommended Feeder Schedule change

70°-84°F: Clean feeder and replace nectar every 3 days

85°-87°F: Clean feeder and replace nectar every 2 days

88°F and up: Clean feeder and replace nectar every single day.

More about feeding hummingbirds…

Cloudy nectar indicates bacteria, which is harmful.

Discard nectar, clean the feeder and add fresh clear nectar.

Black residue indicates mold, which is harmful.

Discard nectar, clean the feeder and add fresh clear nectar.

There are several flowers and bushes that are known to attract hummingbirds.  Plants include red shades of daylilies, columbine, penstemon, cardinal flower, bee balm, hibiscus, peony, coral bells, Garden phlox, Oriental Poppy, echinacea (cone flowers), yarrow, annual red salvia, coreopsis.  Perennial Black and Blue salvia even though purple also attracts hummers.  I usually have one hanging around mine protecting it like one of the feeders.  For every one hummingbird you see, it is estimated you have six more in your area.  Most of the hummingbirds in our area are the ruby-throated.  They will guard and fight over feeders.  The ones at my house love Black and Blue Salvia.  They will fight over it like one of the feeders.

If you have ant problems, you can make a home-made ant moat with a spray can cap, wire about 18 inches long, and some waterproof caulk.    Make a small hole in the middle of the cap. Run the wire through the hole, make a loop at each end.  Caulk around the hole inside and out around where the wire goes through the cap.  Dry for a couple of days. Hang with the open end up to hold water to a hook, and hang the feeder from the loop below the moat.  Fill with water and re-fill as needed to prevent ants from getting pass the moat to the feeders.

Help our little ones get south by helping them with energy.

Please check out my GRIT Magazine blog post:

Here are some of my hummingbird migrants coming to my feeders the last few weeks ( I accidentally added a goldfinch, so enjoy) :

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