Monday, March 3, 2014

Make It Yourself Hummingbird Nectar

Spring time and Hummingbirds!

It's that time of year.

Well, it's just around the corner anyway.

I'm simply re-posting a blog I did a few months back on how to make your own nectar to attract and feed these beautiful marvels of GOD's creation.

My mother and I always competed to see who got the first hummer of the year.  If you get your feeders up and filled while the migration is going back north,  you may see some that you don't normally see in your area.

The same applies for when they head south before winter.

Here's the original blog written in the Fall.

I could put it off no longer. Those poor little hummingbirds have been looking for something sweet for weeks and I haven't taken the time to wash their feeders and make their nectar.

Shame on me!

Now, just because it's no longer Spring doesn't mean you can't attract hummers. End of Summer and early Autumn are great times to see lots of the beautiful little birds. You'll see some that aren't common to your area occasionally as they migrate south for the winter.

There are a couple of myths that I'd like to debunk.

1.  You have to take your feeders down in the winter or the birds won't leave and they'll freeze.  

         False. The instinct to migrate is greater than their hunger according to experts.

2.  You have to make the nectar red or they won't be attracted. 

        False. While they are attracted to red and other bright colors, the color of the feeder is enough to attract them. Some experts warn that the food coloring could actually harm the birds.

It's one of the easiest things ever to make your own hummingbird nectar. All you need is a pan, some sugar and some water.

And some feeders, of course.

Don't worry about the birds...if you fill them(the feeders), they will come!

Feeders come in all shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common....they're predominantly red. 

Hummingbirds love bright colors, especially the color red. I've read where you can hang brightly colored ribbons in your garden or yard to help attract them, but I've never tried it. They seem to find my porch just fine!

Feeders need to be cleaned periodically. They tend to mold quickly, especially in the Summer, due to the sugar, the heat and the humidity. Some experts say use only hot water and bleach or vinegar to clean your feeders, no soap. I have always used soap, but they say the hummers don't like the soap taste, so make sure you rinse well if you use soap.

My assortment of clean feeders drip drying!

If possible, buy feeders with no yellow color on them. You see more and more of those these days, because they've proven that wasps, bees, etc are attracted to the color yellow. I have cleaned my feeders before and got over a cup of dead honey bees out of the inside. They go in the little holes and they can't get out. You can also remove the little yellow flowers...honest confession time here...I never thought of doing that....duh! I'm going out and removing them tomorrow! The birds can still get the nectar through the hole underneath the flower. You can also paint over any yellow if you wish. If you have a problem with bees or wasps, you may want to move the feeder to a different spot. Just a foot or so will make a difference. The bees think the source is gone and they leave. The birds don't even notice the difference. 

The recipe:

4 parts water
1 part sugar

To put it simply, if you use one cup of sugar, you use four cups of water. I usually do two cups of sugar and eight cups of water. If you make more than your feeders will hold, just put the extra in a jar with a lid in the refrigerator. It's actually a good thing to make more than you need, so you'll have some handy when they're empty, but don't put ice cold nectar out either, let it come to room temperature.

Four parts water to one part sugar

The method:

You can add all the water to the sugar in a pot on the stove or if you're in a hurry and don't want to wait as long for it to cool, use half the water and heat until the sugar dissolves. It's not necessary to boil the mixture, just make sure the sugar is dissolved completely. Then add the other half of the water. As long as you get the sugar to dissolve....that's the most important part. Let cool completely before putting in feeders, you don't want to hurt the birds.

Sugar is all nice and dissolved!

That's all there is to it...

All that's left to do is let it cool and fill your feeders. It makes the filling much easier if you use a large measuring cup or bowl with a spout to fill the feeders. Some feeders have such a small opening, you'll need a funnel.

I love my four cup measuring cup for this!

Now sit back and enjoy watching the birds enjoy your homemade nectar.

They've found it!

Aren't they a delight to watch?


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