Hi everyone! I’m Amy from Ms. Toody Goo Shoes, back for another Home and Garden post. I think I have a defective calendar. It says August, but that just can’t be right, can it? August? Really? Where did July go? Oh, wait — I spent most of the month trying to photograph hummingbirds — no wonder it’s a blur (as are many of my photos, lol)!
I’m a big backyard birder, but I never had a hummingbird feeder until last summer. I was pretty clueless, so I just hung it up, and waited. I didn’t see a single bird until September. Harrumph. Turns out, I made a few mistakes.
This year, I was determined to do a better job of it, and guess what? I succeeded! The good news is, they are constantly humming around my feeder; the bad news is…I’m obsessed…which explains why on some days, you will find me on the deck, still in my nightgown, at dusk. Yes, folks, life can be pret-ty pret-ty exciting in these parts!
Watching hummingbirds is anything but ho-“hum”…in fact, it’s delightful! And it’s really easy to lure them into your yard, especially if you follow these six simple tips.
1. SELECT THE RIGHT FEEDER.
Hummingbird feeders, unlike other bird feeders, hold liquid nectar rather than seeds. They have little portals so the birds can extract the nectar with their long pointy beaks.
It’s important to buy a feeder that is easy to fill, clean, and assemble. The one I used last year was such a pain to take apart, that I always ended up covered in nectar, making me a bee magnet, which, by the way, is not a good thing. If the feeder is too hard to mess with, you won’t want to bother, and the last thing you want to do is get lazy once the little hummers come to rely on you.
2. KEEP FEEDERS CLOSE BY.
Hummingbirds are tiny! If your feeder is too far away, you won’t be able to see them. This could have been my problem last summer — I had mine clear across the backyard. I could barely see the feeder, let alone the birds! I recommend putting feeders as close to where you’ll be watching from, as possible, but ideally, not more than 20 feet away. Some feeders attach right to the window. If you do this, make sure there is a blind or something, so they don’t fly into the glass (you wouldn’t want them to go SPLAT! on your watch, now would you?). My feeder is about 12 feet away from the kitchen door, so I can see the hummers while I’m at the table, and from anywhere on the back deck when I’m outside.
3. PUT THE FEEDER OUT EARLY IN THE SEASON…BUT BE PATIENT.
Hummingbirds may not show up right away, but you want to be ready when they come. In NJ, they arrive in late April, and stay till mid-October (check migration information for your area). Literally, the minute I hung my feeder up in April, one almost knocked me over to check it out. Then, I saw nothing again until early July. Junior Goo Shoes said maybe they didn’t like the nectar I made (they wouldn’t be the first to not like my cooking)! But now, pretty much every time I look, there’s a hummingbird at my feeder.
4. MAKE YOUR OWN FRESH NECTAR.
Trust me, it’s easier to make nectar than it is to find your car keys and run to the store to buy it. Plus, it’s more economical, and doesn’t have any chemicals or artificial coloring in it. I make a big batch, and keep the leftovers in the fridge. It’s the most cooking I’ve done all summer!
Replace the nectar about every 5 days. Rinse out the feeder with hot water before refilling.
5. ROLL OUT THE RED CARPET.
Red is the color that hummingbirds see most easily. Red feeders and red flowers are excellent ways to get their attention. Heck, it’s a lot easier than standing in the backyard, waving your arms.
I have a second hummingbird feeder in a flower pot. For some reason, they haven’t taken to that one.
6. PLANT THEIR FAVORITE FLOWERS.
Offer up a Viennese table of flowers that attract hummingbirds: petunias, begonias, red salvia, bee balm, columbine, sweet potato vine, honeysuckle vine, delphinium, cardinal flower, and butterfly bush. I don’t know about you, but if the neighbors put out cheesecake, cupcakes, and brownies on their front lawn, I’d be awfully tempted to stop by for a bite.
So you see, it’s not difficult to attract these pretty little birds. Follow my six easy tips, and soon your yard will be “humming” with activity!
See you in September!