Many bird enthusiasts believe that hummingbird feeders should be taken down on Labor Day to prevent hummers from staying in the area too long, resulting in these little birds missing optimal migration weather or even freezing to death. In fact, hummingbirds are genetically programmed to head south in the fall at the correct time. It’s not a lack of nectar source or colder weather that makes them leave, they know it’s time to begin their migratory flight based on changes in the length of the day and the position of the sun.
In the fall, wait until you haven’t seen a hummingbird at your feeder for three weeks before taking your hummingbird feeders down. While native flowering plants are the best source of nectar for hummingbirds, a hummingbird feeder with fresh sugar-water is a great way to provide additional sustenance during nesting season and migration. By offering fresh nectar in your feeder, you could be rewarded with sightings of late migrators.
Tips For Choosing A Hummingbird Feeder
There really is a difference in cheap feeders vs. quality feeders. By purchasing a good hummingbird feeder, you will save money in the long run since you will not be replacing it throughout the season or every year.
- A good hummingbird feeder is easy to clean & fill. Feeders should be cleaned each week or more often to prevent the spread of harmful bacteria.
- Small is better than large is a good rule of thumb when it comes to selecting a feeder. Unless you have dozens of hummingbirds then a small feeder will suffice and… you are wasting nectar or even worse, letting unused nectar sit in the feeder too long. Do not fill your feeder to the top if it isn’t getting used in 3-4 days.
- Purchase more than one feeder. Hummingbirds are very territorial when it comes to their eating areas. By offering more than one feeder you will attract more hummers.
- Choose a feeder that has ports above the liquid reservoir to avoid leaks and drips.
- Perches or a perch ring are nice features to have on a feeder for you and the birds. Hummers enjoy a resting spot, especially while feeding and the ports entice them to stay on the feeder, allowing you to view them longer. High-view feeders are built with a perch ring above the feeder that provides an unobstructed view of hummers.
The Best Location For Your Feeder
- It is best to place your feeder in a shady location out of direct sunlight. This will help keep your nectar fresh.
- Place it at least 4 feet from the ground in order to prevent cats from attacking.
- If possible, hang your feeder where you can easily view it so you can enjoy watching these delightful birds.
Recipe For Hummingbird Nectar
¼ cup of cane sugar (never use artificial sweeteners or honey)
1 cup of spring or tap water
Add sugar to the water and stir until completely dissolved. Never add red food coloring to the sugar water as it contains harmful chemicals.