At lunchtime today, I glanced out the window and noticed 2 hummingbirds at the feeder I placed just outside the window. This was a great surprise because I’ve been trying to attract the hummingbirds to my feeders for several weeks now—only to watch them take an uninterested look and then fly straight to the red Salvia (also by the window).
This picture (right) was taken through the window blinds (dark regions top and bottom) and the visible bird was watching the second hummingbird (a brilliant green color) feed at the base of the feeder (clear nectar is visible at the bottom of the tear-shaped vessel). [Not a bad picture for a cell-phone camera!]
What I learned.
Last week, I researched hummingbird feeders and attracting hummingbirds and found this great resource about bird watching: http://www.birdwatchers.com/debtips.html .
Here’s the EXACT (verbatim) information and nectar recipe that Debbie provides on that birdwatchers website:
I have found that this is the best recipe for making your own nectar–I feel the birds prefer it over the various instant mixes.
1 Part Sugar
4 Parts Water
Boil 1-2 Minutes
Cool & Store In Refrigerator
Never use honey or artificial sweeteners! Honey ferments easily, and can cause sores in a hummers mouth. Artificial sweeteners have no food value.DO NOT use red food coloring in your solution, as this could be harmful to your hummers. No testing has been done on the effects dye has on birds. Most feeders have red on them and that should be enough.
[There is MUCH MORE information on Debbie’s bird watching website (link above) — take a look if you’re interested!]
When I used the commercially available red nectar, the hummingbirds wouldn’t feed — and they appeared to be confused by the red liquid, often tapping the sides of the container with their beaks as if trying to feed. I made Debbie’s recipe and put it out yesterday—today they are competing to sample the nectar!
Another thing I noticed is that the red nectar was much thicker than this home-made clear nectar, that may have something to do with it as well. Finally, I had the red nectar solution in a tree where the container has full afternoon sun on it and I noticed last night that the nectar solution was quite hot.
The hummingbirds will probably not be around a whole lot longer, but I’m really glad I figured this out and can enjoy them for the remainder of the season!