Provide A Good Meal After A Mighty Migration
The jewel of any backyard, hummingbirds travel up to 2,000 during migratory season and often return to the same spot year after year. Here are three ways to support them in your yard:
1. Plant a Blooming Buffet: Experts agree that a wide variety of blooms provide the most complete nutrition. In early spring, azaleas, rhododendrons and roses of Sharon in shades of red and purple will provide first class dining. In summer and fall, look for salvia, butterfly bush, morning glories, trumpet vines and fuschia.
2. Make Your Own Nectar: Sugar water feeders (without the red dye) are greatly appreciated. Bring one part sugar and four parts water to a boil on the stove and watch the sugar dissolve almost instantly as you begin to stir. Allow the mixture to cool to room temperature before filling your feeder. You may store unused nectar in the fridge for up to 5 days, but never feed your birds ice cold nectar as it will put them into a torpor, essentially slowing their metabolic function and rendering them temporarily unable to fly.
3. Protect Against Deadly Mold: Clean your feeder every 3 -5 days to avoid the dangerous mold and bacteria that can grow inside, and in some cases, cause fatalities. Feeders should be scrubbed in warm water and a small amount of mild dish soap or with water and a bit of vinegar. Rinse very well until water runs clear. Alternatively, you can use boiling water to sanitize and a small brush is helpful in cleaning the inside of the feeding ports.