Tips for keeping your hummingbirds happy

Filed under Birding Tips

It’s easy to attract wild hummingbirds to your yard – use red feeders filled with sugar-water. The feeders are available at most gardening and bird seed stores.

What you may not know, however, is that your sugar-water could actually hurt your birds! Follow these two basic guidelines, to ensure the health of your colorful feathered friends:

  • Refresh the sugar-water every 2-4 days- Sugar water can ferment quickly. The hummingbirds will continue to drink it, but the fermented mixture enlarges their livers, causing health problems. Do your iridescent friends a favor, and keep changing the feeder’s water, especially in hot weather. Wash the feeder while you’re at it: use only hot water and a scrub-brush, no soaps.
  • Only use sugar! Avoid red food coloring – it may not be good for the birds. The red colors on the feeder itself should be enough to attract them. Use a simple mixture of four parts water to one part table sugar. Avoid any other sweeteners like honey, which will ferment more quickly.

Don’t have the time to keep cleaning that bird feeder? Consider hanging some flower baskets by your windows instead – fuchsias and petunias are a few hummingbird favorites.

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