Tag: hummingbirds

How to Make a Hummingbird Feeder

One critter I love hanging around my garden is the hummingbird. A hummingbird feeder is a great way to attract them to the garden.

Welcome hummingbirds to your backyard by selecting a variety of plants that have brightly colored flowers, such as red, orange, and pink. Often, these flowers are tubular-like, and they’re nectar-producing. It’s these type of flowers that draw the hummingbird in during their migration, during the spring, and again late summer and early fall. Now, hummingbirds have almost no sense of smell, so the flowers they are attracted to are often not very fragrant. You see, these birds look for bright colors and high-nectar-producing plants. Of course, it’s always nice to have beautiful flowers in the garden, but there are other ways to attract these birds to the garden, and that’s with a hummingbird feeder.

You can use a recycled glass bottle, some floral wire, hot glue, and a feeder tube. And with these simple materials, you can create a colorful place for a hummingbird buffet.

Materials for Making a Hummingbird Feeder:

  • Glass drink bottle
  • Floral wire, 12 or 16 gauge
  • Hot glue
  • Feeder tube
  • Glass beads
  • Wire cutters

Directions for Making a Hummingbird Feeder:

Start with a clean, glass drink bottle. Any size will do. I think the larger, the better.

Beginning at the neck, wrap the floral wire around the bottle. Make your way toward the bottom, securing the wire in places with hot glue.

When you reach the bottom of the bottle, form a large loop with the wire and glue the ends on the bottle. This will serve has the hanger for the feeder.

If you want get creative by attaching some extra wire spirals and flat glass beads. The hummingbirds will love the colorful beads.

The last thing you want to do is add a feeder tube to the opening of the bottle. Choose one that you can easily remove so you can keep it cleaned and filled with fresh sugar water. You can find these feeder tubes at any pet store.

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

Hummingbird nectar is just a simple syrup made with a ratio of ¼ cup sugar to 1 cup boiling water.

  • 1/4 cup white, granulate sugar
  • 1 cup boiling water

Bring your water to a boil, add sugar and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Boiling helps dissolve the sugar, but it also kills off things that might make the sugar water spoil faster.

Allow the syrup to cool and pour into your hummingbird feeder.

This will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but it spoils quickly outside, especially in summer when it’s hot. Clean your feeder every 2 days and replace the syrup.

How to Attract Hummingbirds to the Garden

There is something extra special about seeing a hummingbird. I don’t know if it’s their beauty, speed or dexterity that makes them so fascinating, but I just love spotting one in my garden. It makes me feel like I’m doing something right.

Encouraging hummingbirds to stopover isn’t tough. All you have to do is set out the buffet and they will find you. They are always up for a snack; typically eating seven times per hour and visiting around 1,000 flowers in a day. Some of their favorite plants and a few well-placed feeders is enough to invite them into your garden.

Hummingbird feeding on flowers.

Start by providing natural sources of nectar. They don’t have a very good sense of smell, but they are still able to track down their favorite foods such as hosta flowers, hyssop and penstemon. If you really want to draw a hummer in, choose plants with tubular red flowers like scarlet honeysuckle, red petunias and red salvia. Their long slender beaks are designed to access nectar in these blooms and they really do love the color red.

Scarlet Honeysuckle

Hummingbirds also feed on soft-bodied insects for protein. In fact, the nectar is really just fuel for the insect hunt. If you want to provide a balanced diet, skip the pesticides. Given that a single hummingbird will eat several dozen bugs and spiders a day, you won’t need pesticide anyway.

To bring a crowd to your garden bolster the flowers with a few feeders. There are many types of feeders available, but I suggest getting one that is simple to take apart and clean. You will need to take it down every few days to rinse out and fill with fresh nectar so make it easy on yourself. Also look for a feeder with a perch. Hummingbirds spend most of their life at rest so choose a feeder that will allow your visitors to take a well-deserved break.

Hummingbird Feeder

When it comes to hanging the feeders look for a location that is out of direct sunlight and close to their favorite plants. A shady spot will keep the nectar from quickly going bad and the plants will help the birds find the feeder.

As mentioned above feeders need cleaning and refilling every two or three days. If a hummingbird detects spoiled nectar, it won’t come back. Rinse the feeder in hot water every time you refresh the nectar. Soap isn’t necessary and don’t put it in the dishwasher. Once a month soak it in a solution of ¼ cup bleach and one gallon of water.

Hummingbirds have the memory of an elephant. Once they discover your garden they will come back every year as long as there is food.