Hummingbird Summer

I have been establishing what I hoped would be an active hummingbird feeding area for the past three years.  It has turned into “Hummingbird Central.”  It’s almost too much.  I go through three 27 oz. feeders every three days.  Their favorite 19 oz. feeder is gone within 24 hours of it being filled. I can sit outside on the porch at dusk (their favorite time to feed), and watch as between 25-30 different hummingbirds jockey and position for the best drinking spots.  It is really pretty awesome.  People keep asking me how I go about getting so many hummingbirds to visit the feeders.  Here’s what I have learned:

1.  Put the feeders as high up as possible.  My highest feeders are always drained the fastest.  Also, make sure to get the feeders that have perches on them as the hummingbirds seem to prefer perching to hovering when they feed (watch the video at the end of this post to see what I mean!).

2. The mix: 1 cup granulated sugar (the cheaper the better, they don’t like the Domino as much!) to 4 cups water. I put 2 cups of sugar in a saucepan and add 8 cups of hot water and then place the pan on the stovetop. (I always put just a little more sugar in for good measure…).

3. Put the burner on high and bring to a boil.  Boil for 3:15 to 3:30, no longer, no shorter.  Let cool outside.

4. Move to refrigerator after about 2 hrs cooling (preferably outside, don’t put in refrigerator right away), then re-fill feeders. (I clean the feeders each time I refill by rinsing in hot water and using a wine decanter cleaning brush to get the inside free of any residue). That’s it!

5. Sit back and watch as the same hummingbirds come back to visit your feeder year after year! (They go to Mexico and Central America during the winter, travel in the same packs and live an average of 3-5 years, though some can live as long as a decade or more).  If you take care of them right, you’ll see the SAME ones next year!

PS – Whatever you do, don’t put red dye in the water, and when you fill up the feeders make a lot of noise…those little hummingbirds in the trees are watching you and definitely will get to know you and the feeding schedule you present to them…that’s the coolest part.

In the most superstitious of circles, hummingbirds are said to represent the souls of the family members and ancestors of the departed and those who have gone before us.  I’m not sure about this, but if it is so, all of my ancestors and those that have gone before me are surrounding me on a daily basis these days…

Please send me an email if you have any questions, or leave a comment here, and I will do my best to answer it. Good luck!

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