Want more hummingbirds? Tie a big red ribbon around the old oak tree. Dig out those Christmas decorations and attach the red bows on your deck, yard crane, or other places you want to attract hummingbirds. Red equals food for hummingbirds. And they’ll come by to check out your bows.
Then have some red blooming flowers or a “clean” hummingbird feeder ready for them to enjoy and benefit from. Have your feeder up by April 15th. I stress, you must keep hummingbird feeders “clean”, as feeding from a dirty feeder is like a “DWI” for a hummingbird. Mold and mildew on a feeder or spoiled nectar throws off a hummingbird guidance system. A hummingbird beats its wings about 78 times per second so staying in total control is critical. As a result, hummingbirds will avoid a dirty feeder. There are feeders available that are totally dishwasher safe. Look for them and always buy feeders that come apart easily and feature wide mouths to the nectar reservoir.
When buying feeders, avoid products with yellow ports or parts. Yellow is one of the few colors bees can see and they are attracted to it. If you own one of these, use fingernail polish to paint the parts red. You can also use Avon “Skin So Soft” to safely discourage bees and wasps. Just put a little around the feeder port. You can keep ants from getting in your feeder by hanging the feeder from an “Ant Moat or Nectar Protector.” You fill these devices with water because ants can’t swim and thus can’t get to the feeder.
When planting flowers, I recommend native plants wherever possible. Trumpet Vine, Honeysuckle, Columbines and Cardinal flowers are some species to select. Regarding annuals always go with flowers with feature wide-open throated blossoms that are easier for hummingbirds to feed.
A couple of other things you can do to attract hummingbirds is to provide a mist of water, a plate of rotting fruit or nesting material. Because hummingbirds go in and out of hundreds of flower blossoms each day, they get covered with a lot of pollen. Hummers look for a way to clean their feathers. A fountain that splashes or a shallow bird bath is sometimes used by hummers for this purpose. Better yet, providing a mist they can fly through is a guaranteed way to attract hummingbirds. In fact, if you put your water supply on a timer, you’ll actually have hummers lining up daily. There are commercial misters available that can be adapted for this purpose or a soaker hose can also work if strung through the air. You can also buy nozzles developed specifically as bird misters.
Did you realize that while hummingbirds use nectar as their energy source, small insects are a hummingbird’s source of protein and minerals? A proven way to attract lots of hummingbirds is to put out a plate of fruit (watermelon, peaches, bananas, are the best!) and let it rot. This results in lots of small fruit flies that hummingbirds love.
Last but not least, all bird species respond to you when providing them nesting material. For hummingbirds, there’s only one proven nesting material and it must be purchased commercially. The product is called “Hummer Helper Nesting Material” and is endorsed and recommended by The Hummingbird Society.
If you use some of the above suggestions, you should soon have lots of hummers zipping around your yard or pond. Want to learn more about hummingbirds, check out www.hummingbirdsociety.org.
Source: The Bird Man Mel Toellner