With their tiny bodies and constantly flittering wings, hummingbirds are quite the fascinating bird. Attracting the small creatures to the yard is easier than one might think.
“I think hummingbirds are the easiest bird to attract to your yard,” said Ken Badke, who co-owns Wild Birds Unlimited in Augusta with his wife Janice. “All you need is a feeder and a place to hang it.”
There is a myriad assortment of hummingbird feeders. But they all serve one purpose: to provide food for the little birds.
When choosing a feeder, The Hummingbird Society suggests selecting one that you can clean. The size of the feeder should match the population of hummingbirds in your area – don’t continue to fill a feeder up if all of the nectar isn’t being used.
More feeders will support more “hummers,” as the birds are often referred to, and will help reduce territoriality.
To attract the birds, use a nectar recipe of one cup table sugar to four cups water. Boil the water to dissolve the sugar and cool before putting in the feeder. Any unused nectar can be refrigerated for later use. Badke stresses that red food coloring should not be added to the nectar.
Nectar should be changed every four days or so – or more often when temperatures are above 90 degrees. If not, the nectar will ferment. Nectar should be changed immediately if it appears cloudy or if mold begins to form.
Feeders should be placed in the shade, if possible, and at least four feet above the ground.
Planting various plants, particularly ones with long, tubular blossoms in red, orange, yellow or blue, will also bring hummers to your yard.
According to the popular Birds and Blooms magazine, red hot poker, flowering tobacco, trumpet honeysuckle, delphinium, trumpet vine, petunia and bee balm are among the top hummingbird plants.
Hummingbirds, one of the smallest birds in the world, are celebrated throughout the country at festivals and fairs.
“They come to our area beginning in April and leave around October,” said Badke, noting that they migrate from Central and South America.
So, for all the hummingbird lovers out there, be sure to be kind to your tiny feathered friends by providing them with a little bit of Southern hospitality while they are in our area by providing them with sufficient nectar on which to feed.