Hummingbird Feeders Hummingbird Food

Should You Move Your Hummingbird Feeder?

Has your hummingbird feeder been in the same exact location for a long time and you now find that you are having trouble with various insects at the feeder? One way to help with this issue is to relocate your feeder somewhere else. In this post you will discover why this will help the issue.

Insects as well as hummingbirds are creatures of habit and will likely visit the most convenient and reliable food source available. Insects are unlike hummingbirds because the insects are far less likely to search for a relocated food source. This is why the act of moving a feeder can decrease the number of insects visiting it.

The simple act of moving your feeder, even just a few feet, can help decrease the number of insects which visit your hummingbird feeder. In a very short time, maybe even a few minutes, hours or days, the hummingbirds will once again find your hummingbird feeder because these birds do not mind searching for a dependable food source and due to the bird’s excellent memory they will return again and again to the feeder that is responsible for it.

Hummingbird Food Hummingbirds

What is a Baby Hummingbird’s Diet?

I am constantly astounded by the constant discoveries about hummingbirds that I continue to make. This post is the direct result of one such discovery and it will discuss the diet of a baby hummingbird. I hope that you will find it as interesting as I myself did while doing the research for this post.

When a baby hummingbird is first born it is unable to eat nectar as an adult hummingbird would do. The mother hummingbird will feed on bugs and nectar which will then be regurgitated in the form of a slurry substance on which the baby hummingbirds are feed approximately every 20 minutes.

The mother hummingbird will signal to the baby hummingbirds that it is time to eat by landing on the nest which causes the babies to feel the wind from the mother’s wings and thus open their mouth. Using her beak the mother hummingbird will place the food (the slurry substance) inside the baby hummingbird’s mouth with the use of an up-and-down pumping motion.

If a baby hummingbird were fed only normal nectar this would cause harm to the baby hummingbird. The baby hummingbird would likely be severely crippled or even die, due to the fact the normal nectar lacks enough protein.

A baby hummingbird will begin to fly at about the age of three weeks. At this time, the mother hummingbird will accompany the young birds for a few more days to show the young where the best sources of nectar and bugs can be located. It is after this that the young birds are then left to live on their own.

Even though I have a large knowledge base on the subject of hummingbirds, I never want to stop learning about these amazing birds. I know I enjoy making these kinds of discoveries and it is my hope that you all will as well. This type of topic especially makes me think of my mom and our shared love of these birds, because I know she would have enjoyed making these same discoveries right along with each of you.

Hummingbird Food

Proper Storage of Hummingbird Nectar Solution

Whether you are an avid hummingbird enthusiast or if you are a new fan of hummingbird watching, it is important to be aware that your hummingbird feeders will need to be refilled quite frequently. With this in mind, you may wish to make a fairly large batch of homemade nectar solution ahead of time. Regardless of if you choose to make your own nectar solution or to buy it, you must know just how long it can be kept in the refrigerator and how to store it properly and safely.

Until you have some idea of the number of hummingbirds that will be frequenting your feeders, I would recommend making just enough nectar solution to refill your feeders at the given moment. This helps ensure that the solution is fresh at the time your feeders are replenished.

Once you have a better idea of the number of hummingbirds that will likely be visiting your feeders and with what amount of regularity this will likely occur, you may then decide to mix up a larger batch of nectar solution. This homemade nectar solution can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks. It is important that the nectar solution be properly labeled to ensure that the contents of the container are clearly known to all.

In what type of container should any unused homemade nectar solution be stored? It has been my own experience that either empty milk containers or empty two liter soda bottles seem to work quite well. Another suggestion would be a glass canning jar with a tight fitting lid.

If you should choose to use packaged nectar solution rather then making your own, please be sure and follow the label’s own instructions concerning how to safely store it properly.

A final word of caution, regardless of if you make your own homemade nectar solution or you choose to use packaged nectar solution, if you have any doubt as to whether or not the solution is still safe or not please discard it as a precaution. If the mixture is discolored, foul-smelling or cloudy this would indicate that the mixture has spoiled and must be disposed of immediately.

Hummingbird Food

Never Use Honey In Nectar Solution

Honey should never be used to sweeten homemade nectar solution! I cannot stress this point enough, please do not use honey in your hummingbird feeders! This post will explain why this should never occur.

Honey will ferment extremely rapidly and as a result a deadly bacterium will form in the homemade nectar solution. Honey has been altered by the honey bees and it is therefore made up of the flower nectar and anything else that the honey bee has injected, digested and spit back out again. It may surprise you to discover that honey is not “more natural” then white cane sugar or table sugar. Honey is nothing like the sugar found in flower nectar or white table sugar.

Please do the hummingbirds a favor and never use honey as an alternate source of sweetener in your homemade nectar solution. I am certain that none of us whom enjoy hummingbirds wishes to cause harm to these magnificent birds. Homemade nectar solution is quite easy to make and it is the best way to go when feeding hummingbirds.

The recipe for homemade nectar solution is as follows:

Use 1 part white table sugar to 4 parts water. Heat the mixture on the stove, not in the microwave oven, for 1-2 minutes to allow the sugar to dissolve completely, without causing the mixture to overheat and therefore become syrupy. Let the mixture cool completely and then fill and hang your hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbird Food

Bugs Provide Protein for Hummingbirds

Apart from nectar, a hummingbird’s diet must also contain protein in it, as a hummingbird will die without it. Approximately 10% of a hummingbird’s diet is protein. A hummingbird can gain the necessary protein through the following: small arthropods such as gnats, spiders, mosquitoes, aphids, caterpillars, and insect eggs.

I wish to provide a brief word of caution here. It is vitally important that pesticides not be used whenever hummingbirds are around. Let your hummingbirds act as a natural exterminator for you by eating the bugs. Also, if a hummingbird eats insects with pesticide on them, the pesticide can make the hummingbirds violently ill or it may even cause the hummingbirds to die.

If you wish to do so, it is even possible for you to grow the bugs on which your hummingbirds can feed by doing the following:

Get any large, empty, clean plastic bucket that has a lid and punch a bunch of really tiny holes in the lid. If your container does not have a lid then you can use a piece of fabric that has been tightly secured as the top of the container.

Place the banana peels of one or two bananas in the bottom of the container with the lid off. After a day or two you will begin to see fruit flies around the fruit.

Now put the lid or the fabric on the top of the container, so that in time the bugs will start to breed, thus making more bugs. It is important that the bucket or container is not placed in direct sunlight.

Each day, at the same time of day, go to where your hummingbirds are and bring out the bucket. Take the top off the bucket very quickly to let out a few bugs and put the top right back on. The hummingbirds will soon begin to associate the bucket as being an easy source of protein.

If every few days you continue to add another old banana or apple in the bucket you will ensure that the bugs will continue to breed and thus there will be a continued source of protein for the hummingbirds.

I personally have never tried to grow bugs on which to provide the hummingbirds a source of protein, but I have read that it is possible if you should wish to do so. It seems like it would be too much extra trouble, but if you are in to doing things in a more natural manner this might be of interest to you. If you should try this, please let us know how it works.