In this video David Attenborough provides a fascinating look at the amazing world of hummingbirds and their behavior.
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.
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.
Hummingbird feeders are one way to attract hummingbirds to your yard. The use of a feeder requires proper maintenance and cares with it a great deal of responsibility. This post will provide some important reminders concerning hummingbird feeders and homemade hummingbird food.
A hummingbird feeder should not be placed in direct sunlight, as this causes the sugar solution to spoil rapidly. Also, a plastic feeder that is exposed to direct sunlight will ware out more quickly because the prolonged exposure will cause the plastic to crack eventually.
Be sure to place the hummingbird feeder high enough on a branch so that squirrels and other predators cannot feed from it
Use only a mixture of sugar and water to feed the hummingbirds. The recipe is 1 part water to 4 parts water. This blend is very close to the sugar concentration which is found on many flowers which are known to attract hummingbirds.
Nothing other then white table sugar should be used to make homemade nectar solution. Never use honey, molasses or any other artificial sweeteners to feed hummingbirds. Though they eat small insects for protein, hummingbirds also rely heavily on flower and prepared nectar for their energy needs.
This video will tell you about how to effectively attract hummingbirds to your yard. In it you will discover what to use as the food source, why the feeder must be inaccessible to cats and why growing trumpet-shaped flowers throughout the garden is important.