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Hummingbird Feeders

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hummingbird feeder hanging
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hummingbird feeder
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Hummingbirds are amazing creatures.  Did you know that the world's smallest bird is actually a hummingbird called the Bee hummingbird?  Their extraordinary ability to hover is due to the rapid wingbeats that they are capable of achieving.  The fastest recorded wingbeat of a hummingbird (that's not to say they can't go faster) is about 80 beats per second.  Yes, per second.  Which is probably why all we see of their wings is a blur of color.  If you've always wanted to see a hummingbird in action, you can get hummingbird feeders to place near your window so that you can watch these fascinating creatures in action. A few pointers when it comes to hummingbird feeders, their proper use and care.

Hummingbird feeders - which type to buy

hummingbird feeder flower

Flower hummingbird feeder - 'plant' these in amongst your window planters. Click here.

hummingbird feeder ceramic

Ceramic Lupin hummingbird feeder.  Click here.

hummingbird feeder metal

Metal Antique White hummingbird feeder with perches.  Click here.

Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of sizes and shapes.  Some are ceramic, others metallic, plastic and still others beautiful blown glass.  Some hummingbird feeders come with perches, others look like mobiles that you hang off a roof rafter.  Most are designed so that the hummingbird has to actually hover to get its feed.  I guess most people would prefer to see the hummingbird do its amazing hovering trick rather than just perching and sipping nectar like any old bird.  Still, there is some contention amongst hummingbird enthusiasts as to which is the more humane way of feeding hummingbirds.  You see, in the wild, most hummingbirds don't hover in the one spot for any length of time - there isn't that much nectar in each flower, they hover, sip, move to the next flower, hover, sip and move on.  With most hummingbird feeders that force them to hover in one spot, they have to really work to get that drink (which seems to go on and on), so some enthusiasts would rather that they offer them a perch to rest on to give them a break when they need it.

hummingbird feeder window

Window hummingbird feeder -  Click here.

hummingbird feeder crystal

Crystal hummingbird feeder.  Click here.

hummingbird feeder unusual

3 station window hummingbird feeder with perch. Click here.

Some hummingbird feeders are notoriously hard to keep clean.  If you are considering getting one, it's not something you can just fill, hang up and forget about till a week or month later.  Hummingbird feeders require a lot of maintenance.  Otherwise don't get one, whilst leaving the feeder out will probably not poison the hummingbirds (they probably know that the solution's gone off and will abandon your 'food source'), it's not savoury or good hygiene to be breeding bacteria soup!  The nectar in hummingbird feeders need to be changed every 3 days (sometimes every 2 in hot weather), so it's not one for the lazy.

Hummingbird feeders - where should I put it?

There are some who believe that you should never put a hummingbird feeder up close near a window - but most hummingbirds are so small that in order to enjoy them up close enough to see details, you will probably need binoculars if you place your feeder further away.  People who advocate not placing your hummingbird feeder near windows is due to their fear that the birds will inadvertently fly into the windows so they feel that you should put some blinds or something to suggest to the birds that it's a solid surface and not something they should fly straight up against.  Having said that, if you place your very first hummingbird feeder up against your kitchen window, you may find that it could take a while for the word to go out that there's food near that kitchen window.  A better idea would be to get your hummingbirds used to the feeder in the first place (let's face it, not many of the hummingbird feeders look anything like the flowers that they are used to getting their source of food from).  So instead of just putting the hummingbird feeder straight to it's final destination spot in the first instance, start by placing it close to where they would normally find their food source (in a garden bed where they normally feed) and then when they learn that the strange looking contraption actually is a reservoir for food, you can slowly move it closer to your final destination.

hummingbird feeder insect protection

Insect barrier for your hummingbird feeders -  Click here.

hummingbird feeder umbrella

Umbrella to keep rain off your hummingbird feeder.  Click here.

hummingbird feeder brush

Bottle brush to make cleaning your  hummingbird feeder easy.  Click here.

Hummingbird feeders - what do I fill it with?

Hummingbirds don't just feed on nectar, they eat bugs.  With those little wings beating, there's a lot of fast kilojoules that they require and it comes in the form of straight sugars from nectars.  We aren't hoping to give them a well balanced diet, we're just offering them a quick sugar fix so that they can charge up enough to chase those bugs!  You can fill your hummingbird feeders with the commercial nectar mixes or you can opt to just make your own with WHITE sugar.  Note just plain WHITE cane sugar, NOT brown sugar, NOT honey and there's no need to add any food coloring either to 'attract' the hummingbirds.  To make your own hummingbird nectar, just mix 1 part WHITE sugar and 4 parts water, then fill the feeder with the solution.

Hummingbird feeders maintenance

As mentioned above, if you think you can just hang up a hummingbird feeder and forget about it till next season, then don't bother getting one.  Hummingbird feeders need maintenance.  The sugar solution inside will need changing every 2-3 days and the whole feeder will need a proper clean out with bleach solution (1/4 cup bleach in 1 gallon of water) and a brush (some hummingbird feeders come with a cleaning brush, otherwise just get one of those bottle brushes for hard to reach places.  Rinse well with water after using the bleach solution.  The bleach solution works well to remove mold and algae that inevitably grow if your feeder is in sunlight.  Soak the whole feeder in the bleach solution for stubborn stains.  Depending on where you live, you may want to leave your hummingbird feeder up all year round to attract non-migratory hummingbirds.  Otherwise, most would suggest that come fall/autumn that you take your feeder down, clean it well, store it away and put it up again when the weather starts to warm up again in spring.

Find the biggest range of hummingbird feeders at TheBirdShed

(article written by Online Vet Dr Lilian at Ask-the-vet.com)

Flower pots home>garden supplies>hummingbird feeders

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