Tiny jewels are once again dotting our flowery landscape in search of food, tiny bugs, tiny spiders, and of course nectar from hummingbird feeders or the appropriate flowers.
The last week of April is perfect to put out hummingbird feeders as the ruby-throated hummingbirds come back to Wisconsin right around then, give or take a few days before or after, depending on the weather in the south. When they come back, their primary need is to find nectar food to fuel their bodies from their long journey north for the summer.
Not many nectar providing flowers are in bloom quite yet so the little hummers rely on hummingbird feeders to get their ample supply of nectar which provides them the energy to fly at their amazing speeds and hover as only their kind can do. Nectar is best made from scratch and not bought at a store as store bought nectars contain water, red dye** and one of the following: honey, corn syrup or high fructose syrup all of which contain harmful bacteria for hummingbirds.
First, their bodies can only handle plain, granulated table sugar, the other forms of sugar not only weigh them down making it hard to fly but the they also ferment faster causing bacteria build up and can result in death. **Second, the red dye may contain chemicals that cause botulism in hummingbirds.
Now, feeders placed in direct sun, need to be changed every two to three days no matter because the sun ferments the nectar faster.
The best part of making your own hummer nectar is this, it’s waaaay cheaper to make it than to buy it anyways and it uses only two ingredients. Here’s the recipe:
1 part sugar
4 parts purified* water or
1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup *purified water
That’s it! To be exact follow these simple steps:
*Measure 1 1/4 cups of tap water; boil for two minutes.(Tap water contains minerals and chemicals that cause spoilage at a much faster rate)
Remeasure the water to just 1 cup.
Stir in 1/4 cup granulated sugar.
Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.
Cool the liquid to room temperature.
Pour into your clean hummingbird feeder (s).
If there is any liquid left over, store in refrigerator for up to one week.
In sixty-seventy degree weather, the feeders need to be cleaned weekly. Hotter thanthat, every couple of days so adjust your nectar amounts to accommodate and not waste. Of course, the little jewels may clean you out of nectar before then.
Make sure all feeders are rinsed well after washing, if the water tastes soapy, your hummingbirds may decide not to return to your yard.
Happy hummingbird season!