HoneyBerry
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Hummingbird food

There are different opinions on hummingbird food. I have been using the 4/1 water-sugar recipe, C&H sugar, sucrose I believe, and I filter then boil the water. I don't use the powdered products with the red dye. I'm at a wild bird soeciality store and they have fun stuff for birds that is fancier than what I'm used to. They have a hummingbird powder that consists of 2 sugars, sucrose & one other sugar, and the ratio is supposedly similar to real nectar, which sometimes has 3 sugars. Does anybody know if the 2 sugar product is worth buying? The hunmingbirds seem to the the simple water-sucrose recipe that I am using. If the 2 sugar product is better for the hummingbirds I will gladly buy it. But if it's just a gimmick I'd rather not waste my money. I don't know why they don't have a 3 sugar product. That would be more alluring. I just want what's best for the little hummers
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applestar
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Re: Hummingbird food

Although some mixes contain additional nutrients -- vitamins and proteins -- I think the single most important consideration is to replace the mixture with fresh and keep the feeder clean.

I found out that I am -- face it -- too lazy. I cannot keep it up -- was constantly feeling guilty and worried that I would make them sick -- do more harm than good -- and, besides, at least in my garden, there were not enough hummer visitors to drink up the sugar water so much of it was wasted every time.

So for my own peace of mind, I've given up on putting out feeders and have concentrated on planting and growing various hummer fave flowers so that there are ALWAYS something for them to feed from through the season. I see them ALL the time, from first light to dusk, and often hovering over my head in the garden or right outside the window when I look out of nearly any window in the house. I use no chemical fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides, so I can feel good about that, too.
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Re: Hummingbird food

Putting out a feeding station is a good idea. Ordinary sugar is fine. The sugar/water also hydrates the hummingbirds.

Change feeding station daily
Just be sure to change it often, particularly if the weather is warm as sugar also provides food for various bacteria type stuff to grow in.

I don't put out hummingbird feeders because they attract bears, lol. Something you may consider, as applestar noted, is planting flowers that attract hummingbirds. Many flowers that attract hummingbirds are the same for butterflies.

Hummingbirds eat bugs, too. Attracting them with nectar producing flowers will enhance your garden, provide food for butterflies and bees and attract hummingbirds which act as predators to balance out the bug population in your yard.

HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

I have been planting to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. I have honeysuckle and fuchsia and butterfly bush and keep adding more plants each fall. The hummingbird feeders are just in case the flowers aren't enough. I hang the feaders next to the honeysuckle. I'm also trying to attract bees. The bees love my orange poppies and the clover and the dandelions. I don't use chemicals either. No bears to worry about where I am.
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applestar
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Re: Hummingbird food

They like flowers in the vegetable garden, too. Beans of course, but I have seen them at onion, garlic, tomatoes and pepper blossoms, too. Almost any small blossom that attracts wasps and bees. Herbs -- mint, basil, Rosemary, ... And sage, of course.

And I was REALLY surprised to see one doing something with corn tassels. Is there any nectar in corn tassel-- male blossoms? I was thinking maybe the hummer was licking up pollen which is source of protein, or maybe there were bugs.

I sometimes forget that I'm working or standing next to a nectaring flower and am surprised to find a hummingbird hovering at my eye level as if waiting for me to leave or as if the bird was as surprised to see me there.

One day, I opened an upstairs window and a hummingbird came zooming up from the fence area across the garden to hover just on the other side of the screen window. WHO KNOWS WHY?
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

Sounds like you have more hummers than I do. I'm trying to attract them. I've seen a couple so far. Both times near the honetsuckle and the feeders. I remember more of nature around me as a kid than what I have now. I just heard a cricket in my yard and realized that I haven't heard cricket sounds for a very long time. And I haven't heard any frog sounds for a long time. I don't see grasshoppers anymore. I remember there were lots of grasshoppers when I was s kid. Once in a while I see a cottontail rabbit. I don't see robins in my yard anymore. I'm working hard to attract birds and butterflies and bees but it is a slow pricess. When I win the lotto I will move to a place where there are more critters, something more peaceful with nature sounds.
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ElizabethB
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Re: Hummingbird food

Hi Birdlover,

Commercial food is a rip off. Your 4/1 ratio is just fine. Frequent changing and cleaning is an issue. Unless you have huge numbers of humming birds do not fully fill your feeders. I fill mine only 1/4 to 1/3 full except in the fall when they are very active. I have a problem with ants so I coat the hanger with petroleum jelly. The ants get stuck and do not get into the feeder.

The feeders should be cleaned daily but I am too lazy for that. I clean and refill every 2 or 3 days.

My Sister lives 20 miles north of me. She is in a "Fly Zone". Spring and fall she puts out 4 GALLONS of sugar water each day. Two in the morning and two in late afternoon. If you hold a feeder in your hand the birds will sit on your fingers to feed. LSU has sent people to her house to tag birds. She also has year round residents. Not all Hummers migrate to South America.

Leaving your feeders up will not keep the Hummers from migrating. Nothing can overcome the instinct to migrate. In fact it is a good thing to leave your feeders up in the fall and early winter, especially in the deep south. They have such a long journey that the last minute feeding can make the difference between survival and death.

DITTO all on planting Hummingbird friendly plants. The one plant that they are most attracted to is the Brown (Ugly) Shrimp plant. In south Louisiana they are perennial. They also self seed. I started with one plant in a pot. It seeded on the back side of the patio fence. I now have Brown Shrimp Plants growing on both sides of the fence. The Hummers love the Shrimp Plants. BTW - other colors are not as attractive to the Hummers as the Brown Shrimp Plant. The nectar of the plant is what they are after.

Skip the expensive commercial food. Stick with your mix. Clean your feeders frequently. Plant attractants. Oh - provide water. A large pot saucer filled with fresh water and tucked under a shrub works great. Clean and refill frequently.

Love Hummers.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

Thank you so much!
I will plant some shrimp plants. Never heard of it before.
I already have a few saucer bird baths with river rocks in them. The birds love them.

Marlingardener - Here is my order: 50 grasshoppers, 2 cottontails, 20 dragonflies, 20 butterflies (please do include some Monarchs), 10 frogs, a few robins and a few goldfinches and 2 red-winged blackbirds.
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ElizabethB
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Re: Hummingbird food

Birdlover, focus on the Brown Shrimp Plant. The yellow and reds do not have the nectar that the Hummers love and need. It is called "The Ugly Shrimp Plant" for a reason. It is not the most attractive plant. The Hummers apparently do not care about appearance. The Brown Shrimp provided an excellent nectar that the Hummers love.

Also check out Red Pentas. There is an hybrid that is favored by Hummers. Check with your local nursery.

Good luck
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

Susan W
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Re: Hummingbird food

BL, Just some thoughts on your hummers, and this will take some easy peasy research on your part, and as you get into it as fun and challenging as you wish. Fortunately the Net has made this so much easier, but don't believe everything you read!

What kind of hummers do you have? One or more species? The comments posted here so far are eastern which is the Ruby Throated. What is their life cycle?

Now, what are your native plants that are magnets for hummers, bees, butterflies? One flower doesn't do all, sorry! Check on the salvias that may be good for you, as that is a draw for me. Also check the bee balms/monardas and agastaches (I have Anise hyssop).

I don't do the feeders as it is a bothersome host for ants and all the cooties we don't see. So, sometimes see just one hummer. Then there are the endless discussions of what is healthy sugar water, and what is empty calories.

Not trying to confuse, judge a nudge in ways to look at the picture.
Have fun!
Susan

HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

I'm new with the hummers. I've seen 2 so far, which is better than what I had before I started trying to lure them to my yard. I think they are the Anna variety but they darted off quickly so I am not certain. I was just happy to see any at all. I planted Purple Honeysuckle about 5 years ago and one of the hummer sightings was near that plant. I have a hummingbird feeder next to that plant. I have 2 honeysuckle plants in another location, the pink-orange flower kind, not sure what it's called. I also have some perrenial hardy fuchsias there. It's a cozy little garden area. I have a hummingbird feeder there as well, right by the honeysuckle and fuchsias. I also planted some annual fuchsias earlier this year. I have dome dahlias. Not sure if they like them or not but I sure do. I'm trying to attract birds in general. I have lots of finches and chickadees at my back yard feeder. The hummingbird plants and feeders are in a different spot. I heard that the neighbors down the street have about 10 hummers regularly. It could be that they visit ehen I'm not around. I planted a Butterfly Bush last fall and it is in full nloom right now, but not a very large bush yet. I don't have acreage, just a house on a small lot, about 50' x 50'. I know that my place isn't exactly wildlife heaven so I'm happy with the visitors that do come and I try to treat them well. Once in a while I see a woodpecker out back. He's really fun, some red on his head. I get lots of cute squirrels because there is a walnut tree in the yard across the street. I had baby brown squirrels in my yard earlier this year in the spring. I really enjoyed watching them. I figured out who the mama was and let her get away with robbing the feeder. I can post a few pictures of the honeysuckle, next lost.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

This is the Purple Honeysuckle. If you look hard, you should see the feeder. A hummingbird darted out from thus plant early in the morning not too long ago.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

This is the second feeder, look hard, it's hanging on the metal structure. This is the cozy little garden. The plants are primarily pink-orange honeysuckle, hardy fuchsias, bleeding hearts, dahlias. There's a fragrant flowering shrub on the left, purplish-pink flowers, I don't know the name of it. This is where I saw the first hummingbird.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

This is in the cozy garden too, just a different spot. There are fuchsias but hard to see because the dahlias are getting so big. I need to move the dahlias.
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HoneyBerry
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Re: Hummingbird food

And this is the Bird of Approval.
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