One of our favorite past-times that both my husband and I enjoy, is that of feeding the birds that frequent our home. Over the last couple of years, we have discovered that the hummingbirds have found comfort in our backyard.
A variety of things that we have done in our yard has created a safe haven for these tiniest of birds. We have planted plenty of flowers in areas that provide shade, shelter, water, food and security (a safe place to escape if needed). In addition, we have varying trees that include honeysuckle, lilacs, low bush plants such as holly and a variety of plant height.
Plenty of space is provided so that they can hover and navigate the different flowers. Among the flowers we have hummingbird feeders at different levels as well. In addition, we have different height bird baths as well as a running water within a small pond.
Today as I was out taking pictures, they often came close in flight, allowing me to take some great photo’s of them. This was unusual, but then I realized that my fushia blouse might have been the cause of this attraction. Bright colors attract these amazing birds with them being mostly attracted to red, which is why you will see red on most hummingbird feeders. These bright colors help them find their food, as they do not have a good sense of smell.
Flowers that we have in our gardens include bee balm, columbine, daylilies, and lumpine. We also observed that they were attracted to our red roses that I keep pruned, which was exciting to see. Additional flowers that they are attracted to are foxgloves, hollyhocks and many other annuals with bright colored flowers such as petunias, impatiens and cleomes.
I do enjoy having the feeders available for the hummingbirds, but one must replace the feed every two weeks, in order to keep it from going bad. There are products available that one can purchase with the red color, but we have found that it is much more affordable to make our own sugar water feed.
Ingredients: Water and sugar – that’s it!! It is not recommended to add red food coloring as it is not a healthy product for the hummingbirds or orioles. Yes, orioles are also attracted to this sugar water.
- Hummingbirds: 4:1 – water:sugar
- Orioles: 6:1 – water:sugar
NOTE: Do NOT use honey!!! Honey attracts bees and can grow black fungus that will cause a fatal liver and tongue disease in hummingbirds.
- Boil 2 cups of water (we use the microwave)
- Add 1/2 cup of regular sugar to the hot water, stir and mix until it is no longer cloudy.
- While mix is cooling, throughly clean the feeders, removing all dirt and any mold.
- After it has cooled to room temperature, stir again.
- Pour into the feeders.
- This mix fills two feeders. We do not fill the feeders to the top, but 1 cup provides plenty for each feeder.
- Watch over the course of a month, changing every 1-2 weeks, to see how much is consumed. If you find that more than half is left in your container, consider reducing the amount you put in your feeder to save the cost of sugar.
- Unused feed can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
We have been at our current home for 27 years, and one of the things we have enjoyed as the plants, trees and shrubs have filled in, is the comfortable space for our own enjoyment, but also that of the birds. It is rewarding to hear the sounds of nature, abundantly making music as we step out into our backyard.
~ Enjoy ~
Laura D. Field
Reflective Tapestry of Life
Writer, Blogger, Proofreading & editing, Freelance contributor