Without doubt, hummingbirds are one of the most wonderful birds on our planet- dazzling in colors and beautiful metallic flying jewels. Their beauty which is constantly fascinating us is often tempting us to attract them in our homes by placing a hummingbird feeder. But, are we unknowingly killing hummingbirds with improper maintenance of their feeders?
However, there have been several hummingbird deaths in Port Alberni several years ago due to contaminated feeders. Namely, the birds caught fungal infections and their tongues became swollen to the extent of no longer being able to feed themselves.
This being said, we need to prevent such unwanted deaths of hummingbirds by following a set of guidelines to ensure the feeders stay clean and safe for these amazing creatures.
How to Have Hummingbirds in Your Yard without Endangering Them
- Use the right type of sweetener
The solution you make for the food needs to contain regular white sugar only-avoid any other sweeteners like maple syrup, honey, etc. This is because white sugar is pure sucrose whereas the other ingredients from other sweeteners may contaminate the food and cause disease in the birds.
- Prepare the right ratio
The food needs to be made with three parts water and one part sugar. This is a similar range to that of flower nectars which is their natural food. Avoid making the food too sugary- this can only dehydrate them.
- Use clean containers
The mixture should be placed in a clean pot, free of grease and dirt. Make sure you first heat the mixture to bring it to boil and then cool it down prior to transferring it in the feeder. Surplus mixture can be kept in a jar in the fridge up to a week.
- Avoid food colorings
Artificial colors, for example, on the feeder, can be harmful to the birds. Make sure the feeders are simple and without any fancy additions and sections. This can only attract more bacteria. Opt for the flat ones with a couple of basic holes that are easy to clean and are safe for the birdies.
- Maintain the cleanliness of the feeder
As feeders are prone to mold and bacteria, it’s important to clean them on a regular basis with hot water. Avoid soaps and bleaches. Rinse them well and do this every day or two.
Attracting Hummingbirds without Feeders
If you don’t have the time to keep the feeders clean and safe, you can still have hummingbirds coming in your garden by planting enough flowers.
Hang baskets in your garden or terrace with petunias and fuchsias or other tubular flowers. Since they’re pollinators like bees, they will feed from the flowers.