Feeding Hummingbirds


When is the best time of the year to feed hummingbirds?
In Monterey County, it is worthwhile to keep a hummingbird feeder up 12 months a year. Our resident hummer, the Anna's Hummingbird, is here year-round and will be a frequent visitor to your garden and feeder. During the Spring and Summer months you may also spot the Allen's and Rufous Hummingbirds visiting your feeder, stopping on their way during their migration. Providing a feeder will not affect the migration patterns.

What type of feeder should I choose?
The appearance of the feeder doesn't matter to the hummers; selection ultimately depends on your personal preference. However, a major factor in deciding which type of feeder to use is how easy it is to clean. The flat,  disc-shaped feeders are highly recommended since their feeding ports and interiors are easily accessible for cleaning. Their built-in ant moats are another plus for this feeder style, because they prevent ants from reaching the nectar.

What kind of nectar should I feed them?
We recommend clear nectar for your feeder. Most hummingbird feeders are red and that is enough to attract hummingbirds. Red-colored nectar is not recommended because the dyes used for coloration are not digestible and may be harmful to the hummers. You can mix your own nectar using plain table sugar and water. The recipe is one part sugar to four parts water, boil until dissolved. Allow to cool before serving. Remember not to use brown sugar, raw sugar, powdered sugar, organic sugar, artificial sweeteners, agave nectar or honey. At the Wild Bird Haven we offer a clear nectar concentrate that is easily dissolvable in cold tap water, no boiling required. Extra nectar can be kept in your refrigerator for 10-15 days.

How often should I clean the feeder?
Plan to clean your feeder once a week, otherwise mold may develop inside the feeder and this is harmful to the hummers. When cleaning a feeder, rinse with hot water and use vinegar when necessary on harder spots. Bleach and stronger soaps may leave a residue that is distasteful and potentially dangerous to the hummers. Since some feeders may have inner chambers that are difficult to reach, we offer a variety of brushes to help clean those areas easily.  

Where can I place my feeder? 
When placing a feeder in your yard, you may choose a location as close as you'd like to your house, preferably near a window where you can enjoy hummers the most. Note that placing a feeder in the shade will keep the nectar fresher longer, and placing a feeder near other hummer-friendly flowers will increase its attractiveness.

List of hummer-friendly native flowers: http://www.elkhornnursery.com/default.aspx?pid=39bc67c6-0226-4d00-bac5-1...