FAQs About Hummingbirds
Do I have hummingbirds in my area?
there are over 300 species of hummingbirds, only about 16 can be found
in North America. Most areas of the United States and Southern Canada
have at least one species of hummingbird. In the Eastern and Central
United States, almost all of the hummingbirds typically seen are
Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. Approximately 7 species can be seen in the
Western U.S., and nearly all 16 hummingbird species can be found in the
What types of hummingbirds are in my area?
and Central United States and Canada: primarily the Ruby-throated
hummingbird, though some other species can be found in the Gulf region.
Western United States: Anna’s, Black-chinned, Calliope, Broad-tailed, Allen’s, White-eared, and Rufous hummingbirds
Southwestern United States: All 16 species
How do I attract hummingbirds?
best way to attract hummingbirds is by putting out a feeder with
nectar. Nectar is basically sugar water, and allows the hummingbirds to
maintain the energy levels they need to catch insects. There are also
many plants that you can add to your garden or yard to increase your
chances of attracting hummingbirds.
What type of hummingbird feeder do I need?
there are many types of feeders available, most fall into two
categories: bottle- type and dish-type. Bottle-type feeders are simply
a bottle turned upside down, which sends the nectar into a small dish
or tube. Bottle-type feeders come in all shapes and sizes, from a soda
bottle turned upside down to a colorful hand-blown glass works of art.
A dish-type feeder is basically a covered dish with feeding ports built
into the cover. While usually not as ornate as some bottle-type
feeders, dish-type feeders can typically feed more birds at one time
and seldom have any issues with dripping. Dish-type feeders often have
other useful features, such as nectar guards and insect moats built
into the design. These features can prevent or discourage bees, wasp,
ants, and other insects from using the feeder.
What size hummingbird feeder do I need?
The optimal size of the feeder depends on how many hummingbirds you attract. Most feeders hold between 10 to 20 ounces of nectar, which may be enough to meet your needs. Remember that nectar needs to be changed every 3 to 4 days, depending on the outside temperature. If the birds are emptying the feeder in 2 days or less, you may want to use a larger feeder or add another smaller feeder.
Where should I place my hummingbird feeder?
is best to place feeders out in the open, preferably near flowering
plants. It is possible to gradually move a feeder once the hummingbirds
have found it. It is best to place the feeders out of the sun or wind
to protect the hummingbirds and preserve the feeder and nectar.
When should I put out my hummingbird feeder?
Northeastern and Central United States and
Canada: April or May
Southeastern United States: January or February
Western United States: April
Southwestern United States: All year
Should I clean my hummingbird feeder?
feeders should be cleaned each time the nectar is changed. The nectar
should be changed every 3 to 4 days or if the nectar is cloudy, moldy
of if contaminated by insects or dirt. Hummingbirds are extremely
sensitive to the quality of the nectar. They will seek out a new source
and possibly not return if they find sour, moldy, or dirty nectar in
How often should I replace the nectar?
3 to 4 days depending on the outside temperature or if contaminated by
insects or dirt. The higher the temperature, the more quickly nectar
Should I buy nectar mix or make my own nectar?
method works fine, though it is recommended to avoid mixes with dyes or
food coloring. It is often more cost effective to make you own, and it
is quite easy. All you need to do is add 1 part table sugar to 4 parts
boiling water. Allow the mixture to cool before filling the feeder and
refrigerate any unused portion for up to two weeks.
Should I add red food coloring to my nectar?
is recommended to avoid using any type of food coloring. It can be
potentially harmful to hummingbirds, as they consume a huge quantity of
nectar every day. The color red does attract hummingbirds, however, it
is better to choose a feeder that is red or contains red rather than
using colored nectar.
I put out a hummingbird feeder, but still do not have any hummingbirds. What can I do?
are extremely selective when it comes to feeders, however, there can be
a variety of factors determining their aversion to your feeder. It may
be as simple as you may live in an area that doesn’t attract
hummingbirds because of a lack of the flowers, shrubs or trees they
prefer. Conversely, you may live in an area that has too many flowers,
shrubs, or trees that they like and are happy where they are currently
feeding. Another major factor can be your nectar. If you are leaving
nectar out too long, it has probably soured and the hummingbirds have
moved to a different location. Clean you feeder thoroughly, replace the
nectar, and then move it to a new location. Also, if you have just put
out a hummingbird feeder, it may take one or more seasons for the birds
to discover your feeder.
How do I keep bees/ants/other insects away from my feeder?
is very difficult to keep insects, especially flying insects, away from
hummingbird feeders. Some feeders have built-in nectar guards that
prevent the insect from getting access to the nectar by using a
flexible membrane that only the hummingbirds are able to bypass. To
deter ants, you may want to purchase a feeder with a built-in “ant
cup”, which can be filled with water and prevents the ants from
reaching the feeding ports. For other feeders, ant cups can be
purchased separately and work in the same manner.
How do I keep my hummingbird feeder from dripping?
you are using a bottle feeder with a tube, it is important that you
fill the bottle completely full when refilling. If only filled
partially, it will not be able to create the vacuum that prevents the
nectar from dripping out of the tube.
What else do hummingbirds eat?
Nectar only provides the hummingbirds the energy they need to catch
insects, which provide them with the nourishment they need to survive.
Will feeding hummingbirds stop them from migrating?
people believe that if they feed the hummingbirds, it will keep them
from migrating. Migration is instinctive to hummingbirds, and is not
determined by the availability of nectar in the area. In fact, most
hummingbirds start their migration when there is ample nectar
When do hummingbirds migrate?
Most hummingbirds will start their southward migration as early as mid-July, though most will leave between late August and late September. Many people will leave their feeders out through late fall and early winter, as they may have many visitors that will stop by their feeders to refuel before continuing their journey. If you live in an area that stays warm year-round, such as the Southwestern U.S., the hummingbirds may not migrate at all.
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