When Do You Put Hummingbird Feeders Out?

How Do Your Know When to Put the Hummingbird Feeders Out?

Western Emerald Hummingbird on Flower Humming birds are such beautiful creatures with their iridescent feathers in all colors of the rainbow, delicate beaks and marvelous bodies coupled with unique flying abilities.

  • These wonderful birds also symbolize love, joy and beauty as well as speed.
  • It’s no wonder then that we love to attract hummingbirds to our yards with the use of especially-designed feeders.

How do you know when to put the humming bird feeders out?

  • You have so many choices in hummingbird feeders from those made from plastic, glass and ceramics to those with and without perches.

Annas Hummingbird Male Picture

How to Choose Feeders

You have so many choices in hummingbird feeders from those made from plastic, glass and ceramics to those with and without perches.

  • These feeders usually come in red because it is the most attractive color where the hummingbirds are concerned.

The important question then is: 

What hummingbird feeder is the best?

Your main criteria should be easy installation, easy maintenance and durability on your part as well as ease of access on the hummingbirds’ part.

Think of it this way:

  • You want a hummingbird feeder that you can easily clean so that you are more likely to maintain it, which is important in this hobby.
  • You also want the hummingbirds to have an easy time at drinking the syrup so that they will come back again and again.
  • In this regard, most experts recommend the basin type feeder over the inverted bottle type.
  • Yet another recommendation is to go with the feeder with perches to give the hummingbirds a rest from hovering over the feeder.

What to Put in Feeders

Hummingbirds on the Bottle FeederThe next step is to determine the syrup that will be placed inside the feeders.

  • Honey, artificial sweeteners and many types of sugar like brown and turbinado should never be used to make the sweet syrup that hummingbirds love simply, because these can be dangerous to their health.
  • Honey can spoil rapidly, powdered sugars ferment prematurely and brown sugar contains potentially dangerous iron.

The best sweetener is white granulated sugar with a ratio of 1 cup to 4 cups of water.

  • Be sure to boil and then cool down the mixture before pouring into the feeder.
  • Boiling prevents the rapid growth of bacteria and yeast.
  • Red food dye is unnecessary, not to mention potentially dangerous, so don’t put it into the mixture.
  • Besides, the hummingbird feeder is already in red, which is sufficient in itself to attract these wonderful birds.

 Hummingbird Season in Flight

When to Put Up Feeders

Blue Sky Hummingbird Flying on Yellow Flower GardenMost species of hummingbirds migrate in search of warmer weather.

In North America, the actual month when the hummingbird migration starts depend on the location.

  • For example, most humming birds can be seen as early as January in Florida while the Upper Great Lakes area enjoys the spectacle in early May only.
  • With that being said, the best time to put up the feeders is 5 to 10 days before the average day of the hummingbirds’ arrival.
  • Ask local concerned local authorities about this matter so that you can be ready to put up the feeders in time for the migration.

There’s an urban myth going around that hummingbirds will stay for as long as the feeders are up and filled with sweet syrup.

  • This is completely false!
  • As migratory birds, hummingbirds will leave a certain locale to search for warm weather so whether you take down or continue putting up the feeders is of no consequence on Mother Nature’s plan.
  • However, hummingbirds have different migratory times based on their age and sex.
  • Males usually migrate several weeks ahead of the females and the new hatchlings.
  • As such, you can help those left behind by putting up the feeders for at least 2 weeks after you have seen the last hummingbird in your garden. Mother Nature can definitely appreciate the boost.

Wounded Hummingbird Being Hand-Fed Rescued with Sugar WaterWhile the feeders are up, you must perform simple maintenance measures to keep these red thingamajigs safe for the hummingbirds’ use.

  • When black spots and other stains are seen on the feeders, be sure to brush these with a good bottle brush and a mild detergent.
  • Then, rinse the feeders with hot water to kill any remaining germs, bacteria and yeasts.

If a good bottle brush cannot remove the spots and stains, add sand and water inside the feeder before vigorously shaking it.

  • Rinse with hot water again.

The sweet syrup must also be changed every 3 to 4 days.

  • In hotter weather, change it every 2 days since bacteria and yeast tend to develop faster under hot temperatures.
  • When filling the feeder, just fill it a bit past the halfway mark since the flying hummingbirds will be able to finish the syrup in time for the feeder’s cleaning.

 Rufous Hummingbird Male Hummingbirds

Where to Put Up Feeders

The best place to hang feeders is in shady spots since the sugar-water mixture is less likely to spoil in a cooler place.

Plus, flying insects that also feed on the homemade nectar prefer to feed in full sunlight, thus, hanging the feeders in shady spots makes them less attractive.

  • Placing the feeders near glass windows is also a great idea but make sure that there is sufficient space between the two things – a 2-feet space is okay.
  • Feeders should also be kept at least 6 feet off the ground, which will significantly lessen the risks of housecats preying on the hummingbirds.
  • Most feeders are placed hanging on trees, which adds to the natural effect of seeing hummingbirds in action.
  • To protect against ants coming up, use fishing lines to hang the feeders since these lines are too thin for even ants to climb up.

How to Attract Hummingbirds

When Do Hummingbird Feeders Go Out Now, if the feeders are up and yet you still fail to see hummingbirds coming in to feed even when the weather conditions are perfect, you can try these tips:

  1. Put the feeders out of sight of the others. Humming birds are very territorial creatures so hanging the feeders in different places tends to attract more birds to your yard.
  2. Place a basket of flowers that attract hummingbirds. Better yet, plant these flowers and shrubs near the area where the feeders are located so that you have the benefit of a colorful garden, too.
  3. Hummingbirds are especially attracted to cardinal flowers, columbine, coral bells, hollyhocks, petunias, geraniums and begonias as well as azaleas, butterfly bushes and honeysuckles.

Indeed, enjoying the sight of beautiful hummingbirds feeding on your homemade sweet nectar is one of life’s greatest joys.

  • Get into the hobby now!

Garden Facts of the Day: Extraordinary Hummingbird Facts

Did you know this about hummingbirds?!

  1. Hummingbirds fly forwards, backwards, shift sideways, and can stop in mid air.
  2. Average hummingbirds will consume a shocking half of it’s weight in nectar everyday.
  3. The worlds smallest bird is the hummingbird.
  4. Hummingbirds are so fast that they can get up to speeds of 60 miles per hour.
  5. Every second the hummingbird flaps his wings a total of 78 times per second and this is in regular flight patterns.
  6. When it does a dive, it will beat it’s wings a maximum of 2,000 times during the fall.
  7. In South America, they found a rare hummingbird that could beat it’s wings at 90 beats per second, which smashed the world record.
  8. Hummingbirds have no small senses, instead they will find their food with it’s eyesight.
  9. Hummingbirds eggs are the size of a pea.
  10. Hummingbirds hearts on average beat 1,260 times each minute. In Cuba, there is a adult male “bee Hummingbird” which is a marvelous 2.24 inches in length, and he weights just 0.056 ounces.



Garden Joke of the Day: Hummingbird Jokes

“Every day, the hummingbird eats its own weight in food. You may wonder how it weighs the food. It doesn’t. It just eats another hummingbird.”


Related Articles: Hummingbird Tutorials and Resources

  1. Hummingbird Spring Arrival Dates(http://www.birds-n-garden.com/) – Stop wondering when they will be there and know for sure, so that you can be prepared!
  2. Common Hummingbird Facts and Questions(http://www.worldofhummingbirds.com/) – Here are some answers to some Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about hummingbirds.
  3. Hummingbird Troubleshooting – (http://www.hummingbirds.net/) – Learn from others mistakes, sometimes the hummingbirds don’t go to your feeder, that’s because there is something out of place. Find out what that is.
  4. Year Round Seasons of Hummingbirds(http://dkimmell.myweb.uga.edu/) – Find out what the humming birds are doing in every season.
  5. Hummingbird Season Tips(http://weblogs.baltimoresun.com/) – Tips to teach beginners and intermediate wildlife gardeners what attracts them, what keeps them away, and the scientific reasons behind their behavior.
  6. Hummingbird Feeder Problem Solutions(http://www.humming-birds.com/problems.html) – Find many of the most popular questions and problems that hummingbird enthusiasts are having, don’t let that be you!

Recommended Hummingbird Books :


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