Garden Chick - Notes from the Garden

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Hummingbirds


















We have had the tube hummingbird feeder hanging off of our deck for several years , and have received many visits. It wasn't until I hung this butterfly feeder in the lantana on my deck, that we have really seen an increase in the visits. The butterfly feeder has several round indentions on the top that are supposed to hold fruit for butterflies, but I didn't want to mess with the flies and gnats I thought it would attract. Both hummingbirds and butterflies like the yellow lantana and we have seen several butterflies too, but the ruby throated male hummingbird and several femails make daily visits to the feeder. Hummingbird feeders should be taken up in October in my area when the hummingbirds migrate south.

You can make your own sugar solution for butterflies and hummingbirds. Mix four cups water with one cup of sugar. Boil the mixture for at least 30 seconds to discourage mold growth. (not in a microwave, it breaks down sugar molecules and may change the nutritional value. Let the solution cool before filling your feeder. Store any leftover solution in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
You do not need to add red food coloring. (the solution we purchased was red, but the decorations on the feeder should be enough to attract the birds.and butterflies.) You should not use honey, because it encourages fungal growth and could contain botulism organisms that can kill the hummingbirds. The solution should be changed every 4-5 days if placed in a sunny location, and once a week if in the shade. Every time you change the nectar you should thoroughly clean the container with hot water.

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