Questions and Answers about Hummingbirds


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Q: How do I make nectar to put in my hummingbird feeder?
A: You can make your own nectar by dissolving 1 part ordinary white table sugar in 4 parts water.  Please do not use other ingredients or food coloring, and NEVER use honey it could be harmful to the birds.  This table sugar solution is similar to the nectar naturally occurring in the flowers.  Store your extra nectar in the refrigerator until needed for up to 2-3 weeks.
Q: How often should I clean my feeders?
A: You should flush out your feeders with hot water once a week, and if it is very hot outside you may want to clean them twice a week.  Do not use any soap or cleaner on your feeders just hot water.  You can use a bottle brush to scrub the inside if it is needed.  Then every month or if you see the feeder getting black with mold and mildew soak your feeder in a bleach solution for about an hour.  The bleach solution should be a 1/4 cup of bleach to a gallon of water.  Once the feeder has soaked for an hour rinse in clean water and use a bottle brush if needed to get the stubborn black stuff off.  Then they are ready to fill with fresh nectar.
Q:  How do I keep ants out of my feeders?
A:  One of the best ways is to hang your feeder from an ant trap.  An ant trap is a little cup that collects water from the rain or you can fill them.  Once they have water in them the ants will not be able to get to the feeder as long as there is water in the cup.  Ant traps have a side benefit of providing other birds a place to get a drink of water!  Ant traps are usually sold where you buy hummingbird feeders.
Q:  When should I put up and take down my feeders?
A:  In Georgia, we recommend that you keep at least one feeder out all year long.  Contrary to popular belief, you will not keep the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds from migrating in the fall by leaving your feeders out.  Their schedule is determined like most birds by the length of the day.  As the days get shorter in the fall, they know when they need to leave for their wintering grounds.  By leaving your feeder out all year, you may get one of the rare wintering hummingbirds to spend the fall and winter in your yard.  If you do, please let us know!  You can report your special hummer on our Reporting Your Hummers web page.  We would like to know about any hummingbirds at your feeders from November 1st to March 1st.
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