TIP 2: Hummingbird feeders should be 10-15 feet from cover
Hummingbirds don’t like to stay out in the open when they’re not feeding. They’re all about conserving energy when they can. That’s why it’s best to place a feeder 10 to 15 feet from a tree, shrub or other appropriate hiding place.
Hummingbirds feed throughout the day, from dawn to dusk. About a half an hour before sunset, they find a place to roost for the night. Their high metabolisms require them to feed frequently throughout the day, but at night and in the cold, they are able to slow down that metabolism and consume less energy.
Best Places for Hummingbird Feeders
Hanging from a gutter, awning, or gazebo where the feeder sparkles but is still shaded during the hottest part of the day. Within 10 to 12 feet of a protective cover that provides shelter and perches to give hummingbirds an easy, safe place to rest.
Should I boil the water? No, the water for your nectar does not need to be boiled. Just be sure to stir or shake your mixture until the sugar is fully dissolved in the water.
April and May (Northern U.S.) Hummingbirds begin to reach their northern ranges in late April or early May. It is best if all birders have their hummingbird feeders cleaned, refilled, and ready for thirsty guests no later than the first week of May.
Placement of Feeders
A hummingbird feeder should be placed so it is easy to access for cleaning and filling. Hang the feeder approximately 5 feet above the ground, Make sure there is no foliage underneath that would encourage unwelcome guests, like mice, squirrels and even cats, to feed on the sugar water.
Hummingbirds are not coming to my feeder for 1 or more of the following 6 reasons: Unattractive hummingbird oasis, unable to locate the feeder, fermenting hummingbird nectar, bees on the feeder, seasonal migrants, presence of potential predators.
Hummingbirds need to drink sugar water. They can get it conveniently at your feeder, slowly at flowers, and not at all if a drought or a plant disease kills those flowers.
Do hummingbirds sleep in the same place each night? Yes. Hummingbirds tend to find a safe space they like to sleep in and return there each night until they migrate.
YES, YES, YES, you CAN set it on a flat surface. NO you DON’T HAVE TO HANG a hummingbird feeder. Yes, it is a good idea for the feeder to be red or have something red nearby that will initially attract hummers’ attention.
You may hang your hummingbird feeder from a shepherds hook in the middle of your lawn, to a tree branch, attach it to a window using a suction cup feeder, or hang it from the eaves.
The classic hummingbird nectar recipe is easy to make and can be adjusted slightly, but using grossly incorrect sugar-to-water proportions be problematic. Overly weak nectar may not attract hummingbirds, and overly strong nectar can ferment more quickly and clog feeders more easily.
A 3:1 hummingbird food recipe of 3 parts water to 1 part white sugar can be used especially during migration when a sweeter nectar solution will provide more calories to the hummingbirds at stopovers for fueling up during spring and fall migration.
Do not use any other sugar— not turbinado, brown sugar, etc. —and never use honey or artificial sweeten- ers. Spring water is best, but most tap water is OK; don’t use distilled water.
(We recommend at least three feeders per yard.) Several 8- or 16-ounce feeders are far better than one or two large ones. Don’t worry if Ruby-throated Hummingbirds spend a lot of time drinking artificial nectar; they also visit flowers for natural nectar and also catch small insects.
You must change your feeder’s nectar, even if it looks like it hasn’t lost a drop, on a regular basis. During hot weather, change it every two days. In milder weather, once a week is fine.
Hummingbirds recognize and remember people and have been known to fly about their heads to alert them to empty feeders or sugar water that has gone bad.
Provide Natural Food Sources
A hummingbird’s diet is made up of a variety of food sources. Nectar-producing flowers are a rich and popular option, and colorful blooms will attract many birds. Other hummingbird foods include tree sap, fruit juices, pollen, and insects, including spiders.
When feeding, hummingbirds prefer flowers whose nectar has been warmed naturally by the sun. This nectar usually has a slightly stronger scent, which will attract the birds and other pollinators. The other reason is that cold nectar can deplete their internal body temperature.
Hummingbirds often find a twig that’s sheltered from the wind to rest on for the night. Also, in winter, they can enter a deep sleep-like state known as torpor. This odd behavior usually happens on cold nights, but sometimes they go into a torpid state during the day.
Brightly-colored flowers that are tubular tend to produce the most nectar, and are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include perennials such as bee balms, columbines, daylilies, and lupines; biennials such as foxgloves and hollyhocks; and many annuals, including cleomes, impatiens, and petunias.
Experiments show that hummingbird feeders can be any color–the hummingbirds don’t show preference for one color feeder over another.
One approach is to have one or two “sacrificial” feeders, with perches that make it easy for orioles and other larger birds to drink sugar water. If you have other feeders with no perches, the hummingbirds can still hover at those to feed, ideally undisturbed by the larger birds.