To make sure I wasn't rushing things, I turned to a very helpful online hummingbird migration map that shows sightings of the beloved and easily-recognized ruby-throated hummingbird. Sure enough, there are three sightings already mapped in our state this year with one not very far south of us. I would be so thrilled to have a dot on the map to represent a sighting that we make in our own yard! I fully believe that could happen over the coming week with the predicted calm weather pattern and high temperatures in the 80s and lows well above freezing. But first, I need to make a batch of hummingbird food and get a feeder filled.
Recipe for Hummingbird Food
I use a simple recipe of four parts water and one part sugar to offer to our birds. No color, no additives, just clean measuring cups and one of the pitchers that I dedicate to hummingbird food every summer.
Just boil the water, measure out 1/4 cup of sugar into the pitcher for each cup of water that you plan on using, then stir the hot water into the sugar until it's fully dissolved. During the summer when I make a large quantity at a time, I add just enough of the boiling water to dissolve the sugar then finish adding the proper amount of cool water so the mixture will cool down faster.
Fill your clean hummingbird feeders and put them out for the birds, then refrigerate the leftovers for up to a couple of weeks. If you have an active population of birds, you may need to refill the feeders daily.
Keeping Hummingbird Feeders Clean
When choosing a hummingbird feeder, consider what it will take to keep the feeder clean. My favorite feeders have wide openings and come apart and go back together easily. In the past I've chosen cute feeders with small openings that are almost too small to insert or maneuver a brush. I like to scrub my feeders really well so the birds will stay healthy, including scrubbing the inside, and that task is made nearly impossible with some designs.
The red feeder in the pictures here is the feeder that I use and prefer. It holds a good amount of food (32 ounces) and the bottom screws off and comes apart easily for easy cleaning access. It's not expensive and not fancy, but it gets the job done and keeps the birds well fed and happy. I see that this year's version of the feeder comes with a squared-off container that looks like it will be very easy to grip and still easy to clean. Likely I'll be ordering yet another feeder soon.
I'm really looking forward to our ruby-throated winged visitors. I'll be back, hopefully soon, to let you know they've arrived. UPDATE: The hummingbirds are back! Official arrival date at our house, April 8, 2017.
So tell me, is it time to feed the hummingbirds where you live? Do you enjoy watching and feeding birds? I'd love to read your comments, below.