Friday, July 13, 2012

Sweet Nectar of the Birds

This spring was a lesson in humility and patience as far as the hummingbirds are concerned. Our weather was really hot, really early. All the flowers were blooming 2-3 weeks ahead of schedule. I watched this hummingbird tracking website like a hawk. I told everyone I knew who had hummingbirds that they would be here two weeks earlier than our normal date of April 15th and encouraged my friends to put out their feeders (yes, I'm the  CBL of the neighborhood - Crazy Bird Lady).

On par with my predictions, the map showed that the first hummingbird was reported in my area on March 25th. But did I see one? Nope. Not in March... and not in April. Note: My kitchen sink looks out at the feeder same as my dinner table does. Its not like I just never look out there, I spend a good part of my day watching.

Then, as is always the case, I come home and Julian says, "Oh yeah, saw a hummingbird today." What?! Not. Fair.

It was another week or so after he saw the first one that I got my chance. They were waiting for the honeysuckle jungle on the edge of our yard to burst forth with life.

To make a long story longer... my boss, Bonnie, has several feeders, fuchsias, and a trumpet vine so she has more hummers than she can count. In casual conversation, she mentioned that she makes her hummingbird solution 1:1 sugar to water. What, What?? I've always heard to make it 1:4.

So I did a little research. Come to find out, hummingbirds LOVE 1:1 sugar water. Studies show that if a migrating hummer finds a 1:1 feeder right after its migration, it will stop and spend its whole summer in that place. The 1:4 ratio is more like the natural make up of flower nectar, so they tend to "graze" these feeders and move around as territory and temperature fluctuate.  To strike a good balance, I've started making mine 1:2.

Sweet Nectar of the Birds
1 cup almost boiling water
1/2 granulated sugar

Combine and stir until all sugar dissolves, leave on the counter to cool. No need to put any red color in it; unless you are my grandmother and you find it helps you see how much is left in the feeder when it is running low. Even then, don't over do it. :)

Make sure you put it in a clean feeder that is washed/rinsed between each fill up. There you go. Watching these gems is one of the cheapest, highest quality forms of entertainment I know!


  1. Thank you for the hummer website! I have yet to really get any at our feeders. I'm thinking the nectar is not sweet enough.

    Thank you for sharing at Rural Thursdays this week.

  2. I have only seen a few hummingbirds in my lifetime. Next year, I will give this a try and see if I can get some to visit my house!

  3. I found you through the hop, come over for a visit sometime. Your always Welcome, KathyB.