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Thread: Hummingbird feeder tips

  1. #1
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    Hummingbird feeder tips

    We have had a hummingbird feeder for years. Have to refill it about once a week. Every one says you have to warm the water sugar mix for it to dissolve. I have found I just stir it a few times and leave it overnight to dissolve at room temperature.
    I have switched to morena sugar for two reasons. Slightly cheaper and I can see the level from across the yard since it is not water clear. I think brown sugar would cost more and not sure if they would like the taste or not. You are not supposed to add food color so it is hard to judge the level from a distance..
    Bill D

  2. #2
    The favorite of our Virginia “bumming hirds” is wild growing “jewel weed” . It might have more than one colloquial name ,and I don’t
    remember the botanical name.

  3. #3
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    Takes about two days to empty our feeders. I use the microwave to heat up the water to make sugar dissolve.

  4. #4
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    I just use hot water out of the tap. 10 seconds or so of stirring and it's dissolved. Ants are my biggest problem. My feeders have a moat that's filled with water to stop them but in less than a day it's full of dead ants so now the others can just walk across them.

  5. #5
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    We had trouble with ants getting in ours. Went to Amazon and found “hummingbird feeder moat”. Put in some mineral oil and problem solved.
    Steve Jenkins, McKinney, TX. 469 742-9694
    Always use the word "impossible" with extreme caution

  6. #6
    Sugar and water brought to a boil kills anything that would want to grow.
    The food coloring is a myth to remove money from consumers pockets.
    I have been feeding the little ones at my house for the past 8 years winter and summer, they don't mind the clear nectar.
    img_0665.jpg

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Weber View Post
    Sugar and water brought to a boil kills anything that would want to grow.
    The food coloring is a myth to remove money from consumers pockets.
    I have been feeding the little ones at my house for the past 8 years winter and summer, they don't mind the clear nectar.
    img_0665.jpg
    I agree with the boiling and the food coloring, although I generally add one drop of blue food coloring so I can see the levels from the house (three feeders here)

    After seeing what accumulates in the bottom of a water heater I don't use water from it except for washing.

    I also use the feeders with "ant moats", found at Home Depot.

    I found it better to keep the feeders out of direct sun.

    Another thing I do is put the feeders far apart, on the other sides of the house. This prevents one aggressive humming bird from hanging out close and chasing the other away.

    JKJ

  8. #8
    They are territorial little things. They will swoop on in if they think their area is threatened.

  9. #9
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    Lots of good advice here...I'm an avid birder and have been feeding hummingbirds for years.

    Don't use the food coloring in your nectar mix. There's no research about the dye's affect on hummingbirds, so scientifically I can't say that it harms the birds (and the suppliers aren't lying when they say that there's no proof that it hurts birds either...there's no science either way). However, the WHO recommends that people consume no more than 0.007mg/g of body weight of food coloring on a daily basis. A hummingbird that feeds only at a food-colored feeder will ingest 0.12mg/g of body weight from eating at the feeder. That's 17 times the concentration deemed allowable for people. Further, there are studies showing DNA damage in mice that consumed 0.01mg/g of body weight of food coloring.

    Just mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts tap water and dissolve the sugar however you like. I mix mine on the stove and the sugar dissolves within a minute.

    Keep your feeders clean. Refill and wash them out every week or two. Use a pipe cleaner to get that black gunk removed from the "flowers". It's mold and if a hummingbird consumes too much of it they can develop a condition where they suffocate.

    I highly recommend the flatter profile dish shaped feeders. They're much easier to clean. The bottle types hold more nectar but cleaning them is a pain, and you want to refill them more often anyway.

    If you have more feeders you'll attract more birds. But they're territorial little devils and a dominant male can chase others away from a single feeder. So put your feeders in a line, with 25-50 feet between the feeders. It makes it more difficult for a single bird to defend them all. If possible, put your feeders near shrubs or hedge where there's some perches and cover.

    The ant moats are critical and putting some oil in the water helps slow evaporation. I fill the moat with water and then put a teaspoon of mineral oil or olive oil on top.

  10. #10
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    I read an interesting fact. Each Hummingbird consumes 6,600-12,000 calories each day.

  11. #11
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    My wife has been taking care of the hummingbirds for years now,noone else nearby does it. She has 10 -12 feeders she puts out and maintains every year, all over the yard.
    She says we have over 100 hummingbirds and it is becoming harder each year to maintain the pace. Then there are the other birds she takes care of.
    Will give the mineral oil a try as the ants can be a real nuisance. The bees also die by the hundreds in the feeders, though the new feeders we get now seem to help with them not getting in.
    This is a great thread with good ideas.

  12. #12
    I use to put out feeders, but all of a sudden, every morning they would be empty, I was told it might be bats.
    I did not mind washing and filling them 3 times a week, but not daily if it was bats.
    Anyone heard of this or have any insights as to what might have been happening?
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  13. #13
    didnt read this and not up on the hummingbird thing but do photo them when I see them around.

    Its well known for years that sugar is total crap and feeds things like cancer. There are documentaries on it. One at least on coverups from the past when they knew how bad it was and it kept selling it. same as some drug companies where it was bad news and the law suits were less than the sales. '

    Is there not something better than sugar to give to hummingbirds? If its so bad for us I cant see it being great for them.

    You dont need to cook and make them dinner.

    But ive only heard negative stuff about sugar and cant see why it would be better for them than us

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy Pedler View Post
    ...the WHO recommends that people consume no more than 0.007mg/g of body weight of food coloring on a daily basis. A hummingbird that feeds only at a food-colored feeder will ingest 0.12mg/g of body weight from eating at the feeder. That's 17 times the concentration deemed allowable for people. Further, there are studies showing DNA damage in mice that consumed 0.01mg/g of body weight of food coloring.
    ...
    Some missing info in this statement.

    - Is the 0.007mg/g of body weight in humans based on ingestion of food coloring at 100% concentration (as if someone drank from the bottle?) If not, what is the concentration in the studies driving the WHO recommendation?
    - What is concentration in the hummingbird feed mix that results in ingestion of 0.12 mg/g of hummingbird body weight?

    It would be useful to have the reference source for this recommendation and read the studies.

    My quick search found this:
    "... there is quite a bit of controversy regarding the safety of artificial food dyes. All of the artificial dyes that are currently used in food have gone through testing for toxicity in animal studies.
    Regulatory agencies, like the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), have concluded that the dyes do not pose significant health risks."
    https://www.healthline.com/nutrition...OC_TITLE_HDR_2

    (Whatever "significant health risks" means.)

    JKJ

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by michael langman View Post
    My wife has been taking care of the hummingbirds for years now,noone else nearby does it. She has 10 -12 feeders she puts out and maintains every year, all over the yard.
    She says we have over 100 hummingbirds and it is becoming harder each year to maintain the pace.
    That's amazing, I only see maybe 2-3 all season at my place in Northern Catskills. Have tried feeders but they only seem to attract bees from the neighbour's hives and the occasional bear.

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