Migratory hummingbirds are beautiful creatures to observe. Native to the Americas, these small birds constitute the biological family Trochilidae. These bright-colored animals, with the male being more vibrant than the female, have long-slender bills. The name hummingbird comes from the rapid beating of their wings that makes a humming sound. Of the 320 types, only 12 are regularly found in the U.S. and Canada. These interesting birds are spectacular to watch as they can fly forward and backward, hover, and move up and down. They feed mainly on nectar, the sweet fluid made by flowers. To observe these remarkable birds in action, fill a hummingbird feeder with a nectar-like solution, following these seven tips:
1) Purchase a bright hummingbird feeder. Many feeders for sale are red in color to mimic the dazzling nectar-rich flowers which attract the birds.
2) Fill the feeder according to directions. Never put honey, red dye, or artificial sweeteners in your feeder solution. This can harm hummingbirds.
3) Hang your feeder securely on a tree or pole in an open space and safe environment away from the window (15 to 20 feet away) overlooking the yard with nearby cover for protection. Choose an area with sun and partial shade in the afternoon.
4) To attract them, it is helpful to plant flowers such as petunias nearby to draw hummingbirds to the area. Hummingbirds generally like red, orange, and pink colors.
5) Change the solution often, checking it every other day to make sure hummers have a fresh source of nectar. You can make your own solution using 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. The water should be boiled and cooled before going into the feeder. This helps to prevent fermentation.
6) If ants, bees, or wasps are a problem, buy specialty products that can prevent them from trying to get at the nectar or repels them, such as specialty screens or ant guards. Or DIY by lightly coating the top of the feeder with petroleum jelly or cooking oil, taking care not to get any into the Hummingbird’s food supply.
7) Regularly inspect the hummingbird feeder and clean it per manufacturer instructions.
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