Hummingbirds, I Have Yummy Food Too…

Have you ever seen a Hummingbird up close…very close?  I hadn’t until a few years ago when we moved to our current home.  I then saw one briefly, maybe two or three times after my husband mentioned he had seen them, but only once did I get a fairly good look at one.  Little did I know that this brief encounter had sparked an interest that only later would be nurtured into an affinity for this tiny creature.

One day I was at my neighbor’s house and saw a charm of Hummingbirds hovering all around her various feeders.  The shear number of them made the experience even more memorable. 

HummingbirdsPhoto taken by, and courtesy of, Linda Ensley.

HummingbirdPhoto taken by, and courtesy of, Linda Ensley.

Probably two years ago I purchased my first Hummingbird feeders in the hopes of having my own Hummingbird feeding experience.  I filled the two feeders and placed one near the house under a bunch of trees and the other at the end of our yard near my shaded landscaped garden.

I was so excited to see the first Hummingbird and I waited for the masses to arrive.  Sadly, I only saw one or two birds, maybe three, at a time on a handful of occasions near my garden feeder.  At the end of the season I had to dump nearly all the food out.  It wasn’t quite the experience I had hoped for…  It was as though word had gotten out that my neighbor’s yard was the only place to be.  :)

I was taking care of my neighbor’s cats last year for a few days and noticed her feeders were empty.  I filled one or two of her feeders and, I kid you not, the next day the feeders were bone-dry!  I figured her feeders were cracked or broken and had leaked out all the food, but that was not the case at all.  She simply had so many Hummingbirds feeding from them and staying for such long periods of time that they completely emptied two feeders in a 24-hour period.  (She confirmed this later).

Shortly thereafter, I shared with her my experience and she graciously gave me some very helpful advice on how to attract Hummingbirds.  Apparently they prefer sunlight over shade to help keep their small bodies warm, and they’re attracted to the color red (most feeders you’ll find, as well as the food for the feeders, is red).  My food was red, so sunlight was the missing puzzle piece. 

I found a VERY small area of my yard near the house that had a fare amount of sunlight, which is not easy to find when you live in the thick of the woods.  I placed one of my two feeders in this prime location, and near the second feeder in the shade I hung a red umbrella (courtesy and idea of my neighbor).  (I only used the umbrella for a few days because it kept getting filled with rainwater.)  It wasn’t long before I had a small gathering of Hummingbirds feeding at my sunlit feeder!  I was tickled!  I even had to refill the feeder numerous times, which was a DELIGHTFUL nuisance!  And I never would have believed my husband if I had not seen it myself…the Hummingbirds are literally the size of a man’s thumb…maybe smaller.

I hope to put two or three feeders in this same location this year when the weather warms up, in the hopeful expectation of attracting a few more Hummingbirds than last year.  I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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6 comments to Hummingbirds, I Have Yummy Food Too…

  • Heather

    Thank you! I love hummingbirds on the RARE times I’ve seen them. I, too had to throw out my gross hummingbird food at the end of last season. Mine was in the sun, I thought, but I will be much more intentional about it this year. I think I’ll hang the feeder from a shepherd’s hook in the middle of my yard.

  • Heather

    Oh, and I didn’t know they got that small!! Strange note…A friend told me that she once saw a praying mantis eat a hummingbird.

  • Janell Knarr

    I had always heard they liked the color red, but then I started hearing that is was a myth. I can’t wait to get my hummingbird feeders out this year so the kids can watch them. Also, they are a lot less messier than regular birds, if you know what I mean.

    • Holly

      Heather – I know, I never thought I would enjoy watching birds as much as I did with those Hummingbirds. I mean…come on, watching birds is something you do when you retire ;). And to try and imagine a praying mantis eating a Hummingbird – wow!

      Janell – Watching the “hummers” sounds like a really neat activity to do with the kids, and yes, I know exactly what you mean. ;)

  • Jennifer

    I have my feeder on a suction cup right on the window in our dining room. The hummingbirds aren’t shy at all and we can stand really close and watch them. They are fascinating. I have found that I don’t need to color the solution to attract them anymore. Now if I could just figure out how to keep the ants off of it. Ideas?

    • Holly

      Jennifer – I’ve not [yet] had problems with ants; bees on the other hand… As far as your ants, I’ve scanned the internet and have some possible solutions.

      Thrifty Fun – A number of readers have offered solutions ranging from cooking spray to Bounce dryer sheets to Vaseline (and more). Read some of their explanations and see if that helps.
      Bird Watching-Bliss – This site also suggests Vaseline or cooking spray. Check out their site for more information. [You'll need to scroll about 4/5th the way down the page.]
      How to Enjoy Hummingbirds – They describe a very interesting ant mote and how to make one. One of the readers commented that he/she uses double-sided tape. (I’m seeing ant motes a lot as a solution to this ant problem.)

      Hopefully one of these sites will have a solution that’s a winner for your suction cup type of hummingbird feeder.

      Also, if you read solutions that involve applying something (cooking spray, Vaseline, double-sided tape, etc.) to a wire or shepherd’s hook that don’t apply to the suction cup feeding method, you could always try to apply the spray, Vaseline, or whatever else is suggested to your window seal or on the base of your siding. If your siding is of a course nature (i.e. brick, stone, rough wood) you might read up on solutions like the double-sided tape or the ant motes.

      Hope that helps! I learned something too!

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