My girlfriend Jan wrote on Facebook yesterday that she is seeing her first hummingbirds of the season at her ranch in Texas. Let the migration to Colorado begin! As I noted in a previous blog, April 15th is when we can expect the little guys here in the high country. The good news is that no matter where you live in the US the means to attract hummingbirds remains the same!
Here’s the refresher on the nectar that seems to work the best from all I’ve read and seen in my own yard:
1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Boil and cool before filling the feeders. It’s a good idea to change the out the nectar about every 3-4 days (if it lasts that long) before bacteria sets in. Once bacteria sets in the birds are less likely to want to feed at your buffet! Skip the red agents in the nectar – birds don’t need it and as long as you have a red feeder you should be attracting plenty! Now, if you like, you can start off with a 1:3 ratio, which is what we do. Those little guys get pretty tired on their long journey here!
Aside from the food, of course, hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. All kinds of things work. If your current feeder is not mostly red, try tying red ribbon to it. Hang a red cloth near the feeder. You can also put the feeder among red flowers once they bloom. Some of the hummingbird species are aggressive and will push out the females and the babies. Try hanging a couple of feeders in the yard to make room for all to enjoy! Last year we noticed that the hummers sure enjoyed the sprinklers when they were on. Try putting your feeder near one.
Red and tube shaped flowers will also do a world of good to help attract hummingbirds. In my garden, penstemons are a hit! Bee Balm, Salvia, and ‘Luci’ Crocosmia were big last year, although there are lots of other local varieties that will to the trick.
Get your feeders out and get ready to enjoy the first arrivals of the season!