This summer I bought a colorful hummingbird feeder at a home decor store after lunch. It was an after thought. I knew we had hummingbirds in our front yard because we’d see and hear them every time we walked the dogs. They mostly stayed near the pine tree for the bugs that the sap would attract, the honeysuckle, the hollies and bamboo. I hung the feeder off the back of the deck and checked the Nest security camera to see if any birds found it. Boy did they ever! It was non-stop feeding on it. Naturally I bought another feeder. The traffic increased until I had 17 feeders across our 2/3 acre. They would also fly under the gazebo on the deck to look into the kitchen and see what we were doing. They’d sit on the bamboo outside of the sunroom to look inside. They are very curious individuals.
There are a few formulas to try to estimate how many hummingbirds are at your address. One says that for every 1 hummingbird you see, there are 4 others living there that you do not see. Another says it is 6 staying there for every 1 that you see. Another says that each hummingbird will drink 2 oz of nectar from the feeders daily. I did the math one day based on the capacity for each feeder and the very small amount that I was dumping out every other day. Apparently we had 32 hummingbirds! Did you know that feeding hummingbirds takes as much commitment as adopting a new puppy? It truly does. The reason is that you can only mix a specific sugar with water in a specific ratio with no additives and no substitutions to make the nectar that is a portion of their diet. No honey, no agave, not organic. Absolutely no red food dye. You also must clean the feeders very frequently based on how hot it gets in your area. That meant daily or every other day here. When the feeder looks cloudy, you must dump the nectar out immediately and clean with either a bleach solution or vinegar solution. 1 part bleach to 10 parts water or 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, scrub with a brush and rinse in warm or hot water. You can find all kinds of hummingbird feeder cleaning brushes at your local garden center or online. I’ll do a whole post about it soon, and re-post again before they migrate here in April.