Seriously, who wouldn’t want hummingbirds flitting about their yard? These lightning-quick, Golden Snitch–like creatures are adorably tiny (the average size is 4 inches) and amazing to watch as they hover, dive, and even fly in reverse, all with wings so blurringly fast, they're practically invisible. Fortunately, it’s super easy to attract them. You just have to get a good feeder and put out their favorite food.
What to feed hummingbirds
Hummingbirds aren’t finicky. They get most of their energy from flower nectar, so all you have to do is make an easy sugar syrup: Boil 1 ounce of sugar with 4 ounces of water, to kill any bacteria. Let it cool completely to room temperature. Note: Do not use honey, as it can very easily grow bacteria and fungus when it’s mixed with water. Stick with table sugar!
What kind of feeder to use
According to the National Audubon Society, hummingbirds find red flowers irresistible, so that’s why most feeders are red or have red flower appendages. Interestingly, yellow flowers can also attract bees, so unless you want those extra visitors, you should probably avoid that color.
Despite being so delicate-looking, hummingbirds are fiercely territorial, so the Cornell Lab of Ornithology recommends putting out multiple feeders if you want to attract more than one bird; each feeder should have fewer than five flower wells instead of six or more. Otherwise, fights could break out!
Why it's worth buying an ant moat
Hummingbirds aren’t the only ones with a sweet tooth. Ants can swarm a feeder, so you might want to buy an ant moat. Basically, you attach it to the top of the feeder and fill it with water. Ants find it difficult to swim, so they’re less likely to get past the moat to the feeder. Alternatively, you could use a long piece of fishing wire to hang the feeder, since ants tend to slip and fall off of it.
How to keep the hummingbirds coming back
Be sure to change the sugar syrup frequently, at least a few times a week, or whenever it begins to look cloudy. Wash the feeder weekly with a solution of hot water and vinegar. Be sure to rinse at least three times, again with hot water. Tip: Squat tray feeders are generally easier to clean than tall column ones.
And that’s it! Hang it up, and the next time you see something tiny flying outside your window, congratulate yourself on your hummingbird-summoning skills.
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