BACKYARD HUMMINGBIRD FEEDING INFO
1. HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER LESSON
Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
1 cup Pure Cane Sugar**
4 cups Boiling Water
Directions: Heat 4 cups water to just Male Anna Hummingbird
boiling and add 1 cup of Pure Cane Sugar.
Stir, then place in refrigerator until cool
(several hours or overnight).
Fill hummingbird feeder halfway and hang outside. The remaining nectar can be refrigerated for several weeks.
Choose a feeder for optimum cleanliness and function:
1 – Glass over plastic
2 – One with a wide circular opening to easily insert a brush for thorough cleaning
3 – Simple to take apart, to reach every nook and cranny
4 – A feeder with a stand in front of each feeding port is preferred, so hummingbirds can sit and rest while feeding, as shown below.
Below are a few examples of good hummingbird feeders.
Has bee guards
Cleaning instructions for all birdfeeders:
About once a week, soak in hot soapy water which include Dove dishwasher detergent and a dash of white vinegar and/or bleach. Scrub all parts well, especially the inside. Watch for signs of mold – black dots.
**DO NOT use honey, agave syrup, brown sugar, molasses or artificial sweeteners. Use only Pure Cane Sugar. Also, do not use ready-made nectar available in stores, as they contain preservatives and/or red dye, neither of which is good for the hummingbirds.
Change and clean all your outdoor feeders once a week in mild weather and more often in hot weather. Keep nectar out of direct sunlight as much as possible.
1 – A bird feeder baffleto place above or below to protect feeder from sun, squirrels and other critters is a good idea.
The best baffle we've found for value and size is sold at Tractor Supply Co.
2 – We recommend that you use an ant moat to hang above each hummingbird feeder. This will keep away ants, who are strongly attracted to that sweet sugar-water combination. You can search for these online. I like these attractive ones shown on the right which I found on Ebay by googling hummingbird feeder ant moats. Every few days, visit your feeders to make sure the ant moats are filled with adequate water.
Has preservatives/ Store-bought Ant Moat Ebay Ant Moat
Dangerous for Birds
Hummingbird feeders in my backyard
Under tree shade small umbrella roof cover
You're interested in feeding wild birds in your backyard besides hummingbirds. What do you get?
INEXPENSIVE COMMON BIRD FEEDERS
(use these feeders for black-oil-sunflower-seeds, wild finch seeds and sunflower-hearts and chips)
This type of circular birdfeeder are found any place where wild bird seed is sold. Make sure to get one that is easy to fill and easy to take apart for cleaning.
Squirrel Proof Feeder
PLATFORM FEEDERS: There are many types of platform bird feeders. These are ideal, since many birds are too big stand on the feeders shown above.
For Multiple feeders Large Umbrella to protect fromelements
Always add a bird bath for your feathery friends,
preferably with moving water
WHERE TO BUY AND WHICH SEEDS TO CHOOSE?
In the Inland Empire, the stores we recommend for purchasing good quality feeders and wildbird seed are: Walmart, Lowes, and Tractor Supply Co.
For example, the Tractor Supply Co which has an excellent assortment of quality birdseed at good prices, as shown below.
Lowes selection shown below also has an excellent selection of quality birdseed at good prices.
You need to choose seed which attracts local birds, such as, Purple Finch and House Finch, Gold Finch, Mourning Dove, Tricolored Blackbird and multiple Sparrow Species.
Above, birdseed offered by local Walmart stores have excellent pricing and good selection.
If you are going to have one feeder, a good choice would be:
(1) Nat'l Audubon Society's Songbird Blend found at Lowe's
(2) Sunflower hearts/chips or
(3) Wild Finch Blend or
(4) Black-oil Sunflower Seeds.
The problem with choosing only Black-oil Sunflower seeds is it will attract only those birds which have a thicker stronger bill that can open these seeds, such as House Finches.
Male and Female House Finch
(with thick beak)
Click below to see an excellent video on birdfeeding tips
If you're interested in adding another feeder, try purchasing a feeder specifically designed for Nyjer Seeds, (also known as Thistle Seed) which will attract the American or Lesser Goldfinches, small bright yellow and black birds who are highly attracted to this seed. You can purchase this seed in large bags or in a 'sock' already filled with this seed.
Nyjer (Thistle) Seeds and Sunflower Seeds
Avoid the cheapest bird seed packages that will include mostly milo seeds which give the appearance of much darker seeds that the quality light-colored birdseed.
POOR QUALITY BIRDSEED GOOD QUALITY BIRDSEED
WITH DARK MILO SEEDS INCLUDED (NO MILO SEEDS)
Here's a setup with multiple feeders
1st Platform feeder - wild finch seeds (on left side back)
2nd Platform feeder - Sunflower hearts and chips
Large Open reddish feeder- Black-Oil sunflower seeds
Slender tall yellow Thistle (Nyger) seed feeder
MAINTENANCE OF BIRDFEEDERS AND SEED
As with all birdfeeders, be sure to keep them clean as discussed with the hummingbird feeders above - by soaking them in dishwasher detergent with a dash of white vinegar and/or bleach in hot water. Scrub to remove any debris or mold. Keep the seed in a cool dry place, and watch for mold.
Be sure to use a Baffle or Umbrella over all your birdfeeders to protect from inclement weather.
LOCAL BIRDING TIPS
The Audubon Society has information for beginner birders. Click on:
https://www.audubon.org/birding/how-to-start-birding offers suggestions on binoculars, best bird apps and suggested bird guides, and more.
Also, check out the Joy of Birds on the Audubon website, https://www.audubon.org/joy-of-birds which Audubon created to help get us through this pandemic. You will find photographs of mating rituals, bird ID, photography tips, bird nursery photos, and bird sounds. Use these stories and videos to get excited about birding in your backyard.
Nicholas Lund’s writes “How to Begin Birding” and talks about binoculars or other optical gear you will need.
Field guides – You can purchase a fold out waterproof double-sided ‘Backyard Birds of Southern California’ by David Allen Sibley which covers 73 land birds by sending a check made out to Sierra Club SMG for $10.00 to:
Caren Hanson, 28474 Boardwalk Court, Menifee CA 92585.
We also recommended you purchase any number of field guide of birds of the western United States available on the internet.
Suggested bird guides.
APPS FOR YOUR CELL PHONE THAT CAN HELP YOU
The eBird AP allows you to upload and keep track of your sightings, photos and sounds. You’ll also be contributing to a big citizen science project and have a chance to see what people in other parts of the world are doing. Big time birders rack up 5,000 to 6,000 species.
The Smart Bird ID AP, which records and identifies the songs of birds which helps take the mystery out of bird calls.
Audubon Birds of California help you find ‘hot spots’ and sighting alerts from birders within a 30-mile radius.
Merlin Bird ID from Cornell Lab helps you identify a bird you’ve sighted by answering five simple questions about it – size, coloring, etc.