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Here in Maryland, the temperature has been jumping around: winter, spring and summer taking turns all in a week or two. But today I took the plunge and put away my birdbath heaters and put up one of my hummingbird feeders. If you are ready to feed hummers, here are some hummingbird feeder tips to get you started.
When to Put Up a Hummingbird Feeder
How do you know when to put up your feeder? You can wait for the first hummingbird to arrive in your yard and then put it up, but they are tiny birds and easy to miss. So how do you decide? There are several easy ways:
- Put your feeder up the same time you saw your first hummingbird last year or maybe just a little before.
- Or check with bird watching friends in your area to ask when they put their feeder up.
- Or check eBird listings to see if they’ve been sighted near you.
- Or check the Journey North website to see this year’s migration.
I use three hummingbird feeders in my Maryland yard but each April I start by hanging just one. I typically see the first hummingbird in my yard in late April. Once I see the first Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, I hang the other two.
Update: 4/23/19 First hummingbird of the year visited the first feeder I put up. So now it is time to put up the second one.
Choose a Hummingbird Feeder
Want to purchase a hummingbird feeder? Look for a feeder that is well made. You’ll need to refill it often, so it should be easy to clean and fill. The two types I use in my yard are Aspects Hummzinger Feeders and a Perky Pets Mason Jar Feeder. For more on these feeders, see my Hummingbird Feeder Reviews post.
Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbird feeders need to be cleaned and refilled very regularly. My reviews and care post includes how to clean hummingbird feeders. (Don’t worry. If you pick the right feeder, it is quick and easy!)
How to Make Hummingbird Nectar
You can buy hummingbird nectar, but if you can stir sugar into water, you can very easily make your own. I show you how in my Make Hummingbird Nectar post.
What if Hummingbirds Don’t Come to My Feeders?
Particular birds arriving in a particular yard can vary a bit. So you may not see hummers right away, even if other people may have seen them in your area. It may take a couple of weeks.
Pay attention to the feeder! These little guys move so fast that you can miss them and not realize they are there at first!
While you are waiting, you might be tempted to just let the hummingbird nectar sit. But the feeder needs to be cleaned and refilled periodically even if hummingbirds haven’t visited yet. You don’t want a hummingbird’s first experience with your feeder to be moldy, fermented nectar!
Hummingbirds don’t just drink sugar water of course. They eat insects and they also love flowers, their natural source of nectar. So some bright flowers nearby (red or orange if possible and neonicotinoid free of course) may draw a hummer in to your yard where it can discover your feeder.
Learn More About Hummingbirds
I hope you’ve found these hummingbird feeder tips helpful. To learn more about hummingbirds, check out these sites:
In my area, seeing anything other than Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds is rare. To learn more about them, check out All About Birds’ Ruby-Throated Hummingbird page. They have pages for other hummingbirds found in the US too! They also have an article with feeding tips: All About Birds Feeding Hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds.net: Lanny Chambers’ personal website about all things hummingbird.
Smithsonian National Zoo: Page with interesting facts about hummingbirds.
Enjoy your hummers! Happy Spring!
More Posts About Feeding Hummingbirds
Learn More About Maryland Birds
See my post on Central Maryland Backyard Birds.
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