We've been building up to this time since spring and it's finally here - hummingbird season! No, this isn't the same thing as turkey season, deer season, or rabbit season. There's no gun cleaning or knife sharpening going on, and we're not out on a hunt. This is the month that the most hummingbirds pass through our area. Sure, they've been zooming and zipping through here since early spring. But, that's when those little guys are just grooming and preparing us, and giving us a small taste of the show we see in September.
I love watching these little marvels playing, and sometimes even duelling around the feeders. I used to try to plant certain types of flowers to attract them, but I don't have a green thumb. Soon I discovered, all you have to do is feed them - they'll show up!
All you need are a couple of hummingbird feeders and some homemade nectar. Some claim that the sugar water isn't good for them, but studies have shown that the sugar water doesn't harm the birds in any way. In fact, it gives them that extra power boost they need on their way to their winter vacation home. Another thing I've learned is the red food coloring that some put in the food, hoping to better attract the birds, isn't good for them and not needed to attract them anyway.
Nectar recipe: 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. Stir until the sugar is dissolved then pour into the feeder - that's it!
Leftover nectar can be kept in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days. Don't put much nectar in the feeders until you see how much they are going to drink. The amount needed will increase as hummingbirds discover your feeders and then tell their buddies. Soon you will have bunches of little cuties zipping all around.
When the nectar turns cloudy it needs to be changed, or at least about every 4 days , maybe even less when it's really hot outside. Some people boil their water first, but that's not necessary because it's the hummingbirds dipping their beaks in and out of the feeders that causes the contamination. Try hanging the feeders in a cool shady spot instead of direct sunlight to make the nectar last a little longer.
I was told that you should stop filling the feeders by the end of September or the little birds might not fly south like they are supposed to and be stuck here for the winter. This also is not true. They'll leave when needed. So, fill the feeders as long as you have drinkers, and you can be happy that you gave them that extra little power boost they needed to be on their way.
Here's hoping your soap always bubbles!
The Washtub Handmade Bath & Body