Saturday, July 29, 2006

Hummingbird Feeders & Supplies

The hummers will start arriving early in Spring so have your feeders out, supplies in order and be ready for them! If you place your feeders close to bright flowers, they will discover them faster. You will soon find that one is not enough as more and more hummers find your feeders.

It is also a good idea to keep your feeders up long into the winter months as they will be used by migrating hummers and those birds unable to make the long trip. You can take the feeders down after you are sure there are no birds "wintering" over.

Hummingbird feeders should be placed in a shady area to discourage bacteria and mold from spoiling the nectar. Even if you still have nectar in your feeder, you should replace it at least once a week.

It is wise to clean your hummingbird feeder every 2 - 3 days, especially in hot weather. Nectar tends to "ferment" in the hot weather and harmful bacteria will form. (this will happen even if the feeder is not in direct sunlight) You should clean feeder with a mild soapy solution (no harsh chemicals) and bottlebrush. Be sure to rinse very well in clear water to remove all traces of soap residue!!

You don't need a lot of supplies for hummers but one of the most handy is a good bottle brush! It sure makes things a lot easier when cleaning the feeders!

To avoid pesky ants in your feeders you can coat hangers with Vaseline. The sugary nectar also attracts unwanted bees so it is best to get hummingbird feeders with bee guards.

Create a Backyard Habitat for Wild Birds with a Bird Feeder

With a little imagination and very little effort, you can transform your backyard into a natural habitat for birds. Whether you're an avid birdwatcher, or simply want to invite nature a little closer to your home, birdfeeders put down the welcome mat for our avian friends. According to the Audubon Society, a bird feeder comes in one of four basic designs. Ground feeders are flat and open, have a screened bottom, and rest off the ground and should be situated ten feet from nearby trees or bushes so that birds can fly away from any predators.

Ground feeders can be made squirrel proof by utilizing wire mesh over the bird feeder. Tube birdfeeders are cylindrical in shape and typically have openings that allow birds to access the seeds. They should be hung off the ground and, for maximum enjoyment, near a window so that family members can witness the wild birds that come to visit. Suet and hopper bird feeders are typically shaped like houses. A suet bird feeder, made for wild birds that peck at the seed mixed into the suet, is usually hung, while a hopper bird feeder can either be hung or placed on a post for easy access by wild birds.

A hopper bird feeder contains a large quantity of seed, which is released when the wild bird steps on the feeder trigger. Hopper birdfeeders attract both small and large birds, including the cardinal. Unlike the tube and hopper birdfeeders, the thistle bird feeder is designed with very small holes, allowing only small-beaked finches to access the food.

Thistle birdfeeders should be hung, and can be made squirrel proof. The Audubon Society also provides helpful tips on making your backyard friendly to hummingbirds by populating it with humming bird feeders. They suggest that you use several humming bird feeders and fill each with sugar water, being careful to avoid using red food coloring and honey.

In addition, you should change the solution in the humming bird feeder weekly, or more often in hot weather. It is certainly possible to make your own bird feeders, but there are several great birdfeeders available on the market, including those made by Droll Yankee, Opus, Woodllink, and Duncraft. To get the most out of your bird watching experience, the Audubon Society suggests that you utilize several different types of bird feeders and that you place them at various heights and locations. In this way, you will attract a wide variety of wild birds.

In addition, be sure that your efforts to create a backyard habitat don't harm the birds you are trying to attract. Keep birdfeeders three feet away from windows to avoid collisions, and make sure to keep your cat indoors. By Chris Robertson

Humming Bird Feeders

Humming birds are tiny creatures averaging 3.5 inches from head to tail. They are the worlds smallest bird, and they are spectacular to witness because of their brilliant colors an their motionless, hovering feeding habits.

The best way to feed hummingbirds is by using a nectar feeder. You must place it high enough on a branch so that squirrels and other predators cannot feed from it. A mixture of sugar and water is the best way to attract humming birds. This blend is as close as you can come to flower nectars. You should not use honey, molasses or any other artificial sweeteners.

Though they eat small insects for protein, hummingbirds also rely heavily on flower and prepared nectar for their energy needs. You might be able to successfully attract them to a backyard feeder with a proper combination of timing, consistency, and cleanliness.

It is important to hand your humming bird feeder shortly before spring. If a hummingbird is drawn to the feeder at this time, it will likely return throughout the season, well into fall.

A hummingbird feeder has to be clean; otherwise the bird will not feed. It should be colorful – preferably red and orange with red ribbons trailing off the feeder so it can be easily spotted by the humming bird. There are a couple of different types of hummingbird feeders. The dish type has a perch and allows a good view of the way a hummingbird feeds. The gravity fed bottle style feeder has no perch that eliminates the problem of other pests landing on it to feed.

Hummingbird feeders come in many different styles and shapes. Some are beautifully hand blown glass bulbs that enhance the charm of any backyard. By Ross Bainbridge

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