Someone told me recently that she hung up a hummingbird feeder last summer but the hummingbirds quickly disappeared and never returned. I asked her how often she changed the syrup and cleaned the feeder and she replied, never. She just left the initial batch of syrup out all summer.
I was not surprised that the hummingbirds never returned to this filthy feeder. It is crucial to keep bird feeders clean and particularly so during the heat of summer. Making fresh syrup is easy. All you need is one part household sugar and four parts water, bring to a boil and simmer for about five to six minutes. Cool down the mixture and – voila! – you are ready to hang your feeder. I don’t recommend using a big feeder because the syrup can turn moldy quickly in the heat of summer. It is much better to use a small feeder and to replace the mixture every three days or whenever it turns a bit cloudy. Cleanliness is key to a healthy bird population and can be done with a mixture of vinegar and warm water. Mold, on the other hand, can kill the very birds we are trying to attract.
The best way to attract hummingbirds to your yard is by planting for them. Tubular flowers are favorites, such as bee balm, penstemon, wild columbine, wild bergamot, great blue lobelia, or fuchsia, among others. The choice depends on the region you live in and the conditions in your yard. With a little care you will be able to watch a new generation of hummingbirds take flight on your property.