|Proper care of Hummingbird feeders takes a significant commitment on your part that needs to be considered before you start. Please note: By not following these instructions you could be responsible for giving Hummers Candidiasis (a serious and deadly fungus infection). This fungus condition coats the tongue and covers the trachea gradually suffocating the Hummer. Ultimately they die of suffocation, a slow and hideous death. Please do it right or don't do it at all.|
|WHAT DO HUMMINGBIRDS EAT - Hummers balance
their diet using certain soft body insects with nectar from flowers.
Some insects, including ants, are poisonous to Hummers. When you
put up a feeder you are providing them an easy access to only the sucrose
part of their diet. This may be very important when flower nectar
is in short supply.
SELECTION OF FEEDER - Purchase a feeder that has no hidden areas. Be sure all the inside surfaces can be reached and cleaned with a bottle brush (this will eliminate many types). Also do not buy any feeder with metal in it.
FEEDER FOOD - Sugar water as below:
The above ratio approximates the sugar to water ratio present in the nectar of Hummingbird flowers. Too much sugar is hard on liver and kidneys. Too little sugar will not provide the needed calories and may cause them to lose interest in your feeder.
DO NOT USE -
|HANGING THE FEEDER - You can use a piece
of coat hanger and can buy hanging ant cups for an ant problem.. Hang feeder in shade where safe from cats; and NOT near a nest (males will kill the babies).
MAINTAIN FEEDER CLEANLINESS - You will need to wash the feeder out in very hot water every two (2) days in warm/hot weather and every three (3) days in cool weather. Use a bottle brush to scrub all surfaces then rinse well. In hot weather do not leave the feeder up more than two days (depending on your conditions, temperature, Etc. you may need to clean it sooner). If you see any mold in the feeder or the mixture becomes cloudy, then it was too long (you blew it). Hummers put their tongues into the feeder to drink and sugar water is a good medium for the growth of pathogens. Remember, if it is not clean enough for you to drink from your feeder, then it is not fit for these delicate little Hummers. Proper maintenance of feeders needs to be strongly emphasized. I rescue and rehabilitate hundreds of Hummers each year of which about 15% of those I receive have fungus infections from improperly maintained feeders. These include sick adults and the sick babies of dead, or about to die, Hummingbird mothers. Unfortunately, they all do not make it (because of a high calorie diet, treatment of major fungus infections in Hummers is extremely difficult).
FLOWERS - You can get Hummingbird flowers or the seed mixtures from your nursery. Always consider the cat problem. Do not plant flowers that attract Hummers, unless they are hung where cats cannot pick them off (they get very good at doing that). I get many cat-caught Hummers each year.
YOU FOUND A HUMMER - Put in a shoebox with a pencil sized hole in the cover. Use crumpled tissues or toilet paper, never fabric (can break toes, legs and hips). Keep warm and quiet, but never keep in your hand (may go very quiet and die from stress thinking they are your lunch). If still in a nest and has feathers, mom does not sit on the babies and will be away except for a few seconds each hour or so to feed them during the day. Call ----- a licensed Hummingbird rehabber. Specialized care and diet is required for captive Hummers.
Written by a Los Angeles Hummingbird rehabber