When should I put up my feeder?

A few hummingbirds start arriving in April, depending upon your location in Idaho. By early May, the trickle becomes a flood as birds arrive from their wintering grounds. Males arrive first to claim feeding sites and to set up breeding territories.

My feeders are up now and ready and for any early visitors. They always arrive hungry! 

The safest formula for feeder nectar is 1 part plain white table sugar to 4 parts water. This approximates the natural sucrose content of flowers. Never use brown or raw sugar, as they contain iron which is bad for the birds' kidneys. Ditto for Honey, which ferments rapidly and may contain bacteria harmful to hummingbirds. Red dye is not only unnecessary to attract hummingbirds, it is likely to be toxic in the amounts that the birds consume. Boiling the water is optional, but it helps the sugar dissolve quicker.

Please clean your feeders regularly. In cool weather, they might be okay for a week. In hot weather, change the water every 2 or 3 days. If the nectar is cloudy or smells bad, it is already too old. Black mold on your feeder is deadly to these tiny birds.

Do you have a bully in your yard? Male hummers tend to defend and dominate "their" feeders. Attract more hummingbirds by giving them a chance to feed. It's better to put out several small feeders than 1 large one. Consider feeders with bee guards and ant moats, too. 

And be sure to set out a chair in the yard where you can enjoy your beautiful visitors.