Sixteen species of hummingbirds make their part-time homes north of the U.S.-Mexico border, representing the tiniest avians with a size range of 3 1/4 to 5 1/4 inches from bill tip to tail tip. Many people are entranced by the industrious birds, and setting out feeders can draw them into your yard, where you can watch them flutter and feed. You can place your hummingbird feeder near seed feeders meant for other kinds of birds, and following certain techniques will help you optimize your hummingbirds' feeding.
Choose the Location
Human real estate isn't the only kind that benefits from the best location. Like other birds, your hummingbird visitors will appreciate finding their feeding station in a quiet spot that is close, but not too close, to natural shelter; provide branches and other places for the birds to rest between feeder stops while being protected from cats and other predators. Also, if you choose to hang a hummingbird feeder near a window to facilitate spying on the little guests, then keep it within 3 feet of the glass. When a feeder is farther from a window, birds leaving it are more likely to fly into its glass. Window strikes account for 100 million to perhaps 1 billion bird deaths each year in the United States, according to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds website.
Protect the Feeder
The nectar mix in most hummingbird feeders isn't very heavy. So ensure that you choose a feeder spot that is protected from wind to prevent nectar from being dumped onto the ground. Also, avoid nectar spoilage by hanging the feeder in a shaded area. Sun exposure speeds spoiling and mold growth.
Provide a Little Privacy
Even though you may want to use several feeders to entice hummingbirds to visit, you may find the most success by hanging each feeder where the birds eating at it don't see diners at other feeders. Sometimes, hummingbirds fuss and fight when they see one another eating at different locations. The issue usually doesn't occur when hummingbirds see other kinds of birds feeding nearby, however.
Make it Convenient
A hummingbird feeder's nectar needs to be replaced fairly often during the peak of the hummingbird season. So hang the feeder where it is easily accessible without the need to resort to climbing or straining to reach it. Hang it where you can watch the birds feed without disturbing them, as well as ensuring they are in locations where hummingbirds can find them easily.
Pamela Martin has been writing since 1979. She has written newsletter articles and curricula-related materials. She also writes about teaching and crafts. Martin was an American Society of Newspaper Editors High School Journalism Fellow. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Teaching in elementary education from Sam Houston State University and a Master of Arts in curriculum/instruction from the University of Missouri.