Not only are hummingbirds a delight to watch, but they are beneficial to your garden and landscaping. Hummingbirds love to feed on the sweet nectar of flowering plants and, in doing so, help pollinate those plants. They also will feed on the insects attracted to those plants. Providing a feeder, filled with sweet sugar water, for hummingbirds gives them the additional nutrients and hydration they may not find naturally.
Choosing a Feeder
Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of shapes, sizes and designs. The hummingbird does not care, it is only after the sweet nectar inside. The design is strictly your preference, but some attributes are necessary for the feeder to benefit the birds. Hummingbirds are naturally attracted to red and orange blossoms, because they contain the sweetest nectar (see Reference # 2). Therefore, most feeders will have the color red somewhere on the feeder, particularly close to the feeding tube. There are feeders that also contain the color yellow, which, if limited in its use, poses no problem. Should a feeder have a great deal of yellow on it, avoid purchasing it because yellow will attract bees and wasps to the feeder, driving the hummingbirds away and possibly to abandon the feeder.
Location of Feeder
Where you hang a hummingbird feeder is as important to the birds as it is to your enjoyment in watching them feed. Therefore, the location should be where you and the birds can easily view the feeder, but not too close to a window. You don't want the birds accidentally flying into the glass. Additionally, a feeder should be placed near the hummingbird's habitat, so the birds can perch to rest on branches and in foliage. A shaded location is advised (see reference #2) to prolong the freshness of the sugar water.
Placement of Feeders
A hummingbird feeder should be placed so it is easy to access for cleaning and filling. Hang the feeder approximately 5 feet above the ground, Make sure there is no foliage underneath that would encourage unwelcome guests, like mice, squirrels and even cats, to feed on the sugar water. If you wish to hang multiple hummingbird feeders, locate the feeders at least 10 to 12 feet apart. That way the more timid hummingbird can feed without interference from an aggressive hummingbird.(see Reference # 1).
At home in rural California, Kate Carpenter has been writing articles and Web content for several well-known marketers since 2007. With a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Kansas and a Master of Education equivalent from the University of Northern Colorado, Carpenter brings a wealth of diverse experience to her writing.