If you enjoy watching hummingbirds in the summertime, when is the best time to put out your feeder?  It's earlier than you probably think!

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Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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It's the Small Things

There's nothing cooler than seeing a hummingbird up close.  Their tiny wings flutter so quickly, it's truly amazing to watch. Since hummingbirds are so small, it can be hard to see them at times, so many people like to put out hummingbird feeders to attract the tiny birds to their yards and watch them.  It's truly one of the small joys in life. I was just thinking about my hummingbird feeder and wondering when I'd put it back outside for the season, so I did some digging and found the best times to put your feeder back out for our little friends.

The Hummingbird Migration

According to Hummingbird Central, which tracks the migration of these small birds every year, many hummingbirds spend the winter months in Central America or Mexico, then migrate north for the warmer months.  They typically track the migration from January through May every year, and it's really neat to watch the map fill with hummingbirds.

Photo by Jeremy Lwanga on Unsplash
Photo by Jeremy Lwanga on Unsplash
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As of today (March 15th), there have been just a couple of hummingbird sightings as far north as the southern part of Tennessee, so hummingbirds still have quite a ways to go before getting to the Hoosier state.  Now along the West Coast is a different story, but I'm looking at the hummingbirds that seem to be heading our direction.

When to Put Out Your Hummingbird Feeder in Indiana

Birdwatching HQ has some great tips for attracting hummingbirds to your yard, and according to them the best time to put out your feeder is around the middle of April.

Putting out your hummingbird feeders on April 15th might seem a bit early, but you want to make sure you are ready for the first arrivals. Remember that these birds have just migrated from Central America or southern Mexico and will be extremely hungry and tired. In addition, there aren’t many flowers blooming or bugs flying around yet for them to eat and reload their energy reserves.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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Using Your Hummingbird Feeder Correctly is VERY Important

If you decide you want to put out a hummingbird feeder this year, that's great! There are a few things you need to know though.  It can be tempting to grab the red-dyed nectar you see at the store and dump it in your feeder, but that isn't good for the birds.

According to HummingbirdSociety.org, the only things you should put in a hummingbird feeder are white cane sugar and water.  That's it. No red dyes are needed, no organic sugar, no brown sugar. ONLY plain white cane sugar and water.

Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
Photo by Joshua J. Cotten on Unsplash
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The appropriate mixture is

  • 1 cup of white cane sugar
  • 4 cups of spring water

It is recommended that you change the mixture every 4-5 days, and more frequently if it's really hot outside and when you notice the feeder becomes cloudy.  It is also recommended to wash the feeder every time you change out the mixture.  This can help keep hummingbirds healthy.

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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart


 

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