Sunday, May 3, 2015

First Hummingbird of 2015

Hummingbird Feeder
For years I made attempts to attract hummingbirds.  I filled the prettiest feeders with a large variety of nectar mixes and never saw a single bird. Last year I discovered that the secret to attracting hummingbirds is truly cheap and easy. Last night, my first hummer of 2015 came to visit my budget balcony garden and I'm thrilled. I will share my hummingbird secrets with you.

Consider Using Inexpensive Feeders

I had a collection of the prettiest hummingbird feeders ever seen.  My favorite was a large, handblown, "crackled" glass feeder.  It was an amazing work of art and I loved looking at it. But clearly, the hummingbirds were not as impressed.  I tried many types of feeders at different homes that I lived in.  Not a single bird. Ever. Finally,  I gave up.

After watching Nature: Hummingbirds Magic in the Air on television, I was so inspired by the film that I had to try to attract these amazing creatures to my home just one more time.

Even though I was newly inspired, I was also skeptical.  I decided to spend the least amount possible. And the nay-sayers told me that I'd never have a bird visit my balcony. I went to a local big box store and bought a little plastic hummingbird feeder for under $5 (very similar to the one shown above) and filled it with homemade nectar for a few cents and hung it under the roof on my balcony. And pessimistically waited. In a matter of days, the birds came.  I believe I had a male and female ruby-throated humming bird visit me through the summer and up until they migrated to warmer climes.

The weather has warmed again and just last week, I washed and filled the little feeder and hung it back outside. In a matter of days I had my first beautiful winged visitor of 2015.

My first visitor - 2015

Make Your Own Nectar

I had purchased many different brands of hummingbird nectar without any luck. After deciding to give it one more try, I browsed the internet and found that a good number of people made their own nectar using only sugar and water. 

I use that 1:4 sugar water recipe.
  • bring the water to a boil (I use four cups to keep it simple)
  • stir in the sugar until dissolved (one cup)
  • cool to room temperature
  • fill and hang the feeder
  • store the excess "nectar" in the refrigerator
The experts warn against adding things such as coloring or flavors to the sugar water as this may harm the birds.  I check my feeder at each refill, to make sure there is no mold growing.  In the heat of the summer I change the sugar water weekly.  I also have decided to boil my water every time. There are many people who state that they don't boil their water but the one time I didn't, I found a small amount of mold inside the feeder when I changed my sugar water the next week.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird Garden Flag

I have seen large numbers of hummingbirds visiting the fancy feeders with store-bought nectar mixes. I am not trying to persuade you to never give those methods a try. I never had luck with those methods and am sticking with the cheap plastic feeder filled with sugar water and am welcoming these winged mysteries to my balcony.  I may re-hang my beautiful hand-blown feeder, in addition to the cheap plastic feeder, but I am sold on the cheap and easy way of feeding the local hummingbirds.

For more information about hummingbirds:

Read it online - the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center


  1. Homemade hummingbird nectar is not only less expensive, but it is better for the birds. I love having hummingbird feeders around too.

  2. As soon as we run out of winter bird seed (within a couple of weeks) I'll be replacing the winter feeders with the hummingbird feeders. Last year we had a period of time when I filled the feeders more often than once a day to keep up with their big appetites. Can't wait for those little guys (and gals) to return. I'll be ready, homemade nectar and all!