Metro hummingbirds

Each August since we moved into our house, we have seen hummingbirds in our yard. I put a feeder in the yard after the first sighting and they return every year and stay until sometime in October when all their buddies are in town for the big autumn migration to Mexico.

Okay, I know that technically this post isn't about food, but watching these amazing little creatures from my kitchen window certainly makes cooking more enjoyable! To make up for my digression, I will explain how to feed the little guys.

The first order of business in feeding hummingbirds is selecting a feeder. There are many different varieties. An important factor in your selection is ease of cleaning and filling. It doesn't really need a perch since hummingbirds can hover and eat. My favorite is the Droll Yankee Little Flyer.

Feeders can be filled with a homemade mixture of:
1/4 cup sugar
1 cup boiling water

Stir until sugar is dissolved and allow to cool before placing in your feeder. Never use honey because it can kill hummingbirds! Even though hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, do not add red food coloring to the sugar water because it could harm the little birds. Instead try tying a red ribbon around the branch where the feeder hangs. When the ribbon blows in the breeze it will attract your hummer friends! Place your feeder near flowers that are attractive to hummingbirds and try to place the feeder where it will be shaded and protected from the wind.

Feeders should be cleaned every three to four days. The sugar water solution is very susceptible to mold, fermentation and a variety of other bacteria and pathogens. Feeders should be cleaned with hot water and a few drops of vinegar or for really tough spots use a tiny amount of bleach. You can use a bottle brush, pipe cleaner or cotton swab to clean hard to reach places. I actually saved and cleaned the cap and brush from an old tube of mascara which works perfectly for cleaning the feeding ports!

Enjoy watching!