"I hope you love birds too. It is economical. It saves going to heaven."
Emily Dickinson

Monday, April 28, 2014

Have you cleaned your hummingbird feeder today?

Photo by J.J. Meyer
With temperatures expected to be the 90s this week, it's important to get out and clean your hummingbird feeders. A sugar solution, or nectar, can ferment in direct sunlight in two days and in as little as five days in the shade.

If you see mold or your solution is cloudy, you're waiting way too long to clean and replace the nectar.  You blew it!

Take the feeder down and clean it thoroughly with a 10 percent solution of white vinegar and water, not soap – hummers will reject a feeder with a soap residue. Rinse thoroughly and replace with fresh nectar.  Experts recommend using a 4:1 ratio of water and pure granulated sugar for making homemade nectar.  Boil water for three minutes, which helps retard spoiling of the nectar.  Measure the water after boiling because some will evaporate.  Add measured sugar to the water and stir.  There's no need to boil the sugar in the water.

Skip the red dye, which is unnecessary and potentially harmful to the birds. Nectar can be stored for two weeks in a glass container in the refrigerator.

And never use honey as a substitute for sugar when making nectar.

The experts at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach offer this statement on their instruction sheet for feeding hummingbirds:  Please do it right, or don't do it at all. Hummingbirds can contract deadly bacterial and fungal infections from dirty feeders.

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