The tiny hummingbird can be an unusual and almost exotic sight in any garden. Unlike most other birds, humming birds are not attracted by typical bird seed feeders. Hummingbirds are nectar feeders, and the sweet, sugary liquid is their only food. They fly from flower to flower, drinking a few drops from each blossom without stopping to perch.
Because hummingbirds feed from flower blossoms, they are drawn to bright colors. Red is the usual color for commercially-made hummingbird feeders. These feeders are filled with a sweet solution, and have small nozzles or tubes from where the hummingbird can drink. Since hummingbirds eat on the wing, their feeders should be hung in a location that allows for easy access for the small, flying birds.
Since humming birds aren't using your feeder as their sole source of food, it's not necessary to have a special solution that contains all the crucial vitamins and minerals that make up the humming bird diet. Of course, there is also no harm in using a solution designed just for hummingbirds. You can use a home-made sugar solution as well. A mix of one part white sugar to 4 parts water is a fine basic recipe. Never use honey or fruit juices in your hummingbird feeder. As mentioned above, humming birds like red but you shouldn't use food coloring to make the sugar solution red. The feeder itself should be red instead. Food coloring may seem harmless to us, but there is no way to tell how it can effect the metabolism of a humingbird.
Sugar solution can become rancid in a short time, especially during the hot summer months. Empty your feeder and refill it with fresh solution every 2 or 3 days. Once a month you should empty the feeder and give it a thorough wash with a weak bleach solution.
If you donít want a feeder at all, you can still attract hummingbirds to your garden by planting flowers that they like: bee balm, columbine, foxglove, nasturtium, and phlox. Red varieties will always be popular with hummingbirds.