Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Urban Legends

There are a couple of urban legends concerning hummingbirds I would like to address.

The first concerns adding red food dye to the feeder formula. It isn't necessary. If you have hummingbirds coming to your feeder, they know where it is located. The food dye adds nothing to their ability to locate the feeder. Even a feeder in a new location does not need to use red dye. The color of the feeders themselves are often enough to attract them.

The correct concentration of sugar is a 20% solution. One-half cup of sugar dissolved in two cups of boiled water yields sixteen ounces of hummingbird food. That is enough to fill most standard-sized feeders twice. Refrigerate the unused portion until it is needed.

The final urban legend concerns taking down the feeder. Some people claim that leaving a feeder up tempts them into staying when they should be migrating. It just isn't true. They know when to leave. There is an upside to leaving them up a while longer, however. Hummingbirds passing through your area from farther north will be given a chance to rest and rejuvenate themselves before continuing their migration. I usually leave the feeder up for a week or so after seeing the last hummingbird.

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