Hummingbirds can flap their wings more than sixty times in a second, and in one minute, their hearts beat up to 1,260 times – depending on the species. Such movements need an enormous intake of calorie. As a result of this, sweet flower nectar is one of the fundamental sources of food for hummingbirds.
Though hummingbirds have a wide range of diet including tree sap, small insects, and pollen, they depend on nectar a lot, and they digest it very quickly. If you are looking for what to put in a hummingbird feeder, then one of the best choices is a sugar water mixture.
As mentioned earlier, hummingbirds eat a lot of things, and in this article, we are going to explore some of the things hummingbirds eat. Hummingbirds are more attracted to nectar recipe, and we are going to show you how to make it. At the end of this article, you will know what to feed a birds and what to put in a hummingbird feeder.
What Do HummingBirds Eat
- Insects: Spiders, small insects, insect eggs, and larvae are crucial sources of food for hummingbirds. The birds get salts, protein, and fat that they cannot get from nectar, and these are very important nutritional elements, especially for fast developing hatchlings.
Hummingbirds hunt insects in different ways, including picking or gleaning them from leaves, flowers, or bark, plucking them from sticky sap or spider webs, or hawking them in midair. An adult hummingbird must eat a lot of insects every day in order to get the required protein amount for a healthy diet.
- Pollen: Hummingbirds don’t eat pollen directly, but a lot of pollen do get stuck on their bills and tongues whenever they sip nectar from flowers. They tend to ingest some of the pollen, and it is a minor protein source even though the bird did not eat it directly.
- Sap: When hummingbirds can’t find nectars or when they are scarce, the birds sip tree sap from holes that woodpeckers drill. While tree saps are not as sugary as the nectar they get from flowers, they still provide a sufficient source of sucrose for the energy needs of a hummingbird. Birds may not be able to drink dripped down and hardened sap on the tree trunk, but they may pick insects from the residue.
- Sand and Ashes: Some hummingbirds are known to eat sand and ashes in little quantities. This can be a great source of crucial salts and minerals, but much is not required to fulfill the dietary needs of a hummingbird. But this is not a well-examined source as much study and observation are needed to verify this. Because it is possible, the hummingbirds were picking small insects instead of eating the sand and ashes.
What to Put in a Hummingbird Feeder
Despite all the sources of food mentioned above, the most popular and abundant source of food for hummingbirds is nectar – from either sugar water solutions or suitable flowers. Nectar contains a lot of sucrose that provides hummingbirds with the energy they require for their energetic lives, swift flight, and high metabolism.
Does nectar contain all the nutrients and mineral that a hummingbird needs? Well, the answer to that question is “no.” Nectar does not contain everything a hummingbird requires, as they don’t meet the amino acids, protein, and different minerals and vitamins needs of hummingbirds. This is why hummingbirds need other sources of food.
Since nectar is what they love most, and it also has a lot of health benefits on them, here is how to make a sugar water solution for your pretty hummingbirds.
To make nectar for hummingbirds, mix one part sugar to four parts water. The next step is to boil the mixture until the sugar dissolves completely. Allow the mixture to cool off, and the put it in the hummingbird feeder.
You can also attract more birds by adding a half teaspoon of vanilla to the mixture, as it has an intense smell. You can reserve the remaining mixture in the refrigerator for a week. To attract more hummingbirds to your feeder, you can buy a red feeder or use a red ribbon to tie around the feeder, as hummingbirds are attracted to this color.
You can also buy commercially packaged nectar. If you are going for this option, make sure the commercial nectar is as natural as possible, and it should not contain artificial dyes.
Tips for Hummingbird Feeders
Size and Type:
- Choose a feeder that you can clean easily
- Go for a feeder size that matches the population of the hummingbirds in your garden or backyard.
- Do not fill the feeder if it is not in use.
- More feeders will support more birds and help to minimize territoriality.
- Make sure your feeder is at least 4 feet away from the ground so they are beyond the reach of predators, including cats.
- Place the feeder in a well-shaded spot, if possible.
- Don’t place the feeder very close to a bird’s nest in order not to attract predators.
- It is also a great idea to place the feeder at a position where you can see it through your window.
- If you put nectar in the humming feeder, make sure you change the mixture every three to four days. If temperatures are above 90 degrees Fahrenheit, you should change the mixture more often.
- If you see mold on the feeder or it appears cloudy, wash it thoroughly immediately.
- Make sure you clean the feeder before refilling it, do not top up without cleaning it thoroughly.
- Use warm water and mild soap, and rinse thoroughly.
- Soak the feeder in a solution of water and bleach once in a month, and rinse very well.
Knowing what to put in a hummingbird feeder and what to feed hummingbirds with is very important, as it will help you take proper care of the hummingbirds in your garden or backyard. With the tips and information we have put together for you, taking care of your hummingbirds should no longer be a problem.