Over the last several years we have had one hummingbird. Just one. While there are about 20 different species of this bird in North America, I have no idea his variety. I just love his little self flitting about my garden. There are many perennials in the garden they love, such as late tulips, iris, and hosta. I planted a large stand of bold red Will Rogers Zinnia this year which the little guy went crazy for. I also set out a little hummingbird feeder for him and we celebrate in his adorable antics. Then I started thinking about one hummingbird feeder for one hummingbird. Perhaps if we place more hummingbird feeders out we will attract more hummingbirds?
Hummingbirds like exceptionally clean feeders. I change the feeders about every two weeks and make sure I wash them thoroughly with soap and water. While some insist on boiling the nectar before placing it out, I’ve found that simply shaking the water and sugar together until all the sugar melts works fine. Put the feeders out in the garden very early; as soon as the snow melts in order to have them available for early scout birds. If you get ants or bees invading the feeders, simply add a bit of petroleum jelly around the opening of each feeding hole or move your feeder to a different location. We added artificial red flowers to each of the hummingbird feeders because the hummingbird would come more often to check out the feeders if we did.
THE NECTAR FORMULA
- 1 part sugar
- 4 parts water
Shake well or boil and let cool, then pour in feeders.
Set out 5 feeders in various locations all around my garden to see if the multiple feeders might attract more than one hummingbird. We attached artificial flowers to the feeders as the hummingbird seemed rather particular and did not recognize the red glass feeder as a feeder until it looked more like a flower.
I used Perky-Pet Hummingbird Feeders and a super-cool Wild Bird Banquet Station and several different garden shepherd’s hooks to hold the hummingbird feeders. I used a mix of blue glass feeders and red glass feeders.
By the end of the season it was clear that our experiment did NOT attract more hummingbirds. In our informal scientific study we noticed that when given a choice of red or blue Perky-Pet hummingbird feeders, the little hummingbird always chose red. In fact, the blue feeders would often fill with dead ants and other debris, then grow mold inside the feeder which we did not notice happening with the red feeders as they stayed clean for the most part.
When given the choice of all five feeders, the hummingbird would only sup from one feeder, the flat Perky-Pet red feeder that hung on the Wild Bird Banquet Station. It was his favorite and he didn’t prefer the others. He never did feed from the blue feeders, but towards late fall when the little guy was fattening up for his commute to the south, he would sometimes flitter between two of the red feeders and our Will Rogers zinnias from Jung Seed, always preferring “his favorite feeder” above all others. At this time we also saw one more hummingbird visit the feeders for about seven days. Our hummingbird, of course, defended his feeders and would not share with Hummingbird #2 (it’s their nature to be very territorial).
And so – the conclusion of my personal hummingbird feeding experiment is that red bottles seem to please the birds more than blue bottles for their nectar. Having a larger quantity of feeders does not necessarily attract more birds. However, if you have a lot of birds having more feeders could obviously help keep them in your garden. Get yourself some hummingbird feeders and start attracting your favorite happy little birds this season and conduct your own experiment.