Hummingbirds are genetically programmed to migrate to warmer climates during the winter months, which means that if you live in a colder climate, your hummingbird feeder may not get many visitors. With that said, if there are any stragglers or early arrivals in your area, keeping a hummingbird feeder outside and stocked with food can be a difference-maker for their survival.
As for those who live in a warmer winter climate, hummingbird feeders are an essential source of food as large numbers of birds will either pass by or settle down in your area. For instance, the state of Georgia encourages people to leave out at least one hummingbird feeder during the winter months to accommodate western migrants.
Anyway, if you want to help these fast-flying creatures during the winter, here are 3 things you can do.
Don’t let your feeders freeze:
When it comes to filling your hummingbird feeder, experts recommend a sugar-water solution made of four parts water to one part sugar. However, that food won’t be of any use if it’s frozen. There are many ways to keep your hummingbird feeder from freezing. To start with, make sure the feeder isn’t exposed to wind since that will make it freeze more easily. Placing it near a window or attaching it to one via a suction-cup feeder is a common choice as it will allow you to keep the feeder warm with heat from indoors.
Another good way to keep your feeder warm is by placing it near outdoor light fixtures or wrap it in insulating materials such as fabric or socks full of rice. If you can, keep your feeder in a location where it also exposed to sunlight. Lastly, a solid way to keep an un-frozen feeder outside at all times is by maintaining two or more feeders and always keeping one indoors so it won’t freeze. Then, all you need to do is just periodically rotate the feeders. You can also bring your feeder indoors at night and place them outside once more early in the morning as that’s when hummingbirds start their day.
Keep them clean:
Replacing the sugar-water solution in your feeder at regular intervals is important as it can help prevent bacteria and fungi from colonizing the feeder. On top of that, regular cleaning and refilling can help make sure that the feeding ports don’t get clogged.
Provide natural food and shelter:
While feeders are important, people can help hummingbirds by creating more pockets of good hummingbird habitat. It’s a good idea to check which hummingbird species inhabit your area and what plants they prefer. Treehugger also recommends adding native flowering plants and providing a range of early and late bloom cycles. Last but not least, it’s beneficial to create “habitat layers” by giving the hummingbirds a mix of variables like sun and shade as well as vegetation and open space. We realize this may be a lot of work, but once you see hummingbirds thriving in your yard area, you’ll know it was all worth it.
This story is part of our Best of 2021 series highlighting our top solutions from the year. Today we’re featuring environmental solutions.