Feeding Hummingbirds

I have an Anna’s Hummingbird living part-time on my high-rise balcony year-round. Her full name is Althea Socks Octavia Hummingbird. She’s been around since November 2018 and most days spends a good six to twelve hours here from sunrise to sunset. The nicer the weather, the more she’s out and about socializing, only popping in to my place for a quick bite.

I provide her with human-made food and keep my balcony garden full of flowers she (and her guest hummingbirds) can eat from. So she feels comfortable and in a natural habitat for some hang time, I’ve got branches, tomato cages, and plants she can sit on; and shelter from unsettled weather like wind, rain, and snow.

In Vancouver, Anna’s Hummingbirds live here year-round. Over the years they’ve adapted to our mild fall and winter climate and stick around rather than heading to Mexico for warmer weather.

I keep Althea and her friends well fed! She has a few other h-birds who drop by from time to time so I have three feeders. Althea makes sure none of them overstay their welcome. I’m always in awe no matter the number and never want them to go without.

Hummingbird food should be changed once per week in cool/cold temps and at least once per week during the warm weather of spring, summer, and fall, or if your feeder gets a lot of sun (even in the winter.) Bacteria and mould can grown on and in the feeder, easily, making the birds sick. If it’s really bad they will die.

To make hummingbird food, follow these recipes:

Half-Batch

  • 1/2 cup white granulated sugar
  • 2 cups tap water (as long as it’s safe to drink)

Full Batch

  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 4 cups tap water (as long as it’s safe to drink)

Cooking Method

  • Pour sugar and water into a sauce pan.
  • Set your stove top to a medium heat.
  • Stir to combine the sugar and water as the mixture warms up.
  • Increase the heat until the mixture boils.
  • Keep an eye on the pot and keep stirring so that the sugar doesn’t stick/burn to the bottom of the pot.
  • Once you get a good boil going, let it continue to boil for another 2-3 minutes so the sugar completely melts into the water and any possible impurities are cooked away.
  • Remove the food from heat and let it completely cool/come to room temperature. This will take at least a couple of hours. 
  • If you’re not filling your feeder as soon as the mixture cools, cover it and store in the refrigerator. I don’t recommend keeping it in the fridge for more than a couple of days before putting it out for the h-birds. 
  • DON’T ADD FOOD COLOURING OR DYE TO THE FOOD. LEAVE IT CLEAR.

 

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