I love hummingbirds and would like to attract them to my yard. What should I know about hummingbird feeders before buying one?
Ruby throated hummingbirds are the only species of hummingbird found in Iowa. They drink nectar from all colors, shapes, and sizes of flowers. Hummingbirds also spend a lot of time catching insects in the air, off leaves and right off of spider webs. Putting up a hummingbird feeder is a great way to attract them to your yard.
There are many kinds of feeders on the market. Most of them have flowers or red parts on them so they are attractive to hummingbirds. You will want a feeder that will be easy to clean. Start with a smaller one, until you have birds that are regularly emptying the feeder. Feeders are best placed near flowers where they may already be feeding. Try to place them out of the wind and in the shade. Hummingbird food is very easy to make on your own. Use a ratio of 1 part sugar (not honey) to 4 parts water. Boil together for 1-2 minutes and cool. No need to add red food dye to the solution. This ratio approximates the ratio of sugar to water in the nectar of many flowers. The sugar water solution can spoil easily in hot weather. Replace the solution every 2-3 days and clean out the feeder with hot water. Hummingbirds may not use your feeder if you don’t have many flowers, bushes, or trees in your yard.