About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder?

I live in Troy, MI and my yard backs up to woods. I have purchased a feeder that looks like an antique red bottle. It is now hung under a sparse weeping cherry. We landscape with very few flowers
What is the best location? Sun / shade / height? Thank you.

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That’s a really good question and I can’t believe I haven’t answered it already on the blog (http://lansingwbu.blogspot.com/).
  • The number one rule in hanging any feeder is to place it where you can watch the birds comfortably. The whole point in bird feeding is to watch these winged wonders up close. 
  • Since hummingbirds feed by sight, the second rule is to hang the feeder where they will be able to see it as they fly over your yard. A new feeder may be found sooner if hung near a flower garden or hanging flower basket.
  • Place your hummingbird feeders near bushes to provide perching spots and protection from predators.
  • The height of the feeder is less important. Hummingbirds feed from the flowers on the ground and from the tops of flowering trees or climbing vines.
  • Part sun or shade is the best place for nectar feeders. The nectar lasts longer in the shade. Also the nectar in bottle feeders can expand in the sun and start to drip and this will call in bees and ants.
  • Make sure your nectar is fresh and the correct one part white sugar to four parts water solution.
  • In hot weather you should clean your feeder at least twice a week. Just like a restaurant, if a hummingbird comes by to check out your new feeder and finds it filled with spoiled food, they won’t return anytime soon.
In Michigan you can hang hummingbird feeders out from mid-April to the end of October. Migrating birds follow their own schedule usually, based on the weather.

The next couple of months are your best opportunity to see hummingbirds. Adult hummingbirds are now joined by a horde of juveniles as they head south to Central America and their winter territories, traveling thousands of miles.

It's estimated that more than seven million Ruby-throated Hummingbirds return to the tropics each winter. As they make their way south, hummingbirds will take part in an eating binge that is unmatched at any other time of the year. A high-calorie diet is important to build fat reserves for their long stretches of flying. So be sure to have your hummingbird feeders ready.

Bird banding studies indicate that, the hummingbirds visiting your feeders in the fall can be completely replaced by a new wave of migrants within 24 hours.

To estimate the number of hummingbirds using your feeders during migration, multiply times five. For example, if you see 1 hummingbird at your feeder, you have had about 5 passing through your yard that day.

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