fresh nectar. The hummingbirds have been sighted in mid-Michigan! If you have to leave for several weeks take your feeder down and let them find another source of food. There is no reason not to start feeding or wean them off. Birds do not depend on feeders to survive.
Nectar is not much more than sugar water. Throughout the day a hummer drinks more than its half its body weight in nectar. But they can't live on sugar alone, and the birds must supplement their carbohydrate-rich diet with daily helpings of insects to get necessary fats and amino acids that they aren't getting in nectar.
Besides feeders, hummingbirds drink nectar from a variety of flowers as well as sap from trees and eat a lot of insects and spiders. They are excellent hunters. (Sometimes I suggest throwing old fruit or banana peels near your hummingbird feeders to attract fruit flies for the hummers.) Hummingbirds can catch insects in flight, or pluck them from leaves, or catch spiders from their webs. While migrating, hummingbirds can follow behind Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers because these woodpeckers drill shallow wells into trees to release sap that lots of birds can drink. Sap also attracts and traps insects for birds.
- When to take hummingbird feeders down and many other FAQ http://goo.gl/eIPsU
- Where should I hang my hummingbird feeder? http://bit.ly/FQ9kxU
- What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://bit.ly/H7xvp3
- How to Stop Your Hummingbird Feeder from Dripping. http://bit.ly/yROgU5
- How Do I Keep Bees Off My Hummingbird Feeder? http://bit.ly/Aj07oq