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.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

How long it takes for hummingbirds to come to a feeder

How do hummingbirds find and figure out a glass bottle full of sugar water is food?
Weather is a big factor in how long it takes for hummingbirds to find a feeder. A good, wet spring that produces nectar filled blooms and protein packed bugs means there will be less activity at hummingbird feeders. Drought years are the hardest for the hummingbirds and you will notice instant attraction to feeder feeding as they attempt to find additional reliable food sources.

Another factor in determining how long it takes a hummingbird to discover a feeder is if you are in an area that has a lot of feeders. Hummingbirds are amazing birds with many inborn abilities. However looking for feeders is a learned action. They know how to look for the signs of food. The first hummers that came to feeders probably saw bees, ants and other insects investigating a feeder. Those feeders serving yummy food would have had the hummingbirds returning and they would have taught the kids to feed too.

Hummingbirds have an outstanding memory. A hummingbird's brain is very large in comparison to their body size. They know every flower in their territory and how long it will take each flower to produce more nectar. And yes that is probably the same hummingbird that comes back year after year to your feeder. They remember where each and every hummingbird feeder is, both at home and along a migration path. Hummingbirds have been observed watching older hummingbirds to learn some tricks and tips. They also learn which people are the ones responsible for filling hummingbird feeders, and which ones don't.

At the end of summer I watch the bumbling baby hummers jump from flower to flower, feeder to feeder, red chair to red hat, as they learn how to forage. Hummingbirds find food by sight so hang the feeder where they will be able to see it as they fly over your yard. Also a feeder may be found sooner if hung near a flower garden or hanging flower basket.

If you put up a new feeder, be patient. It may be an instant hit or it may take them awhile to figure it out. But always keep the feeder clean and the nectar fresh even if you see no activity. In late summer it gets hot and invariably momma and babies will visit along with migrating birds as they bulk up to fly south.

Related Articles:
What is the nectar recipe for hummingbirds? http://goo.gl/MK3AU
Fun Facts about Ruby-throated Hummingbirds http://goo.gl/jcjcr
The Best Hummingbird Feeders http://bit.ly/L4yY3i
Why the color on a hummingbirds’ throat flashes http://bit.ly/JZ31qX
When did people start to feed hummingbirds? http://bit.ly/o8Y8HR

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