Before I start, I want to let you know that I am NOT an expert. Do your own research. Don’t cite this article.
We have a hummingbird feeder. It is owned by the birds. We service it on demand. IE: When it gets empty and the little buggers fly around with “that look”.
I’m not complaining. We enjoy watching them. They fly in, perch on the feeder, fight, hover around and do all sorts of things. Highly territorial, they act like children with a toy. Sometimes they will share and other times any other hummingbird that arrives is to be chased off.
Most of the little hummers we see are the Ruby-Throated. Small emerald-green backs that look like metal flake paint. Bright red throat that flashes and sparkles. They hover around, drink the “nectar” we provide, zoom off and return later for more.
Research gave us differing formulas for creating the nectar. All agreed that dye or coloring of any type was not needed … and could be harmful. Recipes varied from 1 cup of sugar to 2 cups of water to 1 cup sugar to 5 cups water. After trying the 1 to three and 1 to 5, we settled on the 1 sugar to 4 water. It seemed that most research suggested this ratio and we felt like the higher concentration of sugar made the little hummers more territorial. No science here, just our observations.
An interesting “problem” we had, and still have to some degree, is ants getting into the feeder. Hummingbirds are insect eaters and, yes, hummingbird do eat bugs and hummingbirds do eat ants and they also eat small insects such as mosquitoes, aphids, gnats, midges, caterpillars, flying ants, weevils, small beetles, whiteflies and insect eggs. So, if you can live with the ants while cleaning the feeder, let the ants visit … and become food for the hummingbirds. 😉 NOTE: This is just my thought, use your own judgment or follow that of an expert.
Yes, they do migrate. According to some sources, these little bundles of energy will migrate even if you still leave nectar out for them, so don’t worry about them hanging around instead of migrating in the fall and winter.
I am rather fond of Wikipedia. I found the Hummingbird page to be interesting.
We have one feeder that hangs on a dual Shepard’s hook pole close to the porch of our house. We plan to have a second one for next year. There goes the food budget!
Of course, all the hummers fly off if someone walks out the door, but if you stay still, they will come back. Yes, you can get them to eat out of your hand, literally. Probably not a good idea, tough. But it is interesting to be hanging the feeder out and have one hum by your head. 😀
All in all, if you are in an area where there are hummingbirds, feed them. Watch them. Enjoy them. My wife and I do.