The Importance of Feeding Hummingbirds Throughout the Winter
Now that the weather is cooling down, you might be thinking it's time to bring your hummingbird feeder in for the winter. Actually, it's important to keep your hummingbird feeder operational all winter to ensure these beautiful birds get the care they need to make it to spring.
Stop by Pets on Broadway for one-on-one advice on how to care for your home's hummingbirds all winter long.
Don't Hummingbirds Migrate?
Most people assume all hummingbirds migrate south for the winter. While many species of hummingbirds do migrate, some species, like Anna's hummingbird, are year-round residents of the west coast. Hummingbirds that are too old, too young, or too weak to migrate are especially vulnerable to the perils of the winter months.
Additionally, many homeowners don't realize that their feeders may be on the migration path for hummingbirds that are traveling south. These birds travel more than 20 miles a day and need extra care to survive the long journey.
Hummingbirds Need Access to Food all Winter
Hummingbirds that hang around require continuous access to food all winter long. Unfortunately, during the winter, most plants are not producing nectar (hummingbird food!). Hummingbirds can starve if they go more than a few hours without food, so access to hummingbird feeders is even more important during the winter months.
Pro tip: Visit our sister store, Plants on Broadway, for advice on planting a hummingbird-friendly garden this spring!
Winter-Friendly Hummingbird Feeders
Now that you know how important it is to feed hummingbirds all winter, you might be wondering how to make a winter-friendly hummingbird feeder.
How to Make a Hummingbird Feeder at Home
You don't need a fancy feeder to keep your hummingbirds fed all winter—all you need is a plastic bottle with a cap (like a soda bottle), a straw, a metal coat hanger, and some food-safe sealant.
Start by sterilizing the straw, bottle, and cap in boiling water, then drill a small hole in the cap. Insert the straw halfway through the hole in the cap. Seal the straw to the cap on both sides.
Next, straighten out the hanger and then wrap it around your bottle, leaving a hook on the end farthest from the bottle's top.
Fill the bottle with hummingbird nectar (keep reading for a tutorial!), screw on the bottle cap, hang your feeder, and enjoy feeding beautiful hummingbirds all year long!
DIY Hummingbird Nectar
To make hummingbird nectar, stir 1 cup of sugar into 4 cups of water until dissolved. Do not add red dye to your homemade nectar or purchase red-dyed nectar for your feeder. Red dye nectar may cause severe health problems for hummingbirds. If you're concerned that your hummingbird might not see your feeder, use a red straw or red coat hanger when making your feeder.
How to Make Sure Your Hummingbird Nectar Doesn't Freeze
Consider bringing your hummingbird feeder in overnight or insulating it with old socks or gloves to help keep it from freezing. For more ideas on how to keep your feeder from freezing, check out this article.
Hummingbirds are amazing creatures, and maintaining a winter feeder helps them thrive for years to come. Visit Pets on Broadway for quality hummingbird feeders and food.