It's that time of year when people start bringing out the spring and summer outdoor decorations and garden supplies. Lawn chairs and picnic tables emerge from their winter storage locations, fresh mulch gets spread around walkways, and feeders go up on tree branches and hooks in the yard.
While feeding local wildlife is a great thing, there are a few important things to keep in mind if you plan on feeding hummingbirds in the Hudson Valley this spring and summer.

Hummingbirds in the Hudson Valley

Late April/early May is the time we can begin to see hummingbirds here in the Hudson Valley, did you know that it's common for the male hummingbirds to migrate first, and arrive in the area a week or so before females?
Anyway, once they're here and hungry, they'll be eager to find the food that you've left out for them, so make sure you're feeding the hummingbirds safely this year.
Djalma Pavia Armelin for Canva
Djalma Pavia Armelin for Canva

What Do I Feed Hummingbirds?

According to the experts at the Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, there's a pretty simple recipe for hummingbird food:
  • 1 part sugar with 4 parts water (so for example, 1 cup sugar with 4 cups water) - mix until sugar is dissolved and add to feeder.
  • Extra sugar water can be stored in the fridge.
It is advised to change the water every couple of days, especially in the warmer temperatures because it can start to ferment if left out for too long.  Some experts even advise not to use the store bought hummingbird food because it contains preservatives that can be harmful as well.  Recipes and tips for feeding hummingbirds can be found here.
Steve Crowhurst for Canva
Steve Crowhurst for Canva

What To Avoid Feeding Hummingbirds?

Other combinations can be harmful, even fatal to hummingbirds.  You can read more about ingredients that are dangerous to hummingbirds here. Sometimes the types of sugar combinations can cause hummingbirds to not be able to use their tongues due to fungal spores that form as a result of sugars.  Here's what to avoid:
  • honey (this is fatal to these birds)
  • food coloring
  • artificial sweeteners
  • other forms of sugar like organic, raw, brown sugar, powdered sugar, etc.
  • no toxic coloring (think kool-aid mix or similar) - some people think adding red to the water/sugar combo will attract the birds, but the red coloring on the feeder itself is enough to get their attention
Nicman for Canva, bdspinimage for Canva, DAPA images, Juanmonino for Canva
Nicman for Canva, bdspinimage for Canva, DAPA images, Juanmonino for Canva

Who Let The Bees Out?

Don't want bees swarming around your feeders?  Try filling just below the fill line on the feeder and don't let the sugar/water combination splash on the outside to avoid unwanted buzzing bees.

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