Hummers don't seem interested

jguardMay 26, 2010

Hi all. I'm new to attracting Hummingbirds. They seemed to come around last year with little effort. Now this year I'm in to amateur photography and would like to photograph them. I put out two feeders;one hanging and one sitting on the deck rail. One of my favorite birds to shoot are Blue Jays. And I've been quite successful in attracting them. So far, I've only seen 3 Hummers and they seem to care less about my feeders. Two of them hovered by them only for a second. Some questions I have:

1. what kind of food should be in the feeders

2. chipmunks are running wild in our yard and are getting close to the feeders, are they the problem?

3. Blue Jays. Are they keeping away the Hummers?

I don't have many Hummer friendly plants/flowers but there are a few. I will be adding more over the weekend. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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hummersr2cute(Zone 7)

I had an issue with hummers not seeming interested until I changed the food I was giving them. Although hummers love the color red - if you are feeding them the hummer food dyed with red food coloring, throw it out. The food coloring is not healthy for hummers, and this is probably why they are not frequenting your feeders. Instead, rinse out hummer feeder really well, and then mix 1 full cup of granulated sugar with enough water to fill up one hummer feeder. This will give them the nutrients they need and will be perfectly safe. After I made the switch, within less than a week, the hummer feeder was completely EMPTY. We now have at least 6 - 7 hummers that visit regularly.

Here are some other ideas you may want to consider to attract hummers....

1. Set your garden hose nozzle to MIST. Hummers love the water and a light mist will attract the birds. An idea: secure a post or 2 x 4 in the ground and attach your "mister" there. Soon, you will see hummers flying thru the mist.

2. Even if you don't have a lot of room for flowers, a couple shepherds hooks, some hanging baskets of flowers, and a small packet of butterfly/hummingbird mix flower seeds will help a great deal. First, Secure the shepherds hooks to the ground and hang the baskets on the hooks. Hummers love tube shaped flowers, so a great option would be Petunias - available at your local home center as well as places like WalMart. They are reasonably inexpensive, come in a variety of colors and add beauty to your yard. Next, in a large flower pot, sow the butterfly/hummer mix seeds and water well. This mixture is proven to attract hummers and a package will cost you less than a dollar at Dollar General.

Here's what I'm planning to do in my yard ASAP: Plant the butterfly/hummer mix in my side yard, put up the shepherds hooks with hanging baskets, and secure a post into the ground, attach my "mister" and plant a climbing rose at the base of the post. In time the roses will grow up and cover the post and I will have a beautiful little garden in my side yard that will attract hummers and butterflies -two of my favorite fluttery creatures!

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:32AM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

All good advice, though the below will not work for all feeders:

>>>Instead, rinse out hummer feeder really well, and then mix 1 full cup of granulated sugar with enough water to fill up one hummer feeder. These instructions might be good for your sized feeder, and I am assuming it is about a quart. This would probably give you between 1 part sugar to 3 parts water and 1 part to 4 parts mix which, if so, is fine. I have a 30 ounce feeder and a 32 ounce feeder, but I also have 12, 8 and 10 ounce feeders and one full cup sugar per feeder would not work in these situations.

Recommended mix is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, though there are people that use 1 to 3 ratio.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 12:50PM
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Thanks for the advice. I was using the red mix for food and I immediately changed it to filtered water and sugar per instructions. I also started misting the garden hose as well. I literally had 3 hummers immediately at my feeders. I think a total of 3, one a yearling for sure. I don't much about them so that's why I'm here. Thanks. I think I'll stick around here, you guys know your Hummingbirds.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 2:27PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Good for you iguard. Sounds like you have more hummers than I do.

Also be aware that you will need to change that sugar water fairly often. As often as a day if in direct sun and in the high '90's, and 3 or 4 if in the shade and much cooler.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 3:32PM
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Besides the previous advice I always say pictures are much better than words. I have a small yard and get more than my share of hummers so I have to pack in only the plants that work. The following will show you the kind of blooms hummers can use. Hope this helps.

salvia coral nymph

salvia lady in red

coral honeysuckle a sure winner needs support like this a fence or pole.

coral honeysuckle blooms

goldflame honeysuckle

salvia black and blue or in this case blue ensign. either is good same flower color and type.

salvia darcyi

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 3:33PM
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I'll be picking up some of those this weekend. Here is a picture of one visitor. They have been non stop all afternoon. One at time about 20mins apart.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 4:27PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

Wow... non stop all afternoon... Great! Some people are just lucky I guess. I have been feeding them for 3 years and if I get a few at sunrise and a few at sunset I am lucky.

Upon clicking on the link for the photo I get a message from my antivirus program stating that the site is not safe and that there are 4 threats there.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 8:11PM
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The link is my photobucket account. Should be fine. How do you post pictures?

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:11PM
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eigdeh(z6 NJ)

If you copy and paste the html code in the message the photo will appear right in your post. I believe photobucket has the link for you to copy right on the page with your photo.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2010 at 11:27PM
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It was a good day for Hummers.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 1:58AM
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Hmm, let's try this again.


    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 2:01AM
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Its the third link under your photo in photobucket starting with HTML. Be sure you copy the entire line of code by placing your cursor at beginning of link on the left drag it all the way across to highlight it and then stop with cursor just to the right of link but keep holding it down untill entire link is highlighted then release and copy and paste it in your message block.

    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 11:19AM
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    Bookmark   May 27, 2010 at 12:13PM
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terrene(5b MA)

Hummer steve, your hummingbird plants are gorgeous!

I grow Salvia 'Coral Nymph', 'Lady in Red', and 'Yvonnes' and the hummers love them here too.

Two native perennials that the hummingbirds go absolutely nuts over are the red bee balm, Monarda didyma, and Cardinal flower, Lobelia cardinalis. I don't put up a hummingbird feeder, but once these 2 plants start blooming I see hummers on those plants every 20 minutes or so during July and August.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2010 at 10:51PM
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Thanks Terrene-- I didnt have the coral nymph last year and really missed it . It just sets things off. Tried yvonnes one year didnt do well for some reason. Im trying bee balm and cardinal flower queen victoria and the native one this year.

jguard--- you need to resize your images either in a program or photobucket. I use a free program that is fast called faststone photo resizer to resize then send to photobucket. On faststone there is a place called advanced settings which will allow you to set the size. Either 640 x 480 or the next size bigger would be good for this forum.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2010 at 1:19AM
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