Hummingbirds are some of the smallest species of birds anywhere in the world with some birds being only 3-5inches in length.
Their name comes from the sound made by their wings that flap at such speeds they actually make a sound that we humans can hear.
Typically they beat their wings anywhere from 50 to 200 times per second depending on the species and this allows them to fly over 34mph as well as backwards or even upside down.
Due to their time size and high wing beating rate, they have the highest metabolism of any animal.
When food is scarce, they can go into a state called torpor, where their metabolic rate slows to 1/15th of their normal rate.
Hummingbirds drink nectar, which is the sweet liquid that is found inside certain flowers.
They have an automatic sense of which flowers have the highest amount of nectar in them in a similar manner to bees do.
They also eat insects and spiders to add the other elements of their diet, which aren’t met by the flowers.
Nearly every state in the USA is visited by a species or two of Hummingbirds, and some quite a few more.
This means that if you put out a specialist hummingbird feeder with the right food and have some patience, you could be rewarded with an amazing site.
Sitting on your patio, watching they feeding in your own garden or outside a window or on a balcony.
There are two options to hummingbird feeding; you can make your own or you can buy a ready-made mix that you add to water.
Both have its good points so here’s all the information for you to decide what suits you best.
The best homemade hummingbird food is simple: take one part white table sugar to four parts water and heat for a minute or two until the sugar dissolves. Allow it to cool then fill your feeders with it.
One thing to remember when making your own food is if your tap water contains chemicals.
If this is the case, it may be better to use purified or bottled water for it.
Simply boil the water first but make sure too much isn’t lost in the process as this could make the sugar content too heavy.
This is a problem because it will ferment quicker and clog the feeding ports of the specialist feeders.
The other option is to buy ready mix products to which you add water.
These can be the best option if you are short of time but still want to make up some food for your little friends.
It can also be the best option if you aren’t wholly confident making your own food.
Perky-Pet 234 Original Instant 2-Pound Hummingbird Nectar
These products often come in set sachets, so you just open them and add to water.
The water doesn’t even need to be boiling, so the process is very simple.
They use natural sweeteners so there are no harmful man-made sweeteners involved.
They also often mix up into a red colour that naturally attracts the birds.
The other option is a concentrate that works in a similar way. Typically, a 500ml bottle of red concentrate will make 2litres of nectar with the addition of more water.
Once made up, commercial hummingbird nectar can be kept in the fridge for up to a week.
All this talk of liquid makes complete sense when you see hummingbird feeders.
These are often brightly coloured customised feeders, which feature flower-shaped drinkers that will appear natural to the birds.
As they would a flower, they insert their beak into the flower-shaped drinker and receive the nectar you have made for them.
Perky Pet Hummingbird Pinch Waist Glass Bird Feeder
Hummingbirds eat on the wing the same as they do most things, so remember the position the feeder somewhere with enough room for the birds to safely approach.
Birds will also always approach a feeder if there is space around it for them to be certain no predators are lurking.
Therefore keep feeders a distance from bushes and trees so that the birds will gain the confidence to approach.
Remember to clean the feeders regularly with warm water, at least once a week or even more often if the weather is very warm.
This avoids the build-up of harmful bacteria as well as stops the feeders clogging up with the sugary substances.
One species, which can be seen in gardens in different parts of the country depending on the season, is the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
This little bird is 2.8-3.5inches long with a wingspan of 3.1-4.3 inches.
In the summer, it is found across eastern states then migrates southwards along the centre of the country and winters in Central America, as well as small population at the tip of Florida.
One of the most impressive things about these little birds is the route they take to travel across to their winter grounds: straight across the Gulf of Mexico.
This means they fly 500 miles, non-stop over water, a seemingly impossible task, which is only accomplished due to their tiny size.
They need to build up enough fat reserves to make this trip, so your handy garden feeder could potentially save the life of this tiny hummingbird by allowing it to build up the fuel it needs for its huge trip.