Hummingbirds are fleeting, but still are very enjoyable to watch as they seemingly stand in place right in mid-air. And, since hummingbirds usually arrive in the Adirondack region in mid-may, there’s no better time than the present to prepare for their arrival. If you’re interested in attracting hummingbirds to your home, here are a few things you can do to put out the welcome mat for our ruby-throated friends.
Put out a hummingbird feeder: You can find hummingbird feeders at most general stores, like Charlie Johns in Speculator. They generally have a red colored reservoir which holds the hummingbird nectar, which is available in an instant mix or can be made by combining one part sugar, four parts water, boiling for one to two minutes, and cooling and storing in refrigerator. You should never feed hummingbirds honey or artificial sugars. And, don’t put red dye in your solution – the feeder’s red color will be sufficient at attracting the birds.
Also, keep in mind that choosing to feed hummingbirds requires commitment on your part. You can’t just fill the feeder and leave it up all summer long. It will need to be cleaned, and fresh nectar will need to be added, every three to four days. In very hot weather, more maintenance may be required. Plan on maintaining your hummingbird feeder through Labor Day, when the hummingbirds begin their migration to warmer climes.
Generally, hummingbirds will be attracted to the feeder naturally because of the red color, but if you’re worried the feeder isn’t hummingbird-friendly, try tying a red ribbon on it. And, place it near flowers that hummingbirds are attracted to, which we’ll talk about next.
Plant a hummingbird garden: If you’d like to attract more hummingbirds to your Adirondack home, you might want to consider planting a hummingbird garden in addition to your feeder. There are many varieties of plants and flowers that hummingbirds are attracted to, including: azalea, butterfly bush, honeysuckle, mimosa, morning glory, bee balm, columbine, foxglove, and of course, hummingbird mint.
For those planning a hummingbird garden in Speculator, NY, keep in mind that Charlie Johns’ gardening department offers these plants, as well as many hummingbird-friendly annuals and all the tools you’ll need to plant your garden, including topsoil, plant food and tools. They’ll help you find everything you need, and can give you tips on planting as well.
Please remember – if you plan to grow a hummingbird garden, you’ll want to keep it free from insecticides. This is for a couple of reasons. First of all, insecticides kill the small insects hummingbirds rely on for protein. (They don’t live on nectar alone.) And most importantly, the hummingbirds might directly ingest the chemicals you meant for the bugs, which could sicken or kill the birds.
Bringing hummingbirds to your Adirondack home is probably easier than you think. Just by adding a hummingbird feeder and a few plants that they like will almost surely draw the tiny birds to your home. Hummingbirds are relentless in their quest for food, so if you provide it, they’ll likely become dinner guests in no time.