Scene in Edmonds: Fight of the hummingbirds

Julia Wiese captured this confrontation between two hummingbirds — a Rufous and an Anna’s — who came to her deck.

  1. My son got me a hummingbird feeder and liquid for my birthday. I have had it on my patio since March and have had very few hummingbirds swing by for a drink. I put up a flower basket close by thinking that would encourage them when they saw the bright colored flowers. One came by yesterday and I was thrilled. HELP

    1. Hi Judy,

      You don’t need a special mix for the hummingbirds. The standard is 1 part sugar to four parts water. I use 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup water and no food coloring. I bring the water to a boil, add the sugar and stir until it all dissolves. Wait until it has cooled before setting it out. I change it every couple days because it can cause serious problems for hummingbirds to drink water that has been sitting out too long. I alternate between two feeders so that I can put one out while the other is in getting scrubbed. My feeder is on a hook that is in a pot about 8’ away from our unit. Other people do fine with feeders close to the home. I think clean water is the key. Eventually they will find it. Good luck!

    2. Ms. Wiese is correct, use white sugar (4 parts) to one part boiled tap water. Use the good stuff (“C&H Baker’s Sugar” dissolves real fast, and is very pure). Don’t use any dyes/food colouring, and no other sweeteners like honey or syrup (it will kill them). Put the feeder at “flower level” if you can, because that is where they usually operate at feeding time (although higher levels work just fine too).

      At this time of year they are busy feeding off regular flowers/plants/insects, so don’t be surprised if they only visit your feeder infrequently, but they will come. Back in the winter when we had that cold snap and snow I had 7 feeders out, and I would put them out at 5:30 am so that they wouldn’t freeze overnight. Each “feeding station” would already have one Hummer waiting for breakfast to be put out (they are territorial to the point of being quite mean to each other). In the winter is when they are all over the place, and once they establish a territory that will be “their feeder” from that point on.

      Good luck!

      1. Paul, I think you may have mixed up your proportions, I believe it should be 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, correct?

    3. I want to thank everyone who gave me information regarding hummingbirds. It seems that I was doing everything correctly. Maybe I was just impatient with wanting them to show up at my new bird feeder. Saw two yesterday getting a drink. They didn’t stay long and will those two be back? They were brown in color. Yippee…..

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