Marion County Naturalist Marla Mertz says that the record warmth we experienced in March has caused lots of early activity in nature. Mertz tells KNIA/KRLS News that some hummingbirds have already been spotted and more are on the way. People with hummingbird feeders are encouraged to get them out. She also says that people shouldn’t be afraid to leave those feeders out for a lengthy period of time. Contrary to popular belief, hummingbirds won’t stick around just because they have food in the area. Mertz says that their migration patterns are innate. Those feeders are needed for some of the late-arriving juvenile birds. She says that if you do buy store-bought food, try to avoid those products with red dye in it. It’s not necessary to attract the hummingbirds, she says, and it’s just an extra by-product that they don’t need.
Here is a recipe that Mertz recommends:
Use a 4 parts water to 1 part sugar ratio.
Add water to your pan and place on stove and bring to a boil.
Add sugar – remember to keep your ratio correct so that your end product is like flower nectar – for example 4 cups water to 1 cup sugar, 2 cups water to 1/2 cup sugar.
Stir the sugar until it dissolves and boil the water for 2 minutes – if you boil too long, you’ll boil off too much water and the ratio will not be right.
Take pan off heat and let cool.
Fill your feeder and store the remainder of homemade food in a tight-fitting jar or bottle in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks.
The nectar in the feeder will turn cloudy when it needs to be changed.
Clean your feeder each time you change out the homemade food.