Hummingbird Safety: 5 Easy Ways to Protect Your Hummingbirds
Attracting hummingbirds to your yard with a Perky-Pet® hummingbird feeder is a wonderful experience. You’ll spend hours enjoying the sight of hummers as they dart around your yard and hover at your feeder for some tasty nectar.
But by tempting the tiny creatures into your yard, it’s also important that you do what you can to protect them from dangers that you or the world around them have created. Hummingbird safety should be on the top of your mind. Here are five simple things to keep in mind.
1. Limit Pesticide Use
Just like any animal, hummingbirds are vulnerable to ingesting and absorbing pesticides. It is estimated by the EPA that as many as 67 million birds are killed by pesticides in the United States each year, and millions more suffer from reduced breeding success as a result of poisonings. Obviously, sometimes it is necessary to protect your plants, or yourself from pests that invade your yard and home. But if you use chemicals to control insects or weeds, make sure you do it in a way that won’t hurt your little guests:
- Avoid spraying near open sources of water or near your hummingbird feeder.
- Don’t use chemicals on flowers and plants that hummingbirds may use for additional food sources.
- Use a non-chemical method for fighting pests.
2. Position Your Hummingbird Feeders to Avoid Predators
Hummingbirds are vulnerable to predators, just like any other creature. A little hummer makes a tasty snack for cats, birds of prey, and anything else fast enough to snatch one from the sky.
That’s why it’s important to post a hummingbird feeder near some sort of tree, bush, or other area of cover. We suggest placing your hummingbird feeders within 15 feet of shelter. Then, when the hummingbird senses danger, it’s just a short flight to some much needed cover.
You also want to keep your hummingbird feeder four or more feet off the ground. That will reduce the chances a cat or dog can leap at them while your hummingbirds stop to feed.
3. Change Hummingbird Nectar Regularly
Whether it’s a Perky-Pet® formula or a simple homemade 1:4 sugar solution, your nectar can go bad quickly when it’s too hot. Likewise, any mix that’s left out for too long, even in mild weather, will spoil. During hot weather, you should plan to change the nectar supply every two days. In midler weather, change it every week. Luckily, we offer Top-Fill Hummingbird Feeders that make it easier than ever to empty, clean and refill with fresh nectar!
4. Know What to do with Windows
Even more than other birds, hummingbirds are particularly vulnerable to collisions with windows. Often such impacts are fatal to hummingbirds because of their speed while in flight.
Why do birds fly straight at a window? In most cases, they’re confused by the reflection in a window. In the reflection, they see trees or an open sky and think it’s safe to fly there. To protect hummingbirds from such collisions, make sure your feeders are 15 to 20 feet from any window. Doing so greatly reduces the chance they’ll take that particular route.
Alternatively, you could try hanging a window feeder for hummingbirds. It may seem counterintuitive, but actually, having a feeder attached directly to the window should entice them to slow down and investigate rather than speed along, allowing them to see the glass barrier.
Finally, you can apply some window clings or other coverings to your windows to help reduce the reflection. These should help alert birds of an upcoming obstacle.
5. Set a Cleaning Routine
It’s important for you to keep your hummingbird feeder clean. Once mold and bacteria starts growing inside a feeder simply emptying it isn’t enough to destroy those germs, which can be incredibly harmful to hummingbirds. You shouldn't be waiting for hummingbirds to empty the feeder before cleaning.
When the weather is consistently hot and humid, nectar can ferment much more quickly. In such instances, feeders need cleaned more frequently to prevent buildup of mold - clean at least every few days. Give it feeders a thorough cleaning with a mini mop and hot soapy water, soaking may be needed if you already have mold. Rinse well and make sure no soapy residue is left inside.
Want to Do More?
Following these guidelines won’t make your hummingbirds 100 percent safe, but it’s another step toward keeping these charismatic creatures happy and healthy.
At Perky-Pet® we love learning about hummingbirds and sharing our knowledge with likeminded birding enthusiasts. Want to join in on the fun? Share your pictures, stories, and advice with us on Facebook or our Birding Community. You can also subscribe to our e-newsletter to stay up to date with our birding advice, new products, and exclusive offers.