Juvenile male calliope. (Photo submitted: Karen Siemens)

Help the hummingbirds this spring

Check out these helpful hummingbird hints from the North Okanagan Naturalists Club

Karen Siemens

North Okanagan Naturalists Club

Hummingbirds will start to arrive in the Okanagan this month.

They have used their fat reserves to reach their breeding grounds and are hungry. By putting out feeders, you are providing a supplementary food source and need to make sure you are doing it correctly so it helps the birds, doesn’t harm them.

If you are not able to consistently feed the birds from April through August, then rely on your plants to feed them.

Keep your feeders clean, make our own food and supply plants that they love.

Hummingbird feeding hints:

• Clean feeders — clean with hot water (no soap). Feeders should be completely dismantled and feeding ports taken apart. Use a bottle brush for inverted feeders and pipe cleaners for the small holes. Every time you refill the feeder, take it apart and rinse it with hot water. Twice a week use the brush and pipe cleaners to ensure it’s clean. Black mould is a death sentence to hummingbirds. If there is any sign of it, soak the feeder for one hour in a mixture of 1/4 cup of bleach to one gallon of water. Rinse the parts several times in hot water to remove all traces of the bleach. Glass feeders are the best. If you buy plastic make sure it is food grade plastic or UV stabilized plastic. That will ensures there is no chemical leakage into the food the birds eat. Cheap plastic disintegrates and will contaminate the food. Whether you use inverted feeders or the basin style, make sure that the feeder can be completely dismantled for cleaning.

• Food—the best food for humming birds is made by you. Here’s a recipe: One part white sugar to four parts water. Boil water in a pot then add the sugar, or you may add boiling water from a kettle to sugar, stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Cool to room temperature before filling feeder. You can store this in the fridge for seven days. Never use brown sugar, honey or sugar substitutes as they contain components that will harm the birds. Do not use red dye (the red on the feeder is all that is needed to attract them) and do not add scent. If the food is cloudy it is bad, clean the feeder and refill. Even though it may not look like it, the food can go bad quickly in hot weather. To avoid mould, change your food frequently and err on the side of caution. If the temperature is be 25 C or less, change the food every four days. If it is between 25 C and 30 C, change the food every two days, and if it’s over 30 C, replace it every day. Only fill the feeder with what is being used between cleanings.

• Plants—you may already have perennial hummingbird plants in your garden like bee balm, bleeding hearts, columbine, foxglove, honeysuckle, joe pye plant and Russian sage to name a few, but you can accent those plants with annuals in containers or hanging baskets, such as be salvia, fuchsia, snapdragons, verbena, zinnia and the old favourite petunias. Keep your hanging baskets beyond the reach of predators.

For more information on hummingbirds go to rpbo.org/hummingbirds.php Rocky Point Bird Observatory located in Victoria, BC.

Related: Vernon is home to hummingbirds

Related: Club monitors hummingbirds

Generic Sig

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Vernon Fire Rescue Services responded to a vehicle that crashed into a Vernon home on 17th Street Sunday, Oct. 25, 2020. (City of Vernon photo)
Vernon woman faces drunk driving charges after crashing Mustang into house

Three reported sustaining minor injuries in Sunday incident

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
BREAKING: Police situation unfolding in Lumby

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

(RCMP)
Six charged in 2018 Lumby drug lab bust

Bust one of province’s biggest, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, two men still loose

Multiple motor vehicle incidents stalled traffic between Kelowna and Vernon on Highway 97 after a morning snowfall Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Pam Wiebe Brunsdon - Facebook)
Highway 97 traffic stalled by collisions on slick roads

Vernon-Kelowna commute slowed due to multiple accidents after morning snowfall

x
Morning Start: Bubble wrap was originally intended to be wallpaper

Your morning start for Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Penticton Indian Band is opposing any hunting of local big horn sheep which are an at-risk population. (submitted photo)
Penticton Indian Band oppose big horn sheep hunts

Local big horn sheep are an at-risk population

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

An Instagram post from Matty Rebman shows his injuries as well as a plea to the driver who struck him. (Instagram/Matty Rebman)
Hit and run kills dog, severely injures West Kelowna man

The car was abandoned but police could not locate its driver

École de l’Anse-au-sable. (Google Maps)
COVID-19 outbreak forces closure of Kelowna school

French-language school École de l’Anse-au-sable will remain closed until Nov. 4

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Game Cave’s owner, Trevor Sparreboom, is a self-described “hardcore video game collector.” (Jesse Day - Western News)
Gamers flock to new retro video game shop in Penticton

‘It’s like candy land for gamers,’ said one loyal customer

Most Read