My mom loves birds (except blue jays, but that’s an entirely different story). Her backyard, resplendent with her flowers and fragrant with her vegetable garden, is also home to dozens of species of feathered friends. She catalogs them with a field guide to birds she keeps handy in her sunroom, which faces the yard on the back of my parents’ home. The well-thumbed-through book sits right next to the binoculars, for a better look at the birds, and the pellet gun.
Oops. Did I say that out loud? I can neither confirm nor deny that there MIGHT be a pellet gun in her sunroom. Not to hurt the birds, mind you, but to scare off the squirrels which are conniving and constantly finding their way into her bird feeders. She doesn’t hurt the squirrels either, just scares them a bit (not that it works long term, but it deters them for a few minutes, at least.)
All that aside, my mom must have a half dozen different varieties of bird feeders (she won’t stop until she finds one that is truly squirrel-proof). My favorite was always the hummingbird feeders because I am in awe of those amazing birds. I could sit for hours in my mom’s sunroom, and more recently on my own back porch, watching the dance of the hummingbirds as they swoop in to eat, defend their territory and execute age-old mating rituals with each other.
The hummingbird feeders on my back porch are constantly abuzz with activity. The food is super easy and super-inexpensive to make. Store bought hummingbird food and mixes often contain red dye, because hummingbirds are attracted to the color red.
Don’t use it.
It can be harmful to the birds. If the feeder itself doesn’t already contain the color red, then tie a red ribbon onto it. That’ll do the trick without harming the birds.
Homemade Hummingbird Food
1 cup Food Club sugar
4 cups water
This recipe is always in a 1:4 part ratio so make as much as you’d like at a time. You can store the leftovers in the fridge for up to two weeks.
Using a medium sauce pan, bring water to a boil. Slowly add in the sugar, stirring constantly. Once the sugar is added remove the boiler from the heat and continue to stir until the sugar is well blended.
Allow it to cool completely and add to your hummingbird feeder.
Another fun way to feed the birds and let your children in on the action is to make homemade bird feeders. We’ve all coated pine cones with peanut butter and birdseed, but I don’t have any pinecones in my yard. So my boys and I improvised and it works just as well.
Homemade Bird Feeders
1 empty cardboard toilet paper roll
Valu-Time bulk birdseed
Cover toilet paper roll in peanut butter. Roll in birdseed. Slip over a branch outside and watch the birds flock to their new feeder.