Neglected feeders kill hummingbirds

Don't put out feeders if you are not prepared to maintain them!

Hummingbirds are very small, with very small organs, and even a little bit of bacteria can be harmful or deadly!

Many people put out hummingbird feeders, full with nectar, and don't bother to change the nectar or clean the feeders if the hummingbirds don't drink all the nectar. Or, they are just too lazy to change and clean the feeders on a regular basis. In those cases, it would be better to let the hummingbirds find other food sources, either natural or from other people who have the time to properly maintain the feeders.

According to Audubon:

In hot weather, the feeder should be emptied and cleaned twice per week. In cooler weather, once per week is enough. If your hummingbirds empty the feeder with greater frequency, clean it every time it’s empty. Cleaning with hot tap water works fine, or use a weak vinegar solution. Avoid using dish soaps, as this can leave harmful residue in the feeder.

If you're not prepared to do this, then do NOT put out hummingbird feeders! Hummingbird nectar can become cloudy with bacteria, and/or black mold or fungus can begin to form. This can lead to various health issues and death. One such condition is Candidiasis, in which the hummingbird's tongue gets swollen and they can't retract it or feed, causing them to slowly starve to death.

If you don't have a lot of hummingbirds at your feeders, then instead of just leaving full feeders out and waiting for them to drink it all, just put a little bit of nectar in your feeders so that you don't waste as much when you change and clean the feeders if there aren't enough hummingbirds to drink it all in a few days. If you make bigger batches than needed, you can just partially fill the feeders and put the rest in the fridge to use when you clean and refill the feeders.

I regularly have 5 to 6 feeders in our backyard garden, and since we have a large number of hummingbirds, I'm changing them out every 2 to 3 days, when they are mostly empty. I use the First Nature hummingbird feeders which are very easy to take apart and clean. I use hot water and scrub out the feeders with a couple different types of toothbrushes and a pipe cleaner for the feeding ports. I do this every time I change the feeders, dumping out any remaining nectar and creating a new fresh batch of nectar to use after the feeders have been cleaned and are dry.


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