Once you’ve gotten hummingbirds to come to your garden, you’ll want it to be a safe, hospitable environment, where they can flourish. Therefore, there are some safety measures that you should take, so that you don’t inadvertently cause them any harm.
One important point to remember is that hummingbirds have very tiny, sensitive organs, which cannot tolerate certain things. Pesticides are tops on this list; but, as we’ve already established, you won’t have to use them in a hummingbird garden, as the bugs will be exterminated by the birds.
Moreover, hummingbirds cannot stomach food coloring, or dye of any kind, so don’t buy any commercial brand of hummingbird food that is colored. Although it is advisable to have supplemental hummingbird feeders in your garden, the best, and most economical, thing to do is to make your own nectar. Not only is it simple, but, as long as you follow the strict, yet very easy, guidelines, it’s the safest and healthiest thing for the hummingbirds.
All you need is one cup of pure, granulated sugar, and four cups of boiling water. Just put the water into a large bowl, add and mix the sugar until it is dissolved, and place it in the refrigerator to cool. That’s all there is to it. The main thing is to use only pure, granulated sugar, as any other sugar will have a different chemical makeup, and can cause a hummingbird to get sick, or even die. Never use brown or powdered sugar, saccharin, or any other type of sugar or sugar substitute, maple syrup, or any other kind of syrup, or any of the kids’ drink mixes.
Because you won’t be using food coloring, make sure that your birdfeeder is colorful. Most of the commercial ones will have plastic, trumpet-shaped flowers on them; but you can also make your own feeders, using old bottles that have been thoroughly cleaned, and decorate them with the red or orange fluorescent flagging tape that surveyors use.
Among the other dangers facing hummingbirds, cats pose the biggest threat, especially when the birds are hovering close to the ground. This is another good reason to train flowers up arbors, trellises, pergolas, and gazebos, where the birds can feed out of the reach of cats. Even if you have very little room for a garden, you can use a Skyscraper Garden™ Trellis, which takes up only four square feet of space, and can be used alone, or against a wall, even on terraces or patios.
Once hummingbirds start visiting your garden, you’ll want to be able to enjoy watching them while you’re lazing in your hammock or lounge chair, eating at your outdoor dining table, or having cocktails at your bistro set. Although, at first, they may scatter when they see you approaching, you can help them get used to you, by spending a little more time in the area. Start by sitting quietly and, perhaps, having your morning coffee, at your picnic table, or on your porch swing, or outdoor rocking chair.
You’ll be surprised how bold they will get when they become familiar with you. Eventually, they may even start greeting you by playfully zipping around your head. If this happens, though, let’s just hope that you’re fully awake, so that you don’t mistake a hummingbird for a fly, and swat it with your morning newspaper.