Recently I was reminiscing with my son about the summer we put hummingbird feeders in our backyard and how much fun it was to watch the birds and their antics. We discovered they had different personalities and different roles. One bird was always keeping a look out while others were feeding. There was a hierarchy to who could feed first and as we added more feeders territories were established.
In fact, it was so much fun that we got a little crazy with the feeders and ultimately had up to 20 or 30 hummingbirds at a time sharing their meals with us. We started having more of our meals outside in the evening so we could see what the birds were up to. Gradually some of my son's friends started joining us as well to watch the spectacle.
It is no small feat to get a group of teenagers to spend time with you (especially if you're basically doing nothing) and it was a great opportunity to just sit around and talk to each other. Of course, large amounts of food had to be present at all times but that just added to the enjoyment.
It's easy and inexpensive to create your own private bird sanctuary and doesn't require a lot of space. Feeders can be set up on a deck, patio, or from any tree in your yard. Feeders can be purchased at any garden center or on-line. I'm now expanding my bird sanctuary to include finches and hummingbirds. Both species are small and colorful and finches are also wonderful songbirds. Everyone needs their personal space so put the feeders a few feet apart and make sure they have visibility and access from all sides.
Humming bird feeders require nectar which can be made at home using ¼ cup of organic sugar to 1 cup of water. Boil together for a few minutes to dissolve the sugar and cool. If purchasing pre-made nectar, DO NOT use any brand that contains dyes. Nectar should be changed every 4-5 days.
Finch feeders (called finch socks) are mesh bags that you hang which look like a sock, contain thistle seed and are refillable. They can be hung in any location.
The link below has a variety of reasonably priced bird feeders and food if you would like to order online.
I'm excited to create a bird sanctuary to share with my grandchildren this summer. I hope that they will create the same wonderful memories that my son and I have and carry the tradition forward with their children.