6 Easy Ways You Can Bring Hummingbirds To Your Yard, And Prevent A Deadly Disease

Hummingbirds are some of the most adorable avian species known to humankind. We’ve devoted an entire industry to creative ways of keeping them happy with all the sugar water they can handle. But what many of our species may not understand about theirs is killing the birds off in record numbers.

Several species of hummingbirds, including the Rufous, Lucifer, and Allen’s, have been declining for years. And, while the archetypical example, Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, remains relatively prolific, there is still cause for concern.

Unlike the losses of other species, hummingbird deaths are typically not attributed to a disappearing food source or global climate change in North America, but most of these deaths are preventable if backyard birders would just take a few precautions.

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Severla hummingbird species are quickly declining in population.

Here is a list of ways to change your hummingbird care habits, and keep these creatures around for good:

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A clearn feeder means happy, healthy hummingbirds.

6. Get a bird feeder that’s easy to clean

Your birds will thank you for it! A bird feeder that comes apart for cleaning will a much healthier experience for those that show up in your yard. If the feeder does not disassemble, certain corners inside may be impossible to reach, even with a bottle brush, and black mold could develop (more on that later).

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Hummingbird feeders should either be attached to a window or wall, or at least 5 feet away.

5. Put it in the right spot

You can position the feeder close enough to your home so you can watch the birds sip for a spell, but make sure you don’t put them too close that they would fly into your windows by accident.

Some feeders can be suctioned to a window, which the birds can safely fly up to, but feeders placed just one or two feet away may lead to collisions as they try to navigate around. At least five feet of space between your home and feeder is recommended, if not more. Yard Envy recommends using a shepherds hook to hang a feeder at eye level.

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Hummingbirds prefer their nectar fresh.

4. Keep it Clean

With a feeder up and attracting birds, it’s also important to keep it clean throughout the season. An unclean feeder can pass along hummingbird candidiasis, a fungal tongue infection that causes the birds’ tongues to swell until they are physically unable to eat.

Eventually, the birds starve to death.

As horrific as this condition sounds, it is also preventable. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned after every refill, and if left out too long, may start to develop black smudges near feeding holes.

Click “next page” to see the most important things you can do to keep your local hummingbirds happy.

Matthew Russell is a West Michigan native and with a background in journalism, data analysis, cartography and design thinking. He likes to learn new things and solve old problems whenever possible, and enjoys bicycling, going to the dog park, spending time with his daughter, and coffee.
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