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Here's how to attract those hummers!

Photo by Jeffrey L. Stone

It's that time of year to put out hummingbird feeders. If you have never attracted them before, it's not too late. Offer the birds a feeder especially designed for them. Fill it with homemade nectar (one part white sugar to 4 parts water; boil so it won't spoil; refrigerate to keep fresh) and keep the nectar fresh in the feeder by changing it often during hot weather. Remember, NO RED FOOD COLORING, which is harmful in the nectar.


Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell and rely on bright colors to find their food. Other ways to entice this smallest of all birds is to plant flowers that attract them either in flower beds or pots.


Plant annual flowers that are orange or red. Suggestions for attractive perennials are bee balm, butterfly bush, columbine, coral bells, larkspur, red hot poker, and phlox. I have even tied red ribbons on the feeder pole to add even more excitement for the hummingbirds to find the feeder.


All kinds of interesting facts about hummingbirds that do not sing can be found online. Check out sites such as Indiana Audubon, American Birding Association and Cornell Lab.

I encourage you to try attracting them for they will give you hours of entertainment and joy. You can put out feeders any time during May through early October in Indiana.


Brandt Carter is a local bird enthusiast as well as a puppy trainer for Canine Companions therapy dogs. She and her husband own Backyard Birds, 2374 E. 54th St., Indianapolis 46220. Brandt's column appears in The Broad Ripple Gazette. To subscribe, visit




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