Hummingbirds are one of nature’s most inimitable creatures. They are well-known for their fast-beating wings, which have been recorded to flutter for as quick as 80 times per second. Equally fascinating are their long, thin beaks that they use to extract nectars from flowers. Nonetheless, when it comes to more detailed information regarding these extraordinary birds, not a lot of people are probably aware of just what they eat.
For one, did you know that they also have one of the fastest metabolisms among birds? If you’re lucky enough to have these lovely birds as regular visitors to your backyard, you’re probably wondering about what food you should give to them. With that said, here are some of the most pertinent hummingbird food information for backyard birders who are planning to lay out a backyard feast for their hummers.
Good, Old Sugar Water
If there is one staple food that feeders give to hummingbirds, it’s sugar water. It fits their energetic characteristics perfectly, as it is able to provide them with all the necessary energy they need daily. It’s also basically a direct alternative of the flower nectar that they get from the wild. It’s very easy to make sugar water, as it’s basically just syrup made from dissolving sugar in water. Take note that white cane sugar is recommended, with a water-sugar ratio of 4:1. Tap water is fine and is actually more advisable than distilled water since it would be able to provide the hummers with some of their mineral requirements that is absent in the latter.
Your Options are Not Limited to Sugar Water
Hummingbirds are good bug hunters as well. Eating these bugs is necessary for hummingbirds to get the nutrients that they won’t be able to acquire from plain sugar water. Protein, for one, can be found in most flies, which hummers like to eat as well. It actually works in a wholly synergistic way since the sucrose found in sugar water would provide them with all the energy they need to start catching insects for their protein, fat and salt requirements.
One way of helping your birds get their fill of these bugs is by using overripe fruit – though a banana peel would do best – to attract the latter. These peels wouldn’t take long to be swarmed by flies, and thus, would be able to provide your little hummers with a bug smorgasbord in no time. With that said, hummingbirds don’t solely eat flies as they are also capable enough to pluck other kinds of insects, whether they’re stuck on spider webs or perched on barks and branches.
Other Natural Food Sources for Hummingbirds
Besides nectar, did you know that hummers also eat the sap of trees? Most of them consider it as a secondary option, though, as it is not as tasty as nectar and does not contain as much sugar as the latter. Lastly, no matter how bewildering it might sound, one other interesting thing to note is that hummingbirds have also been observed to eat ash and sand, but only in very minimal quantities. Experts have claimed that these are adequate enough to fulfill their mineral requirements, after all. Nonetheless, this claim is still being fully verified via more thorough research and observation of hummingbird behavior.