Keeping your hummingbirds safe

  • Jun. 8, 2018 1:30 a.m.

The folks at MARS Wildlife rescue recommend that you clean your hummingbird feeder at least once a week or at any time when the feeder needs refilling.

Many of us have Hummingbird feeders out at this time of year – not because the birds need feeding (they do in the fall and winter months) – but because these fabulous little birds give us such pleasure to watch.

It is essential to keep your feeder-free from mould, which proliferates on the feeders. If a hummingbird ingests this mould, it will damage its internal organs and result in death. It is therefore incumbent upon you to ensure that when you place nectar out for the birds that your feeders are kept free from anything that can cause harm.

The folks at MARS Wildlife rescue recommend that you clean your feeder at least once a week or at any time when the feeder needs refilling.

There are many ways to clean the feeders; soap and hot water can work well, as will baking soda and hot water. To ensure a good deep clean and to get rid of any nasty mould, a good soak in a diluted solution of chlorine bleach will prove effective. Less toxic alternatives include white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide. Follow this treatment with a good scrub of all parts of the feeders including the ports to ensure that no trace of mould remains. You may want to collect some old toothbrushes, baby- bottle brushes and even a well-washed mascara brush may help do the trick, but you can also purchase specific brushes for cleaning hummingbird feeders.

Follow these steps with a good rinse and to ensure that no debris or cleaning residue remains and then allow the feeder to dry before refilling.

If you really cannot commit to good hygiene for your feeder, then both you and the hummingbirds would be better served by planting some flowers that will attract the birds. Brightly-coloured tubular flowers are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. These include columbines, daylilies, fuchsia and lupines and many common annuals such as impatiens and petunias.

One final note of advice for keeping your Hummingbirds safe: don’t put your feeder too near to a window as the birds can and do fly into the glass and injure themselves.

ABOUT MARS WILDLIFE RESCUE CENTRE

MARS Wildlife Rescue is a charitable organization founded in 1995. Primarily run by volunteers, it is committed to the treatment and subsequent release of native wildlife that is ill, injured, orphaned or oiled. The vast majority of animals and birds that are in need of care are affected in some manner by human activities.

MARS provides a safe, stress-free environment, for ailing wildlife to recover. MARS also educates the general public about wildlife issue through lectures, displays, workshops, reports and publications. It is also committed to the conservation of wildlife and wildlife habitat.

MARS is dependent upon charitable donations in order to carry out their work.