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Tom O’Hare says it’s time to put out your hummingbird feeders!

The birds are back

It’s that time of year - the hummingbirds are returning to Northern Michigan!

They typically arrive either in late April or early May.

The recent spike in spring weather has made a difference. Temperatures have risen into the 60s and 70s at times, and we’ve had plenty of rainfall. You can see some plants are really popping, and the grass is greening up. I’m sure some of you are already mowing!

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If you normally see hummingbirds, now is the time to make sure your feeder or feeders are ready.

Here is what to do: Thoroughly wash your feeder and let it dry. You can buy sugar water at the store or make it yourself.

How do you make it? Simply boil 1 cup of water, add 1/4 cup of refined white sugar, stir until the sugar is gone (dissolved), then let it cool down. Fill up your feeder.

*DO NOT add red food coloring or honey - this can be harmful to the birds*


You can make larger amounts of nectar. The key thing is to keep the ratio of sugar to water at a 1 to 4 ratio. (1 cup of sugar/ 4 cups of water) You can store the extra nectar in your refrigerator for about a week.

There are several ways to make nectar and some organizations note you don’t need to boil water, others say you do. I feel it’s best to boil off any contaminants that might be there.

Another question is how long can the nectar stay out before being replaced. The general rule of thumb is if it’s around 60 degrees, then leaving the nectar out for 2 or 3 days is ok. But when the heat is on with temps around 90, the nectar can spoil in just 1 day. Replace and clean the feeders frequently when it’s hot.

Don’t give up hope if you don’t see one until late May or early June.


While some hummingbirds have arrived, there are plenty more coming.

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