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Feeders Can Become Dirty Enough To Kill Visiting Hummingbirds

I'll admit that I wasn't really a big animal person as a kid, but I think everyone goes through that stage where they want a pet. And as most people who made that request can recall, that was only possible on the condition that we accept responsibility for its feeding, cleanliness, and overall care.

And of course, those are all terribly important conditions because those who would neglect a pet in any of those areas might as well not have one at all.

However, it turns out that this isn't just the case for those who want an animal in their lives full-time. Even if you've set up your yard as a place that's attractive for animals to pass through from time to time, it's important to have the same level of attentiveness.

There's something lovely about seeing how many adorable little birds can stop by when you put a feeder in your yard.

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But those peaceful moments of watching cute little hummingbirds like this one frolic around your feeder are the reward for the effort that goes into keeping the feeder clean and well-cared for.

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And that's a message that those working at the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center in Huntington Beach, California are serious about imparting.

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As The Orange County Register reported, this rehabilitation center admits between 200 and 400 hummingbirds a year and many of them show up with serious bacterial and fungal infections borne from dirty feeders.

Considering the number of orphaned baby birds they see, it's clear that these infections can be deadly for hummingbirds.

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It's for this reason that the center's policy on hummingbird feeders is, "Please do it right or don’t do it at all."

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And if you're doing it right, the feeder shouldn't have any mold in it and the sugar water solution or nectar put into it shouldn't seem cloudy.

It's best to clean the feeder and replace the solution every two to three days.

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It's also reccommended to get a feeder without any nooks or other recesses in them, as these make it harder to clean.

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Speaking of which, the care center advises cleaning it by taking it down and rinsing it thoroughly in hot water while using white vinegar as a cleaning agent.

They recommend this over soap because hummingbirds tend to avoid feeders with any soapy residue in them.

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As for the sugar solution, they advise using one cup of sugar for every four cups of water.

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This is the ideal balance because too much sugar can damage the birds' liver and kidneys, while insufficient sugar leaves them without the calories they need.

If you're making nectar, they advise measuring out more water than you'll need because you're supposed to boil it for three minutes and that will evaporate some of it. Once the water is boiled, you can mix in the sugar and stir. This nectar can be stored in the fridge in a glass container for up to two weeks.

Finally, hang the feeder in a shady area where cats can't reach it.

Armed with those instructions, you should end up with a feeder that's pleasant for both you and the birds that stop by.

h/t: The Orange County Register

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