Watching, Attracting and Feeding Birds in New York
with Sam Crowe
Sugar water for Hummingbirds and Orioles
Hummingbirds are popular with almost everyone. Feeders are inexpensive. Nectar can be purchased in a pre-mixed solution or you can make your own very easily.
Feed hummingbirds with a mixture of sugar and water. Food coloring is not required or even desirable. The feeders should have red (typically) or orange feeding ports to attract the hummingbirds.
Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
Mix 1/4 cup of sugar with each cup of water. Bring the water to a boil, then remove the mixture from the heat. Stir the mixture to ensure the sugar dissolves completely. Cool before serving.
Using the right mix of sugar water will help you attract species like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.
You may make up a several days supply of sugar water in advance. On hot summer days sugar water can start to ferment. If you live in a hotter part of the country you may not want to fill the feeder completely. Add only enough fresh sugar water to the feeder that can be consumed in 2-3 days. The time frame will vary depending on how hot it is and how much direct sunlight is on the feeder.
Oriole feeders are often orange in color, instead of red. The same mix can be used for feeding orioles and other nectar feeders.
Do not use molasses or honey in your hummingbird feeders.
We invite you to come back often. The home page is updated every week.
Cats Indoors Please
Outdoor cats are a major threat to birds and other small animals.
Cat lovers often have a problem with the Cats Indoors program. However, cats are a major threat to birds and other small critters living in our yards. Here is what the research shows about domestic cats. The information is from the American Bird Conservancy.
"Domestic cats are recognized as a threat to global biodiversity. Cats have contributed to the extinction of 33 species across the world and continue to adversely impact a wide variety of species, including those that are threatened or endangered. The ecological dangers are so critical that the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) now lists domestic cats as one of the world’s worst non-native invasive species.
In the U.S., free-roaming domestic cats kill an estimated 1.4-3.7 billion birds and 6.9-20.7 billion mammals. The sheer quantity of cat-caused mortality is staggering. For perspective, consider that 1.4 billion is equivalent to the entire human population of China, the most populous country in the world. As the number of cats continues to grow and owners continue to allow their pets to roam, harmful impacts will surely increase."
Research also indicates that indoor cats live longer, healthy lives than outdoor cats or cats that move in and out of the home.
Here is additional information from the Tufts University Web site.
If a cat is frequently your yard, you can try the following.
- Ask the owner to keep the cat from your yard. Visit the Cats Indoors web site of the American Bird Conservancy for literature and information.
- Use the garden hose to spray water on the cat.
- Fill a metal can with cans, making a very loud rattle. Shake the can each time you see the cat.