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Cathie Rowand | The Journal Gazette
Put up some hummingbird feeders in your yard and they will come.

Make your yard hummingbird-friendly

Early this week I finally spotted hummingbird activity in my yard. Once at the feeder and another time at a planter with fuchsia flowers. Hummingbirds usually show up around the first of May in my yard, but this year they seem to be two weeks late. I am not sure why this was so this year.

I usually put out my feeders in April in case they are early, but now I am reading on a blog about hummingbirds that I should put up a feeder in mid-March for the early migrants passing through. At any rate, don't wait until you see your first ruby-throated hummingbird. They can come and go so fast from a feeder that you might not notice that they are back for a couple of weeks.

It is also recommended to leave one feeder up until Thanksgiving. Leaving feeders up will not influence when healthy ruby-throated hummingbirds migrate south, but stray hummingbirds from the western U.S. may wander in and stay all winter. This happened a couple winters ago here in Fort Wayne.

Clean and refill feeders at least twice a week. If the mix gets cloudy, throw it out. You can save a lot of money by buying regular sugar at the grocery store and mixing 1-part sugar to 4-part water. No need to add red food coloring.

If you have two or more feeders in a yard, place them out of view of each other and preferably in the shade. I have three feeders in my yard and they all get used.

Also have some fun planting flowers that hummingbirds love; hollyhock, cannis, columbine, bee blam, phlox, zinnia, cardinal flower, salvia, bleeding heart, and lupine to name a few.

Journey through gardening season with Rosa Salter Rodriguez (feature writer), Anne Gregory (Web editor and writer), Frank Noonan (copy editor) and Cathie Rowand (photographer)