Colorado Hummingbirds

Broad-tailed, Callilope, Black-chinned, and Rufous Hummingbirds are the usual birds seen. The Broad-tailed and Black-chinned breed in Colorado. The others travel through our state after the breeding season. Look for them beginning mid-July. Other species may sometimes be spotted during migration, but it is unlikely you will see a Ruby-throated hummingbird in Colorado.

Attracting hummers to your feeder

After filling your clean feeder, hang feeder from a pole or hook. Wrap a red ribbon on the pole or hook. It can also be fastened near the feeder.

When to take down your feeder

Leaving a feeder up in the fall will not prevent hummingbirds from migrating. Instinct prompts them on when to leave.

Leave the feeder up at least one week after you have seen your last hummer. This will help them if cold weather prematurely kills flower-bearing plants. It will also help any stragglers on the migration.

Just be sure to take the feeder in at night if there is danger of freezing.

Clean the feeder

Rinse and refill feeders every 2 to 3 days. Clean thoroughly once a week. It is best to use a solution of 1 part vinegar to 5 parts hot water. To remove mold soak feeder in 1 part bleach to 10 parts water. Rinse, rinse, rinse!


Hummingbirds need nectar that contains sugars such as sucrose. Do not use powdered sugar or brown sugar. Never use honey, as it is composed of simple sugars and may contain spores that can cause fatal infections.

Sucrose, our table sugar, is the main ingredient in the nectar producing flowers that are preferred by hummers. In addition, a large part of their diet consists of insects from which they gain protein.

Hummingbird nectar is made of one part sugar to four parts boiling water. Allow to cool before filling feeder.

What to do about those pesky ants and bees

Feeders that are all red in color are less likely to attract bees. Feeders that have yellow flowers might attract bees, wasps or other insects as yellow is in the insect color recognition spectrum. In addition, feeders with deeper feeding ports can put nectar out of reach of insects.

For ants, it is recommended you use an ant moat. These are hung between the feeder and the hook and make a barrier across which ants cannot cross.

Do not use cooking oil, petroleum jelly or any sticky insect barrier around the feeder or its feeding ports. This can result in the hummers getting their feathers coated and unable to fly, making them vulnerable to predators.

Fun Facts About Hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are acrobatic flyers, able to move up, down, sideways and hover.

They can be fiercely territorial, so you might need to hang more than one feeder in your yard.

Excellent memories help them find the same feeders and flower patches year after year.

The females use spider webs to help build their nests. They also lay and incubate the eggs and care for the young.


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