Jun 3, 2020 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, June 2020

Ask Birdsquatch: Weaning Hummingbirds from the Feeder?

Hummingbirds appreciate our largesse at the feeder, but they don't require it to survive. They are highly adaptable and can find other sources of food in the environment.

Dear Birdsquatch:

How can I wean my hummingbirds from my nectar feeders? I will be moving in August.

—Lynne S.,
Los Angeles, California

Dear Lynne,

Between now and your big move, provide a bit less sugar-water each day. Your feeders might go empty by the end of the day, but the hummingbirds won't starve. Wild birds, including hummingbirds, are well adapted to finding new food sources when a formerly reliable one runs out. In nature, that happens normally, as flowers come in and go out of season. If birds couldn't adapt to changing food sources, they couldn't survive. There might be "regulars" who use your feeders often, but if they are healthy, they will not be dependent upon them.

Well, birds might actually need your feeders in the case of a drought, or after a hurricane or ice storm, or if they are unhealthy. But even then, the birds will disperse if they need to find food. Enjoy your hummingbirds as numbers increase, then move—guilt free—and hang feeders at your new home.

About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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