To Feed Or Not To Feed

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To Feed Or Not To Feed

by Patricia

(Sparrowbush, NY)

To Feed or Not to Feed – That is the Question!

We have been feeding the hummers for years at our rural location.

They tend to be fairly prolific at our feeders from the beginning of May on.

We are in a situation at the moment wherein we may or may not be moving this summer.

I am unsure whether it is advisable to simply leave our feeders in storage or to feed them as long as we can knowing that we may have to stop abruptly.

Hi Patricia

Thank you for asking!

This is a problem that many people face.

The fact is that all wild birds regardless of what we feed them have developed a number of feeding stations that they visit daily.

Our feeders are always just one feeding station in many.

Since you have been feeding Hummingbirds at your home for years, they will be looking for it when they return anyway.

You can continue your regular routine of feeding them.

Then, if you must leave and have the opportunity, you could take the feeders in for a few hours each day, making the time longer that they are not available as the days progress.

Even if it is only for a few days it will give them the idea that things are changing and this feeding station is not always available.

The only time stopping to feed birds abruptly would be harmful to birds would be in the winter when food is covered by heavy snow and ice and natural sources are not available.

Wild birds almost always supplement their diet with the bird food we supply and almost never use it as their main source.

I hope this helps and all the best in your move, if it should happen!

Happy birding!


Please Advise!

I am moving mid hummingbird season.

Should I just not start feeding them at all at this location?

I have been feeding here for 10 years and some of my birds return every year.

So sad and no neighbors near us.

Hi Darlene

Thank you for asking!

You said you are moving midseason, so if that means mid-summer then there are a few months you could feed them, and putting up one feeder to welcome them back would be a great help to them, after their long journey.

As time progresses and it gets closer to the time you are moving then begin bringing in your feeder for a few hours every day, about 3 weeks before you move. Start at midday and gradually increase the amount of time it is not out in the afternoon until it is only out for a short time each morning. Continue decreasing the morning time until there are a few days before you leave that the feeder is not out at all. They will still search for it but will begin slowly as you do this process to rely on their other sources of food more heavily.

If you think this weaning process would be too hard then it is probably best not to start feeding them and let them find other sources at the beginning.

I hope this helps and all the best!


Hi Judy

Thanks for the info but the males are here and hungry.

They arrived late yesterday so I may do as you suggested and hope maybe my closing on the new house will be delayed ( who ever hopes for that ).

I recognize my old graying male and I believe its his 6th summer. I have had 3 generations of males that are very recognizable because they have orange throats ( but are ruby hummingbirds ).

I will wean them if I have to but the new house is about 30 minutes away so maybe I will leave the feeders up and commute to feed them through the season. That is most likely what I will do.

Again thank you Judy.

Hi Darlene

You are very welcome Darlene! You have come up with the best solution for both you and the birds. Have a smooth move and a wonderful summer!

Happy Birding!

Hi Judy

Thank you! I do love my hummingbirds!

More Interesting Facts on Hummer Feeders!

Hummingbirds Don’t Like Food There are many reasons why Hummers may not be eating your nectar solution anymore. Find out here.

What Is Drinking My Hummers Nectar At Night? There are a number of reasons why your nectar feeder is empty or has less in it than it did the night before. Lets look at the possibilities.

Balcony Hummingbird Feeders Is a Balcony 4 floors up too high for feeding Hummers? Will they come that far up to feed?

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