Asked July 4, 2017, 2:58 PM EDT

When do the hummingbirds move thur yamhill county,
. This is the first year I've put out a feeder. I haven't seen any little hummers yet. I'm I to late this year in putting out my feeder. I hope knot. I keep waiting.

Yamhill County Oregon

1 Response

Thanks for your question about hummingbirds. There are actually several different species that have been reported in Oregon. One of them--Anna's--never left! They're here year around. The others are less frequent in the Willamette Valley, and may only migrate through on their way to California or Mexico, or to Washington and British Columbia.

Here is an OSU article about the five species common to (at least parts of) Oregon, as well as ideas about attracting them. Although we humans put out feeders, the main item on hummingbirds' menus is insects, so planting plants that attract insects will attract the hummers. Flowers also produce the nectar that provides them with water and sugar. Here are a few tips on feeder maintenance:

"It is important that feeders are clean, and the sugar solution is correctly made and always fresh. A hummingbird feeder solution should contain no more than one part sugar to four parts water, the highest sugar concentration of most natural flower nectars, and should not contain food color.

Homemade solutions are more economical and sometimes safer than store-bought products. Allen offers a recipe for a safe sugar solution for hummingbirds: Mix four cups water with one cup of sugar. Boil the mixture for at least 30 seconds to retard fermentation and mold growth. Do not microwave the solution, because microwaves can break down sugar molecules and change the nutritional value. Let the solution cool, then fill your feeder. Store the spare solution in a clean jar in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.

Do not add food coloring; red decorations on the feeder will be enough to attract the birds. Do not use honey, as it encourages fungal growth and may contain botulism organisms that can kill the tiny birds. And do not use artificial sweeteners, which contain no real calories and may cause the active birds to starve to death.

The feeder should be hung where it can be easily reached for filling and cleaning. Space multiple feeders as far apart as possible, as the birds tend to fight over feeders hung close together. Shady spots are best - they keep the sugar solution from spoiling."

Change the syrup once a week in cooler weather and every four to five days during the summer heat. Clean the feeder with hot water and a little vinegar and rinse well every time you change the syrup. And be sure you have someone keep your feeder filled when you go on vacation, as the little birds come to depend on known sources of nectar. Keep feeders filled through October, as birds can use the food on their southward migration." (OSU archive.)

If you'd like to see photos of the 9 known species to live in or visit Oregon, there are state-by-state photos here.

Hope this is helpful. Good luck!