What a pickle you’re in, but the hummingbirds are reasonable in their expectation that you won’t keep vigil around the clock for them.
If you are going away for only a few days, you can let the nectar in your hummingbird feeder run out. A longer trip allows you to delegate tasks to a trusted friend, relative, or neighbor, who will need access to your home while learning how to produce nectar or clean it out.
While it’s true that hummingbirds may go if you remove their feeders, you can always try to entice them back after you return home.
In such a situation, I think I would have a family member take charge of maintaining my hummingbird feeders.
Don’t jump the gun just yet; this person will require instruction on how to clean a hummingbird feeder, how to use a disinfectant, how to access the nectar reservoir, and how to manufacture their own nectar.
If you prepare nectar in advance and freeze it in separate bottles, your sweetheart only needs to start defrosting it the day before she needs it, saving you the trouble of making it from scratch.
I would recommend someone from your own family first, but there’s nothing stopping your best friend or next-door neighbor from filling this role.
They will need to be trusted, though, because they will need to use the keys to your home in order to use the bathroom and kitchen sinks to clean, as well as to clean up after themselves.
It will take time to attract hummers to your hummingbird feeder all over again, but you can let the nectar run out or store your feeder away for the winter.
Pack away until your return
Hummingbirds may be difficult to entice return to a feeder after it has been removed for several days, but this problem often has a straightforward solution: just put away the feeders.
Do put away your hummingbird feeders until you return; in time, the hummers will forgive you for abandoning them while they were in need.
There are probably more feeders out there that hummers can be attracted to, so don’t let the upkeep of hummingbird feeders prevent you from taking a vacation.
Hummingbird feeders require regular cleaning to prevent the growth of bacteria and the removal of any spilled nectar, therefore they can’t be overfilled and let to run empty.
A hummingbird feeder will quickly become a bacterial breeding ground if it is left hanging when not in use.
Hummingbird feeders cannot be left up for an extended period of time, and neither will the sugar water in them last until your return.
If you’re done feeding the hummingbirds for the time being, you may take down your feeder, dump any leftover nectar, clean it out with soap dish, and store it away.
Pass on responsibility to family
Would it be possible to delegate the care of your hummingbird feeder to a trusted family member while you’re away?
The hummingbird feeder only needs to be filled and checked twice or three times a week, so you may pay them or owe them a favor in exchange for their meticulous attention to the task.
To avoid wasting time and energy, it’s important to make sure they’re aware of everything they’re responsible for by providing a detailed list of tasks.
- Make your own nectar by dispensing with the sugar, jug, and saucepan and replacing them with 1 part sugar to 4 parts boiling water.
- Keep fresh nectar in the hummingbird feeder and know how to refill it whenever it runs low.
- If you are going on a long trip, a family member has been taught how to take apart the hummingbird feeder so it may be cleaned.
- A hummingbird feeder is placed low enough for this person to reach, but high enough that they know it must be rehung securely.
- If you have an ant moat, you’ll need to refill the water every time an ant comes around, while a bee guard may simply be replaced.
If you wanted to offer a key to your home to a relative, they would have to be someone you trusted completely. They’d have to use your kitchen sink to clean the hummingbird feeder and your kitchen sink to wash off any spilled nectar, so be sure to provide them access to both.
Neighbor can lend a hand
If you don’t have any reliable friends or family members who can stop by once a week to help out while you’re gone on vacation (or if they’ve already joined you), consider asking a reliable neighbor for assistance.
While a next-door neighbor is ideal, even a well-known friend on the block can come in handy.
And if your nearest and dearest can’t help, you may always rely on your long-distance friend.
Again, your neighbor will require access to your home, so you’ll need to feel comfortable enough with them to let them in.
It’s feasible they’d benefit from having access to their own home’s conveniences, but what does it say about you if you forget to leave a spare key behind? A key should be supplied to this neighbor because life would be much more difficult without one.
Communicate your friend’s and neighbor’s tasks to them and provide them a “to-do list” to ensure they don’t forget anything.
As an additional suggestion, I would have you fill some bottles with nectar and leave them in the freezers of your neighbors. Hummingbird feeders only require a 24-hour defrosting period before they can be filled.
Allow Nectar to run dry
If you plan on being away from home for more than a week, one option that carries a slight risk is to let the nectar run out.
Before traveling to the airport or getting into the RV, you would fill the hummingbird feeder with your homemade nectar. As the later the time, the longer the nectar will last.
If you let the nectar run empty, the hummingbirds will be able to use it for three whole days.
You should make sure there is no history of hazy or otherwise dangerous nectar in your hummingbird feeders.
Hummingbirds won’t visit your feeder while you’re away, so unless you take measures to eliminate potential bee colonies before you leave for the summer, the feeder will go unused until your return.
Similar to how hummers would cease using a feeder if insects swarm it, ants clogging up the port wells will discourage hummingbirds from feeding at the station.
If you’ll be gone for less than a week, let the hummingbird feeder dry out; if you’ll be gone for more than a week, ask a neighbor or friend to fill it, or take it down altogether.
Make it up to Hummers when home
It’s too bad you can’t take a trip from September through March of the next year because that’s when hummingbirds migrate.
Avoiding a hummer’s busiest time of year, summer, is a good idea because that’s when most people take vacation. If you already have plans for your vacation, then you’ll need to rely on friends or relatives once more.
But what if you and your spouse are the only ones you can count on, leaving you little choice but to take down the hummingbird feeders and re-hang them when you return home after your break?
The hummingbirds will have left your yard and your feeders long before you return, so you’ll have to put in a lot of work to make up for it.
To begin, you need to retrieve your feeders from storage and re-hang them in the same locations they were in before you left for your trip.
If you’ve ever had hummingbirds forsake you in the past, now is your chance to make amends by increasing the number of feeders in your yard (while never letting any of them get dry).
If you were just getting a couple of hummers in your yard every day, you could probably get away with putting the feeders away until you got back.
The best thing to do with hummingbird feeders while you’re away on vacation is nothing at all, since you can always hang them back up in your yard upon your return.
If you want to have a lot of hummingbirds visit your yard, but don’t want to lose any of them, consider delegating the task to a friend or neighbor.
Perhaps you can convince a buddy to drop by once or twice a week to check on the hummingbird feeders, wipe them out, and restock the nectar.
If you have a reliable neighbor, they can do this for you while you freeze nectar in bottles and all you have to do is defrost it when you need it.
To delegate authority, I would choose a trusted relative, the kind of person you could give a spare key to your house.
Assuming not everyone in your family can join you on your trip, you can teach this individual to prepare new batches of nectar and clean the hummingbird feeders by disassembling them.
If you’re going to be gone for a few days, or perhaps a week, the hummingbirds won’t mind if the nectar runs out.
If you must remove your hummingbird feeders before a trip, don’t fret; the little fliers will find alternatives until you return.