female Ruby-throated Hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
I bought this inexpensive feeder at Lowe's about 10 days ago (June's 3rd week, 2014). It was my first attempt to attract hummers. There was a hummer at the feeder the next morning after I put it up. This is also my first attempt to photograph hummers. It is a blast.
Below are two quick, solid and comprehensive references. The first one, from the University of Michigan, will tell you all about hummingbird life histories. The second is from Cornell's Bird Laboratory and will tell you how to feed hummingbirds.
The sweet potion is a mix of 4 parts water to one part of granulated table sugar. NO SUBSTITUTES AT ALL! Not honey, not confectionery sugar….ONLY table sugar. It is not necessary to boil the water, as some believe it is. I just run straight hot water from the tap (about 130 degrees F.). I mix up a container and store it in the fridge. It will last for at least a week that way. You must change the sugar mix FREQUENTLY. Clean the feeder and replace the sugar mix every 2-3 days, especially if it is in the sun. I am getting into the routine and it is easy and very quick because I do not boil the water.
Now I have to work on improving my hummingbird photography :-). I said it's a blast; I did not say it was easy. Getting your first hummer to come to your set-up is probably easier than you think. And, as I suspected, this female Ruby-throat became tolerant of the camera and flash very quickly. but getting a real high-quality image is not easy. To look natural, it requires a combination of available light and flash. And to achieve the right combination, it takes persistence and probably the purchase of a little more equipment.