Imagine a unique hour glass with a selected amount of time. Flip it over and know that when it runs out, there is no more time remaining, and no way to reset it. It is finished! This is similar to the hummingbird metabolism. They are very limited in time between feedings. Large gaps or distances between feeding times can be fatal. They have a metabolism faster than most things on this planet, and that's what makes them unique. They can go into a state of torpor(mini-hibernation) in cold weather cycles, but in normal conditions they need to feed frequently. This is the reason they feed in patterns that require the least amount of energy. They will NOT return to a garden that has a very limited source of food, especially if it requires too much energy to get to that location.
Make it worth their while! If you are planning a hummingbird garden, give them very good reason to return. Don't just fill a single planter and expect great results. Plant clusters around your garden! Search out their favorite flowers in your region, plant them heavily, and if you have the space, create targets large enough to get their attention. If you can have a hummingbird feed for several minutes around your garden, you can be sure it's gaining the required amount of fuel from that nectar to keep it returning. If you have a hummingbird flash feed for just seconds and then it leaves, it's already figured out that there's little reason to stick around. A typical hummingbird, under normal conditions will feed every 10 to 20 minutes on average. A hummingbird will feed from a feeder for 30 - 60 seconds on average. A hummingbird will feed from flowers for at least that amount of time, and even more, because it requires a longer time to extract the same amount of nectar from flowers. Cold weather they slow down, and likewise in very hot weather. Keep this in mind, and know that a hummingbird will not fly 10 minutes out of its way to get a very limited amount of nectar from a small pot of flowers. Give them a smorgasbord of their favorites, and plug your garden full of them. You will not regret it come the time young are leaving the nest.
Because young hummingbirds take a bit of time to learn feeders, place one near each large cluster of flowers. You may find that young hummingbirds notice it because of the color, and then reject it. This does NOT mean they don't like feeders. It means they don't know them, YET! Give them time, and your islands of flowers will keep them returning until they gather up the courage to stick their bill into the life changing feeders.
Aug 10, 2019. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.