I did a blog last year about trying to encourage young birds to feeders. As much as we appreciate hummingbirds doing their natural thing and pollinating the flowers, there can be a shortage of food in a garden to keep them around for several days. Feeders are one of those flowers that never run out of nectar, and if we can convert them over to the feeders, they'll stick around much longer and get the benefits of both flowers and feeders. Feeders were made to look like flowers in order to attract hummingbirds, but too often the flowers on the feeders look nothing like the flowers in our gardens. When hummingbirds figure out a certain type of flower that they really like, they become single focused and look at nothing but that type of flower. It's only once they mature that they start to realize that you take any opportunity for food that you can find, and when you see any of the nectar filled flowers, you feed from them all and not just remain singly focused on one type.
In this case, a young Ruby-throat figured out that there is nectar deep within the tail of the Nasturtium flowers. The Nasturtiums very quickly became the go to flower. This youngster still didn't know feeders yet, so it was time to place out the "Training Feeder". I have some fake Nasturtium flowers attached to the feeder to try and attract them to the red bottle that they will one day never forget. Too often I've had young hummingbirds feed for a couple days without ever understanding the the sweet gold of the feeders. Many have left without ever realizing the full potential of our garden and all the feeders within. As a matter of fact many people have said that hummingbirds showed up at their yards and only fed from flowers and not the feeders. This is the reasoning. Young birds need to learn feeders just like they have to learn the ins and outs of different types of flowers at how to access the nectar. At some point they'll learn the feeders the further south they go, and the more hummingbirds at feeders that they'll encounter. My training feeders haven't always worked, but in most cases they have. Once they taste the nectar from the fake flower on the feeder, they'll start to recognize the red bottle behind it. That red bottle will have significance every time they fly around the garden noticing the other red bottles everywhere.
The training feeder went up just before this youngster came and sat on the hook that held the feeder. We'll see if he learns.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. July 28, 2018.