CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - After going through 700 pounds of sugar a year, Jim and Judy Ainsworth hope other Cape Girardeau residents will pick up the slack in feeding southeast Missouri's hummingbird population.
The Ainsworths began putting out humming bird feeders in 1996 when Judy fell in love with them at a friend's house.
As more hummingbirds came to their feeders, they continued to put out more, eventually having 24 feeders and hosting between 500 and 700 birds.
During the peak hummingbird months from May through August, the Ainsworths went through 10 pounds of sugar a day and bought sugar in 50- to 70-pound lots.
Health problems and the five months of daily demands of so many birds finally caused the couple to go down to only two feeders, hoping the other residents of Cape Girardeau will put out their own feeders.
The Ainsworths have some recommendations for those interested in putting out hummingbird feeders:
- The solution should be one part sugar dissolved in four parts boiling water, cooled before filling feeders.
- Do not color the solution in the feeders; the feeders themselves can have some red or yellow on the outside to attract the birds.
- Feeders should be emptied and washed at least once a week and refilled with a fresh sugar solution to prevent the growth of harmful germs.
- Feeders should be put out the first week of April in southern Missouri, and a week or two later in central or northern Missouri.
More information about hummingbirds can be found at