Learn how to choose a feeder, making hummingbird food, cleaning feeder, changing nectar, hand-feeding hummingbirds and much more.
The best feeder to use will be the feeder that is the easiest for you to use. A feeder that is easy to take apart and easy to clean, would be my first choice. Also, non-leaking hummingbird feeders that don’t attract insects are a good choice.There are a lot of different styles of Hummingbird feeders to choose from and each year more and more different styles appear on the market. The fact is, that Hummingbirds can be attracted to any style of hummingbird feeder as long as the feeder contains fresh nectar.
An easy to use feeder, will be a feeder that is more likely to have the nectar changed on a regular basis and more likely to be cleaned when necessary. Changing the nectar regularly, especially during periods of hot weather, and proper cleanliness of the feeder, is an important factor in attracting and maintaining the health of the Hummingbirds that visit your feeder.
Features to look for when choosing a hummingbird feeder
Here is a list of features that you will find in better hummingbird feeders. The more of these features a feeder has, the better the feeder will perform and the easier it will be for you to use it to successfully attract hummingbirds.
1.-One of the most important features a feeder should have is it should be easy to take apart and clean. It should come apart easily and you should have access to all the inner nooks and crannies so that you can thoroughly clean them. A clean feeder is a must if you want to be successful at attracting hummingbirds. It’s also important for the health of the hummingbirds. If you have a feeder that’s easy to clean, you are a lot more likely to keep it clean.
2.-A good feeder should be ant proof. Ants will also be attracted to the nectar in your feeder. If they get into the nectar, they will drown, their bodies will decompose and spoil the nectar. A good feeder will have an ant moat built into the design of the feeder. An ant moat is a container that holds water. It is positioned between the feeder hanger and the feeder body, that holds the nectar. Ants can’t swim, so when they reach the water they have to stop, before reaching the nectar. You can also purchase an add on ant moat if your feeder doesn’t have a moat built into the feeder
3.A good feeder will be bee proof. Bees also love the sweet hummingbird nectar and can become a big problem at the feeder. A good feeder will have bee guards built into the design of the feeder. For example, the Hummzinger Ultra hummingbird feeder has patented “Nectar Guard Tips” inserted into the underside of the feeding ports. These flexible, plastic tips will allow the hummingbird to insert its long beak through the tips to reach the nectar. When the hummingbird removes its beak the tips close up and keep out bees, wasp and other flying insects.
4.A good feeder should have perches for the hummingbirds to sit on. This will allow them to conserve energy as they feed.
5.A good feeder will be red in color to help attract hummingbirds. Although if it’s not red you can attach red ribbons or anything else that’s red, to the feeder to help attract hummingbirds. DON’T use red nectar in your feeder to attract hummingbirds. The food coloring in the nectar is thought by some to be harmful to the hummingbirds,so don’t use it.
6.A good feeder will have raised, rain guards around the feeding ports to keep rain water from getting into the feeder and diluting the nectar.
7.A good feeder should be leak proof. A leaking hummingbird feeder will attract all kinds of insects. There are 2 basic types of hummingbird feeders, the saucer feeder and the inverted bottle feeder. The saucer feeder is like a dish that holds the nectar with a lid that covers it. Feeding ports are in the lid for the hummingbirds to feed through.The saucer feeder is leak proof.On the other hand, the inverted bottle feeder has a tendency to leak. The nectar is held in a bottle that screws into the base of the feeder. As the hummingbirds drink the nectar and the nectar level recedes, it leaves behind an air pocket at the top of the bottle. Heat from the sun will heat the air in this pocket and cause it to expand. This expansion will force nectar out of the feeding ports below, in the base of the feeder. In the saucer feeder, the nectar is held in the dish far below the feeding ports. Expansion is never a problem so it doesn’t leak.
To conclude, to find the best hummingbird feeder, all you have to do is find a non-leaking hummingbird feeders that has all of the previously listed features. Don’t worry, it’s not as hard as you might think!
A note on feeder cleaning.
You will find saucer type (non-leaking hummingbird feeders) to be a lot easier to clean than the inverted-bottle style feeders. The bottle style feeders will have a bottle-like container that will screw into the base of the feeder. These bases will usually be made of one piece and will have areas on the inside that aren’t visible from the outside. You will need some small brushes to thoroughly clean them.
On the other hand, saucer style feeders that resemble a dish-like container with a lid, will come apart in the middle giving you full access to the inside and no hidden surfaces that will be hard to clean.
Here is an article all about cleaning a hummingbird feeder and when to change the nectar in your feeder so that it is always fresh and attractive to hummingbirds.
These feeders are inexpensive and have all the features listed above!
The Humzinger has patented Nectar guard tips which are flexible membranes attached to the underside of the feed ports that prohibit entry from bees, wasps and other flying insects, but allow Hummingbirds to feed as usual. The Humzinger also has a built in ant moat that will stop ants and other crawling insects from getting to the nectar. It also has raised flower ports that divert rain.
This mid-size nectar feeder has a 12 oz. capacity and can be hung or post mounted with hardware provided. It has four feeding ports for hummingbirds and is made of unbreakable polycarbonate. Easy to take apart and easy to clean.
This would be my first choice in feeders. For ease of cleaning and protection from bees, wasps and ants, this feeder can’t be beat. But as I said before, any Hummingbird feeder that is kept clean and contains fresh nectar, will attract Hummingbirds.
So use whatever feeder you can get , but just be sure to keep it clean. If the nectar is changed regularly, cleaning won’t be that much of a problem anyway.
If you already have a hummingbird feeder you want to protect from ants and other crawling insects, an ant moat will do the job.
The “Trap-It” ant moat will protect your Hummingbird and Oriole feeder from ants and other crawling insects. Insert the moat between the feeder hanger and the feeder and fill the moat with 6 oz. of water. The water will provide a barrier to crawling pests. It is easily mounted with two 3/8″ diameter (open) hangers,that are plated for excellent weather protection. The TRAP-IT™ is molded of one piece weather resistant plastic. It’s also red in color to help attract hummingbirds to your feeder!
Hummzinger non-leaking hummingbird feeders video
Here’s a video showing some of the Hummzinger feeders. At about the 2:30 mark in the video you will see a bee trying to gain access to the nectar. The bee isn’t able to reach the nectar and soon leaves.
How to make homemade hummingbird nectar
Now that you know how to choose a good hummingbird feeder you might also want to know how to make your own homemade hummingbird nectar. The recipe for homemade hummingbird food is add 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, stir to dissolve the sugar while bringing to a boil. Boil for 2 minutes and let cool before adding to the feeder.
Just those 2 ingredients, water and regular white granulated table sugar. Don’t add anything else, no food coloring or any other sweeteners.
Here’s a video about making homemade nectar
Most people do boil the nectar longer than is suggested in this video
How to hand-feed hummingbirds instructional video
If you would like to enjoy the thrill and excitement of hand-feeding your hummingbirds, I have include a couple of instructional videos below.
Here is another technique you can use to hand-feed hummingbirds through a window in your home.
If you would like to watch my other free videos on hand-feeding different backyard birds and squirrels, click the link Hand-feeding backyard birds and squirrels
Now you have learned how to choose a hummingbird feeder, how to make homemade hummingbird food and I have also taught you how to hand-feed your hummingbirds! I hope you found this article helpful. If you did, please share it using the social bookmarking buttons on the left side of this page. If you pass on this knowledge you can also help everyone else to increase their enjoyment of hummingbirds. Thank you!
Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center -hummingbird article