The Ultimate Guide to Hummingbird Feeders

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Hummingbird sipping nectar from a red feeder, perfect for a guide on hummingbird feeders.

Known as the flying jewels of the bird world, hummingbirds are a pleasure to spot in the wild. If you’re in the Eastern side of the US, you have a better chance of seeing one this springtime. One way you can improve your chances even more is by setting up your own hummingbird feeder.

In our ultimate guide to hummingbirds, we’ll cover everything you need to know about feeding these elusive creatures.

Why Feed Hummingbirds?

Feeding any wild bird can be hugely rewarding, but looking after hummingbirds could actually save the species from extinction. Eight species of hummingbird are currently “critically endangered.”  Taking the time to put out food sources for hummingbirds is one step in saving the species.

In areas where natural nectar is scarce, hanging hummingbird feeders allow these birds to build nests and migrate. Surprisingly, hummingbirds need to eat every 10 to 15 minutes.  Your garden may become a haven for many species, including the endangered ones.

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden with feeders can also improve your garden’s diversity and ecosystem as these birds are also important pollinators.

What Do Hummingbirds Like to Eat?

Hummingbirds mostly feed on the nectar found in flowers, which gives them the energy they need to stay active. Their long bills and tongues allow them to sip nectar from deep within flowers. Hummingbirds also eat small insects and spiders, providing them with much-needed proteins and nutrients.

To attract hummingbirds to your feeders, you should put out a sugar water mix. You can do this by combining one part white granulated sugar with four parts water.

Hummingbirds have sensitive stomachs. Don’t put out any honey, sweeteners, or food coloring, as this can do more harm than good.

Hummingbird feeding on deep pink flower, guide to feeders.

How to Make Your Own DIY Hummingbird Feeder

Creating your own DIY hummingbird feeder can be a great way to encourage more colorful and diverse wildlife to your garden. Here’s a simple method to make one.

Materials You Need:

  • Empty plastic bottle (like a soda or water bottle)
  • Red or brightly colored plastic or paper (for decoration)
  • Scissors. Use floral scissors for precise and neat flower trimming in the garden.
  • String or wire. For impeccable floral arrangements, garlands and decorative crafts, these string or wire are perfect to use.
  • Sugar water (1 part white granulated sugar dissolved in 4 parts water)
  • Drill or heated nail (for creating holes)
  • Optional: Feeder ports or small plastic flowers

Step by Step Instructions:

  1. Begin by cleaning the plastic bottle and removing any labels. Make sure it’s completely dry before moving forward.
  2. Use scissors to cut out a few small holes near the top of the bottle. These holes will act as feeding ports for the hummingbirds. You can also drill holes or use a heated nail to create them. Just make sure they are just large enough for a hummingbird’s beak to pass through.
  3. Decorate the bottle with red or brightly colored plastic/paper. Hummingbirds love the color red, so adding some red accents will help attract them to the feeder.
  4. Fashion a hanger for the feeder by making two small holes near the top of the bottle and threading string or wire through them.
  5. Tie the ends of the string or wire together firmly to create a loop for hanging.
  6. Pour your sugar water mix into the bottle, ensuring there is some space at the top to avoid spills when it’s hung.
  7. Screw on the bottle cap securely to prevent any leakage.
  8. Hang the feeder in a spot where hummingbirds will visit, like near flowers or in a sunny area of your garden.
  9. Check and top up the feeder with fresh sugar water every couple of days, especially during hot weather when it can spoil faster.

How to Keep Bees Away From the Hummingbird Feeder

Keeping bees away from your hummingbird feeder can be challenging, but there are some approaches you can take.

If you’re buying a ready-made feeder, choose one that has bee guards, like smaller openings that they can’t get through. If you’ve made a DIY feeder with our handy guide, you can buy a separate nectar guard or make one yourself. Simply cover the feeding hole to stop bees from getting in.

Adjusting the sugar concentration of the nectar could also work. Making slight changes to the recipe can make it less appealing to bees while still attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

Make sure you keep the feeder clean of any drips or leaks that may draw in bees – go over it regularly with warm, soapy water. Refill with fresh nectar as and when you can will keep hummingbirds coming back for more.

Remember, both bees and hummingbirds are great for your garden. Don’t be put-off if you see bees taking an interest in your hummingbird feeder.

What’s the Best Hummingbird Feeder?

Choosing the ideal hummingbird feeder for you depends on what your feathered guests need and your budget. Here are five popular choices in the US:

1. Woodlink Going Green Recycled Plastic Hummingbird Feeder

This environmentally friendly feeder is made from recycled plastic. It has four feeding ports holding up to 12 ounces of delicious nectar. The red color and flower-shaped ports attract hummingbirds, while its sturdy build ensures durability. This is the most expensive hummingbird feeder on the list, starting at $198.

2. More Birds Ruby Hummingbird Feeder

With a gorgeous design and striking red hue, this feeder is bound to catch the attention of the hummingbirds in your garden. It comes with a wide mouth reservoir for effortless refilling and cleaning, along with four feeding ports. The integrated ant moat helps ward off ants from the nectar. Costing just $39.98, the More Birds Ruby Hummingbird Feeder will make a great addition to your garden.

3. Grateful Gnome Hand Blown Glass Hummingbird Feeder

This feeder stands out for its hand-blown glass make and artistic look. It boasts four flower-shaped feeding ports and can accommodate up to 32 ounces of nectar. The vibrant glass attracts hummingbirds while adding a decorative touch to your outdoor area. This hummingbird feeder starts at just $34.95.

4. Wild Wings So Real Single Flower Hummingbird Feeder

This feeder replicates the appearance of a natural flower with its realistic design that appeals to hummingbirds. This hummingbird feeder has a single feeding port and can hold up to 7 ounces of nectar. Hummingbirds can take a break and rest while feeding thanks to the integrated perch. This hummingbird feeder is the cheapest on the list at $16.99.

5 Aspects HummZinger Ultra Hummingbird Feeder

This feeder has a bee-resistant design, featuring raised flower ports that make it difficult for bees to get to the nectar. It also has a built-in ant moat to prevent ants from reaching the nectar. For just $34.95, you can create a lovely space for hummingbirds without disturbance from insects.

Hummingbird approaching a water droplet-covered feeder, a key element in The Ultimate Guide to Hummingbird Feeders.

How to Spot a Wild Hummingbird

Spotting a wild hummingbird can be quite exciting, but it takes sharp observation skills and a good understanding of their habits and preferred habitats. Here are some helpful tips to assist you in locating these small, elusive birds in their natural environment.

Search for Colorful Flowers

Hummingbirds love vibrant colors with tubular shapes as they can drink plenty of nectar from them. Keep an eye out for hummingbirds flitting around flowers or sipping nectar with their elongated bills and tongues.

Listen for Their Buzz

Hummingbirds make a distinct buzzing noise as they flap their wings. Listening out for their sound can help you find them, even if you can’t immediately see them. Listen for this distinctive sound while scanning the surroundings for any signs of movement.

Watch Their Flight Patterns

Hummingbirds have agile flying abilities, including hovering, darting and sudden changes in direction. Watch out for their fast and erratic flight patterns, especially near flowers or feeders where they might be eating.

Check Your Feeders

If you have hummingbird feeders in your garden, they serve as ideal spots to observe wild hummingbirds. Keep a close eye on your feeders, especially during the early morning or late afternoon. Hummingbird activity typically peaks at this time.

Stay Patient and Alert

Spotting wild hummingbirds often requires patience and good observation skills. Take some time to enjoy the peacefulness of your garden and quietly observe your surroundings. Keep an eye out for any movement or flashes of color. Hummingbirds tend to dart around quickly and can be hard to catch sight of.

Explore Hummingbird Habitats

Hummingbirds usually hang out in places filled with lots of flowers, like gardens, meadows, forests and near streams or rivers. If you visit these areas at the right time of year, you’ll have a better chance of seeing these tiny birds.

Grab Binoculars or a Camera

Since hummingbirds are so small and agile, it’s tough to spot them from afar. Using binoculars or a camera with a zoom lens can help you get a closer look without scaring them off.

Get to Know Their Ways

Take some time to learn about the daily routines and behaviors of hummingbirds, like how they feed, build nests and court each other. This understanding will make it easier for you to predict where and when you might find them.

A white-breasted hummingbird perched by red flowers, complementing The Ultimate Guide to Hummingbird Feeders.

Final Words

Spotting hummingbirds in the wild can be a wonderful experience. You can get a peek into the captivating world of these tiny and nimble creatures. By following the suggestions found in this guide, you can boost your chances of seeing hummingbirds going about their day.

Whether you’re listening out for their unique buzzing, watching their flight paths, or you’re simply enjoying your beautiful garden, you need to have patience to see these birds.

It’s crucial to consider their habitat and offer flowers filled with nectar or hummingbird feeders to attract hummingbirds to your garden. If you’re fortunate and persevere, you may well be rewarded by the sight of a hummingbird showcasing its vivid colors.

Frequently Asked Questions

Let’s cover some frequently asked questions about all things hummingbirds.

What is the Main Food Source of Hummingbirds?

Hummingbirds rely on nectar from flowers as their food source. With their bills and tongues, they can easily access the nectar deep within flowers. They especially love colorful flowers that offer plenty of nectar. Besides nectar, hummingbirds also feed on insects and spiders for protein, especially during nesting season.

Are Bird Feeders Easy to Clean?

Keeping bird feeders clean is not too difficult if you stay on top of it.

You can take apart hummingbird feeders for cleaning, and you can remove feeding ports and trays. To clean a bird feeder, just take it apart, wash the pieces in water, and make sure to rinse them well. Regularly cleaning your bird feeder is necessary so you can avoid the growth of mold and bacteria that could affect the birds.

What is Hummingbird Nectar?

The nectar that hummingbirds feed on is similar to the sugary substance found in flowers. To make it, all you need to do is dissolve sugar in water at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.

This sweet solution gives hummingbirds the energy they need to fly as fast as they do. Steer clear of using honey or any artificial sweeteners, as these can hurt hummingbirds. Keep the nectar fresh by changing it regularly during hot weather when it can spoil faster.

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