Hummingbirds have become a little bit of an obsession for me this summer. Attracting them to our patio garden with hummingbird-friendly plants and feeders, photographing them in Florida and British Columbia, as well as finding the perfect hummingbird food recipe – well, let’s just say I’m VERY fond of these tiny flying jewels! I’d love to share what information I’ve found about picking the best hummingbird feeder for your own needs and one that has the best opportunity to attract and safely supplement the diets of these gorgeous and entertaining little powerhouses.
Attracting hummingbirds to your garden or patio is fun for the entire family. Watching the antics of these colorful flying dynamos and learning just how unique they are brings us closer to nature. Hummingbird watching is a great hobby and one that can bring lifelong happy memories. But there is also responsibility to provide the best hummingbird food for your visitors and to keep an eye out for dangerous predators. Until seeing this video below, I had no idea a praying mantis was a threat to hummingbirds!
Video Credit: Mike Lewinski
There are many different type of hummingbird feeders to choose from and here you’ll learn all of the differences, pros and cons. Start with finding the best hummingbird feeder to fit the needs of your family and enjoy from there. Best of luck attracting your hummers!
Is a Glass Hummingbird Feeder Better?
From delicate blown-glass hummingbird feeders to those re-using an antique Mason Jar, you’ll see many options available for using glass instead of plastic in your feeder. But is glass always a better option?
Pros for glass hummingbird feeder include:
- durability – as plastic feeders may fade, bend, and break over time
- ease of cleaning –glass feeder reservoirs can often be washed in the dishwasher
Cons for glass hummingbird feeder include:
- higher possibility of breakage – especially if positioned on concrete patios
- heavier weight – this may make it harder to hang or harder to position
Window Hummingbird Feeder
For an unique and up-close perspective of the feeding habits of hummers, consider a window hummingbird feeder. Typically mounted on the outside of a window with suction cups, this type of feeder puts you very close to the action. These can be found as a small tube-style hummingbird feeder or a window-mounted full-sized version. To keep hummingbirds from running into the glass, apply small window clings to better help them gauge distances. Tips to keep the suction cups tight include making sure both the window and the suction cup are squeaky clean and checking regularly for slippage.
Handheld Hummingbird Feeders
Handheld hummingbird feeders are SO much fun and a great way to get the kids involved! These are particularly popular in areas where there are already large numbers of hummingbirds congregating. Choose from hummingbird feeder rings or palm-sized button feeders to bring nature up VERY close. Hummingbirds are very delicate creatures, so proper supervision of young children is important so as not to harm the birds. Also, be aware that hummingbirds can be very territorial and may try to physically discourage other birds from drinking from the feeder in your hand.
Unique Hummingbird Feeders
For many people, the yard and garden area becomes an oasis for relaxation and meditation. It’s easy to make your outside area a wonderful habitat for birds and butterflies by planting hummingbird-friendly plants and providing the best hummingbird feeders for your particular environment, even if it’s only a small patio or window ledge.
Often you’ll see gorgeous hummingbird feeders crafted from colorful blown glass or kiln-fired pieces that look as though they’ve come from a local artist’s studio. These do double duty as a piece of art and something that will attract hummers to your yard. Other unique hummingbird feeders include glass flowers to intersperse in your own garden and beautiful triple-decker hummingbird feeders to provide a delicious smorgasbord to any passing hungry hummer.
Keeping Ants Away From Your Hummingbird Feeder
Unfortunately, ants can be a big problem with hummingbird feeders. They love the fresh sweet treats being offered on a continuous basis and will happily make their home in and around your feeder. The good news is that ants can be thwarted from your hummingbird feeder with a few easy steps.
If you have a feeder on a metal hanger, you might try a small dab of plain Vaseline directly in the ant’s path on the hanger itself. They do not like walking on this at all – and by encircling the area with a very small amount where the ants travel will often solve your problem. Please, please only do this on the metal hangar itself and not anywhere on the hummingbird feeder. If this petroleum-based product gets on the delicate hummingbird wings, it can cause them harm.
A safer solution is to use an Ant Mote or a BugSnub device. Ant Motes provide a barrier of water between the feeder goodies and the ants. Ant mote are inexpensive and easy to use, but they require frequent filling during the summer months or they won’t be effective. The BugSnub is an ingenious little device that solves the ant problem quickly by using a food grade gel that’s kept safe from the hummingbirds and the ants won’t walk over. It comes in hanging models (see below) and for hummingbird feeders with legs. They even make these ant-free BugSnubs for outdoor pet bowls!
Keeping Bees, Wasps, and Yellow Jackets Away From Your Hummingbird Feeder
Those pesky flying insects like bees, wasps, yellow jackets, and hornets also enjoy a wee nip of sugary water now and again. Unfortunately, they can attack and drive away the hummingbirds and may be very annoying to family members. To keep flying insects away from the feeder, look for a hummingbird feeder with bee guards already installed. Bee guards simply keep the insects from reaching the sweet nectar, but allow the long tongue of the hummingbird to sip without harm.
Flying insects are often attracted to the color yellow. If your yellow-dotted feeder seems to be a bee magnet, consider trying a hummingbird feeder that doesn’t have yellow accents at all. Keeping sticky drips and spills cleaned up quickly is also important to avoid flying insects from crashing the hummingbird party. A drip-proof or saucer hummingbird feeder is ideal for areas where there are many beneficial pollinators around. This type of feeder only allows the long beak and tongue of the hummingbird to enter and is very effective at discouraging flying pests.
The Best Hummingbird Feeder Recipe
Now that you’ve found the perfect hummingbird feeder for your family, it’s time to fill it up with hummingbird nectar and attract those hummers! We only want the best for these flying jewels we’re trying to lure into our yards, so it’s important to know the right combination of ingredients. The Best Hummingbird Feeder Recipe article explains everything you need to easily make your own “birder-approved” hummingbird food– including the proper sugar-to-water ratio– to ensure you’re safely supplementing and attracting these fun and entertaining little hummers.
Enjoy your hummingbirds!
If I can answer any questions at all about the best hummingbird feeder for you and your family, please don’t hesitate to ask! I’ll happily share anything I know!