Being only a few inches in length and having a metabolism a hundred times more active than a fully grown elephant, hummingbirds truly are one of the most fascinating creatures on this little green planet of ours. It’s no surprise then that with such a high metabolism these majestic birds need to feed every quarter of an hour, and with amazing memories, they tend to remember every single flower they have fed from. This is a huge advantage for an avid bird watcher as hummingbirds also remember feeders in gardens.

Even though this bird has been studied closely for so long and been long admired by bird watchers and the general public alike, feeders were not introduced as a consumer product until the middle of the 20th century. The first design was created in an MIT lab by a glassblower named Laurence Webster. First made as a gift for his wife, the product was soon on shelves as people became more aware through publications that one could feed hummingbirds in their own backyard.

If you too wish to enjoy the sight of hummingbirds in your backyard, then you need to make sure you have the proper feeder. If you pay proper attention to the design, color, and manufacturing of the feeder, you could have these little creatures as visitors to your backyard for many many years. Today we’ll discuss some of the features you should look out for when choosing a hummingbird feeder for your garden.

EASE OF CLEANING

The first thing you need to look at is how easy it is to clean your feeder. You’ll be filling the feeder with nectar which is sweet and sticky. If you have a lot of hummingbirds visiting your feeder, you’ll be refilling more frequently and will want to clean each time. In the hot weather, nectar is also likely to spoil faster, which again means you’ll be cleaning frequently.

This is why it’s important to find a feeder that will unscrew easily and let you take apart the feeding portals so you can thoroughly clean the entire thing. You can’t let the nectar rot inside the container and cause innocent animals to have health issues, so make sure you have a feeder that’s easy to clean.

COLOR

While it may not seem as important, color makes a massive difference in how many hummingbirds will visit your garden every day. The best option is red as the color is eye-catching and hummingbirds tend to be attracted more to red. You can also try using other bright and eye-catching colors, but if you’re deciding on placing multiple feeders in your garden or around your home, then make sure they spaced apart a significant distance. Hummingbirds are territorial animals and don’t take kindly when sharing food.

DESIGN

While vendors may say they have a wide variety of designs available, hummingbird feeders really come in two designs only. The first is an inverted feeder that consists of a vertical bottle with a basin at the bottom that has the feeding portals attached to it. Depending on the manufacturer there could be one feeding portal or ten, so that depends on your preference, but do remember the territorial part mentioned above.

The second is the basin design, which usually looks like a Frisbee, and runs more horizontally. Because of the fewer parts involved in comparison to vertical feeders, basin designs are easier to clean and maintain, and many are dishwasher safe. It should be noted though that these vertical feeders are easier for birds to spot and are able to hold a larger amount of nectar than basin style feeders. One more design feature to look for is ant moat and bee guard.

MATERIAL

This is one aspect you should pay careful attention to, as it not only affects your ability to maintain the feeder, but also the impact on the health of hummingbirds feeding from it. Glass is a preferred material as it can be soaked in warm water allowing for more hygiene and plastic runs the risk of sometimes not being food-grade, which could have an adverse impact on hummingbirds.

If you’re going to go with plastic, make sure that it is food-grade and UV stable. If you’re going to use a dishwasher for either material, check the label beforehand. For feeders that have metal pieces, check for rust resistance. It’s also important that the materials be resistant to natural elements as the feeder will be outside most of the time.

ADDITIONAL TIPS

While the above might help you make your decision on what to buy, we should nonetheless go over some tips on what happens after you’ve bought your feeder. Try to only use warm water to clean your feeder and avoid soap as much as possible. Sugar water is sticky and can cause a lot of mess, but using soap can affect the durability of the feeder and have an effect on the hummingbirds.

While the above might help you make your decision on what to buy, we should nonetheless go over some tips on what happens after you’ve bought your feeder. Try to only use warm water to clean your feeder and avoid soap as much as possible. Sugar water is sticky and can cause a lot of mess, but using soap can affect the durability of the feeder and have an effect on the hummingbirds.

To ensure hygiene its best to clean the feeders in a bleach solution once every month. Soak your feeders in a solution of one gallon of water with one-quarter cup of bleach and then rinse with hot water. A more organic alternative is a solution of one part vinegar and two parts water. Either way is better for hummingbirds than using soap.

One issue faced by most consumers is the swarm of ants and bees that sometimes take over the feeder. While some feeders come with features such as an ant moat and bee guard, you can also try some other methods to help. Sometimes, the right location can make the difference and bees and ants will stop coming to the feeder. Hanging it from a high point will keep ants away for sure and if you use a feeding line, they’ll have an even harder time climbing it if they do manage to get close enough.

For bees, try introducing an alternative source of nutrition in your backyard. You can also try using these new plug-in insect repellants that use sound frequencies to keep bees and other insects away from a certain vicinity. Keeping the feeder constantly clean also helps a lot as the nectar will stay in the bottle and not attract any unwanted visitors.

If you’re looking for some great hummingbird feeders in attractive designs, try visiting https://www.hummingbirdsplus.org/feeders/

 

Published by Lavismichel Inkel