Installing a hummingbird feeder right outside my office window has made it really hard to get any work done! I find myself looking out the window every few minutes to see who’s eating at my front yard feeder.
There are lots of different types of hummingbird feeders to choose from, and I’ve had many of them over the years. How do you pick a good hummingbird feeder?
First, a bit of hummingbird feeder anatomy. We’ll use my old feeder, the Perky Pet Hummer’s Favorite, as an example. Most hummingbird feeders consist of two pieces. The reservoir is the chamber or bottle where the nectar goes, and the base is where the hummingbirds sit or hover and drink.
In this case, the base has detachable flowers, which means more pieces that need to be scrubbed when it’s time to clean your feeder. There’s also more potential for mold growth, as you can see.
What to Look for in a Hummingbird Feeder
What do you need to look for when buying a hummingbird feeder? There are a few key points:
A hummingbird feeder must be easy to fill. Nobody wants hummingbird nectar spilling all over their kitchen counter. This means you want a wide opening for easy pouring.
Important note! Don’t buy the packaged, red hummingbird food from the store. The red dye is harmful to hummingbirds, and you can make your own hummingbird food with this easy recipe.
Because hummingbird food is sugar water, it can spoil fairly quickly in the summer heat. You could end up with mold in the feeder, so your hummingbird feeder must be easy to clean. You’ll need to clean the inside of the reservoir and the base, hopefully without any special tools. A wide opening on the reservoir will help with this.
To attract hummingbirds, the feeder should have red accents–either built into the feeder, or added on. This Sapphire Starburst feeder is beautiful, but it’s a little harder for the birds to figure out. If you have a a hummingbird feeder without any red, you can tie a red ribbon on it to get the birds’ attention.
Hummingbird Feeder Review
Here’s a review of the most popular hummingbird feeders, both the great and not-so-great.
First Nature Hummingbird Feeder
This is my current favorite. The First Nature hummingbird feeder is made of plastic, and is easy to fill. The reservoir holds 32 ounces of water, which is great when you have a mob of hungry hummingbirds to feed. The base is a solid piece (no detachable “flowers”) and is easy to clean. It’s not recommended for the dishwasher, but it washes by hand just fine. Here it is in action in the backyard. Rating: A
Perky Pet Pinch Waist Hummingbird Feeder
The Perky Pet Pinch Waist feeder has been around since for-ev-er. My Grandma had several of them in her backyard! Perky Pet has made some improvements to Grandma’s version, though. The new model has an ant moat on the top and bee guards over the “flowers.” The reservoir is glass, but it only holds 8 ounces of nectar. Plus the removable bee guards mean there are lots of parts to wash. Rating: B
Aspects HummZinger High View
I was surprised by the look of the Aspects HummZinger High View, because the reservoir is under the base. This is supposed to help you get a better view of the birds as they sit and eat. I’ve found that when there is a territorial male defending the feeder, other hummers will hide behind the reservoir and grab a sip or two of nectar before he catches on. So this feeder, without a reservoir to hide behind, might work in a more egalitarian society. But in my yard…not so much. This feeder is made of polycarbonate (unbreakable plastic), which is nice, but that also makes it a bit more expensive. Rating: B
Grateful Gnome Red Mushroom Feeder
This certainly caught my eye when I was scrolling past! Grateful Gnome makes a variety of hummingbird feeders with colorful reservoirs and metal bases, like this one named Red Mushroom. They are interesting and colorful, but the unusual shape of the reservoirs and the small opening can make them hard to clean. The metal base can get hot, so there’s a greater chance of mold growing in the base. Rating: C
Zummr Hummingbird Feeder Ring
Wouldn’t this be neat, if it actually worked? The idea is that you wear this Zummr Hummingbird Feeder Ring on your finger…then the hummers come up and eat out of your hand. However! Who’s going to sit still long enough for the hummingbirds to find the feeder, get over their fears, and actually take a drink? Not me, that’s for sure. The picture from their website was Photoshopped (you can see there’s no hummingbird in the reflection in her glasses). Nice try, but no. Rating: D
What’s your favorite hummingbird feeder? Any others you’d like me to review? The hungry hummers in my yard would be delighted to help…just leave a note in the comments!