Choosing the best hummingbird feeder will make your love of watching these little jewels easier and more enjoyable.
There are many good hummer feeders on the market, but there are also some that you should avoid.
The bottle feeder is usually made of a glass or plastic bottle turned upside down, which sends the nectar into a small dish or tube.
They often include red plastic flowers and bee-guards (little plastic screens that keep insects away from the sugar solution) on the feeding ports.
When placing your feeder in direct sunlight consider using the dish style feeder. When the liquid stored in the bottle feeder warms it expands, which may cause it to leak.
The dish feeder is usually made of plastic. A dish-type feeder is basically a covered dish with feeding ports built into the cover.
The feeding ports in the top make them less attractive to bees and wasps. Many dish feeders are now designed with a glass storage bottle to dispense the sugar solution from above.
Since the wild birds may not be able to eat all of the solution, this style feeder could require more cleaning.
Make sure the feeder is easy to take apart and clean.
Even the best hummingbird feeder should be cleaned each time the nectar is changed and the nectar should be changed every 3 to 4 days.
If you see that the solution is cloudy, moldy or contaminated by insects, it should be changed right away.
Hummingbirds are extremely sensitive to the quality of the nectar. They will seek out a new source and possibly not return if they find sour, moldy, or dirty nectar in your feeder.
Keeping insects away from even the best hummingbird feeder may be difficult.
Some feeders have built-in nectar guards that prevent insects from accessing the nectar by using a flexible membrane that only the hummingbirds are able to bypass.
To deter ants, you may want to purchase a feeder with a built-in "ant cup", which can be filled with water to prevent ants from reaching the feeding ports. Ant cups can be purchased separately.
Artificial nectar can spoil in two to five days, depending on weather conditions. It is important to know when to put your feeders out. Since hummingbirds are migratory, they will arrive at your bird feeders at different times of the year depending on where you live.
If this is your first season putting out hummingbird feeders, it is better to put out small amounts of food at first. If you want to attract and observe more hummers, put out several small feeders instead of one large one. Hummingbirds are territorial and will protect their nectar sources.
You may have trouble attracting hummers even using the best hummingbird feeder. If so, try placing your feeders near flowers where hummers have been seen feeding. Since hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, you can also try tying strips of red cloth above your feeder. The blowing red strips may catch their attention.
If possible, the hummingbirds will sit while eating. They will also rest between meals. If your hummingbird feeders don't have perches, try placing them near small trees or shrubs. Planting a flower garden that will attract hummingbirds will provide you with the opportunity to observe them in a more natural setting. It will also attract more hummers.
Providing a food source is the best way to get a glimpse of one of God's most beautiful creations. While hummers can get along fine without the artificial nectar we provide, once feeding is initiated it should be viewed as a commitment.
The available sugar water provides a needed energy boost to hummingbirds, but the hummingbirds will give you warm, colorful memories to get you through the grey days of winter.