A hummingbird feeding.Hummingbird feeders are of utmost importance when attracting and keeping hummingbirds in your yard.  Feeders come in a variety of styles, colors and size.  It is important to consider the features, glass or plastic, saucer or cylinder, etc.

  • The most important consideration is how easy it is to clean.  Narrow-necked bottle feeders or feeders with small filling holes are difficult to clean.  Feeders should come apart so that all parts are accessible and easy to clean.  Glass feeders wash more easily than plastic without scratching.  It is important to choose a feeder that allows you to see nectar levels and mold build-up.
  • Though most hummingbird feeders have some red coloring, the ruby-throated hummingbird doesn’t show a strong preference for any particular color of feeder. Instead, it prefers specific locations for feeders.  Place feeders in areas that offer perching sites – openly branched trees, shrubs, and vines.
  • Some feeders leak every time the wind blows.  This may be due to location, weight, style or some combination of the three.  If the wind is emptying your feeder, first consider relocating it to a more sheltered area.  Then consider a heavier weight feeder (glass feeders will be heavier) and/or a different style. Though there are hundreds of varieties of hummingbird feeders, they all fall into one of two design categories: vacuum or saucer.
  • A feeder may leak in response to temperature changes.  The summer heat may cause feeders to expand and force the nectar out through the feeder ports or joints. Generally, glass feeders are better because they don’t expand like the plastic feeders do, and feeders with raised feeder holes, ports, tend to drip less
  • Feeders that have slightly raised or shallow plastic flowers around the ports, allow hummers to feed without pulling their head out continually while feeding to survey their surroundings.  Cautious hummers may not approach a feeder where they have to bury their heads deep in a plastic flower to reach the sweet reward.
  • Tube-type gravity fed hummingbird feeders simulate the tube shape of many nectar-bearing flowers. However, because of their design, these feeders may drip.  To minimize dripping, full completely with cool nectar, insert the stopper, and invert quickly to avoid any air entering the feeder. Hang your feeder in shade or partial shade.
  • Hummers will use feeders with and without perches.  Feeders with perches allow you to get a better look at the birds.  However, perches also allow larger, non- hovering birds to use the feeders.  If you don’t want other birds using the feeder, use feeders without perches.