Hummingbird feeders come in all kinds of shapes and sizes. Those that are designed to meet the needs of both the birds and the people who use the feeders are more desirable than those that don't.
Hummingbirds and Their Feeders
Hummingbirds have delighted people forever, whether devoted bird-watchers or not. These tiny creatures, zipping around and performing incredible high-speed acrobatics, are likely the birds most people most want to see in their yards. Hummingbirds require lots of food to support their high-energy metabolism, and consequently are easily attracted to yard nectar feeders. A wide range of hummingbird feeders are sold, but few of these seem designed to meet the needs of both birds and providers.
A Review of Three Hummingbird Feeders
Of the dozens of hummingbird feeders currently marketed, three that meet many of the most desired characteristics are reviewed below. These three are:
- Aspects, Inc. HummZinger Mini 8-ounce Feeder
- Best-1 8-ounce Hummingbird Feeder
- First Nature 16-ounce Model 3051
The Aspects, Inc. 8-Ounce HummZinger Mini Hummingbird Feeder
At 8 ounces, this Aspects feeder falls within the desired 8-16 ounce range. The feeder is plastic, with a clear reservoir, and sits flat on a countertop for easy refilling. The Aspects feeder is circular, with the feeding holes built into the cover of the reservoir, and the cover is colored red. There are three feeding holes, which is much better than a single hole feeder, and the holes are equally-spaced around the circumference of the feeder. A perch circles the entire feeder as well. There is a small water reservoir in the center of the feeder to trap ants, but this is too small to be of much value.
The Aspect feeders are easy to clean and fill, since the lid lifts off, exposing the full reservoir. A sturdy open-ended hanging hook is also incorporated into the design.
Other models are available from Aspects, including a 12-ounce feeder with 4 holes, the Ultra, and the Excel, which has 6 holes and a capacity of 16 ounces. The Aspects feeders are made in Warren, Rhode Island, and available at Amazon.com for $18.99 for the Mini, $21.49 for the Ultra and $17.99 for the Excel.
Best-1 8-Ounce Hummingbird Feeder
This popular feeder consists of an 8-ounce glass container with a threaded red plastic reservoir. The reservoir has 8 holes and a circular perch. The bottom of the reservoir is flat, facilitating filling, but the refill opening is narrow, making it somewhat more difficult to fill and clean (a bottle brush is required). Other disadvantages of this feeder include the thin plastic perch, which breaks easily, and the plastic reservoir, which fades and discolors in sunlight.
The Best-1 feeder is made in Poteet, Texas, and is available from Amazon.com for $16.99. Other, larger capacity, feeders are also available from Best-1.
First Nature Model 3051 Hummingbird Feeder
The First Nature model 3051 feeder consists of a clear plastic 16-ounce container and a red plastic reservoir with 10 feeding holes. The primary container has a wide opening, facilitating both cleaning and refilling. The reservoir/base is easy to remove and clean, with a 4-tab locking mechanism. A plastic hook is also included for hanging. The First Nature model is easy to clean, easy to fill, has more than enough feeding holes and is inexpensive. Constructed completely of plastic, it is somewhat less sturdy, but the components are solid and field tests have not discovered any specific disadvantages.
16-ounce feeders are available from the manufacturer in Rogers, Arkansas, for $9.99. Basically the same feeder, model 3051, is also available at Wal-Mart stores for less than five dollars.
Although hummingbird food or mixes are widely available, it is easy and far less expensive to make your own. Nectar should not be colored with food dye or anything else, and food should be changed often to keep it from deteriorating.
How Many Hummingbird Feeders Should be Used?
Hummingbirds are territorial, and will be quite aggressive in protecting their territory and driving intruding hummingbirds away. Consequently, one may want to hang several feeders to provide options for visiting birds. Feeders should be spaced as widely as possible to allow birds to claim individual and separate territories. In addition, they should be hung more than three feet from windows, to protect the birds from accidental collisions.