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Hummingbird question for experts.

5 posts in this topic

I have a buddy who loves his hummingbirds at his cabin, Goes up there sometimes twice a week just to feed them. Anyway, he just bought a place in North Branch and for a house warming present I want to get him a nice hummingbird feeder for his house. I have a few questions.

What makes a nice one? I see some are 15 bucks, some are 60. Glass vs plastic obviously but is there any difference in function?

Is there a specific brand or something that would be better than another?

Thanks guys...

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Virtually any of them will work, setterguy.

Mine are made of glass, not plastic, but we have a couple plastic ones at the lake cabin and they work just dandy. I do prefer nectar feeders that have perches in front of the feeding holes. Lots of times the hummers will perch and drink, so it's nice to offer them that chance instead of making them hover the whole time.

Coupla things for anyone looking in on this thread who wants to start feeding hummers. If you hang the feeder(s) fairly low, say at eye level, it makes for a better viewing experience. You don't need to buy any of the commercial nectar mixes. They are a waste of money. You can simply mix one part sugar with two or three parts water. I use hot water because it dissolves the sugar easier. You also don't need to put any red dye in it. They'll come to clear nectar in the feeders just as well as dyed nectar, and most feeders have red plastic bases anyway. Change the nectar once a week so it doesn't decay, more often in hot weather. If it turns cloudy, it's gone bad. Since my feeder holds about a quart of nectar, I don't fill it up. Even during peak migration times I don't go through that much nectar in a week, so I put in enough so it's 1/3 full.

Below is a pic of the three feeders we have sitting around the house right now. The center one is by far the best, IMO, because of the perches. The one on right cost a pretty penny, and my wife bought it because of how beautiful it is. We put it out and pulled the other feeder and never had a single hummer visit it for a month. As soon as we switched them, the hummers came right back. We put the one on left up right in front of the kitchen window for those times when there are more hummers than there are feeders, and because we can get a look at them from two feet away while we're in the house.


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I don't think I've ever bought a bad hummingbird feeder. Most of them work just fine. We've lost a couple to bears. Some have hornet/wasp guards on them which are nice in late summer and fall when these insects become more of a problem. Although when the wasps are bad you might have to take them down for a bit. More information from Laura Erickson who just had a "For the Birds" segment on hummingbirds: she suggests 1/4 cup sugar to 1 cup of water during the summer. A stronger mix when it is cooler. She says too strong a mix during heat and drought can lead to dehydration. No red dye! Harmful to the birds. Keep them clean. In warm weather change them every day or two. Sugar which starts to mold can cause liver damage.

The ones we buy have a glass tube for the resevoir and a red base with yellow hornet guards. They aren't that expensive. Buy 2.

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Another option you may want to look at is the Oriole feeders. They have a perch that when they sit on it their weight will open up the hole so that they can get a drink. That way you can watch both hummers and oriole's! That is what we have and they work real well. Take care and N Joy the Hunt././Jimbo

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My recipe is 1/2 cup sugar to 3 cups boiling water. Orioles and Humming Birds will share this all summer. If I'm making it for Orioles I use food coloring of 1 drop red and 3 drops yellow. They will both use it. In late summer when the Orioles leave I increase the sugar to a whole cup. That's when Hummers need extra energy for the migration.

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