In the meanwhile, you can satisfy your bird feeding needs with a simple, inexpensive plastic hummingbird feeder and focus on finding one that has the features and capabilities you need in the future.
A good hummingbird feeder may be taken apart completely for cleaning and repairs. Choose a hanger that can be placed over a single chain in order to avoid the chain whirling. However, more hummingbirds will benefit from the presence of perches in a number of port wells. Feeders that stand upright and make it easy to see any mold growth are preferable.
My ability to articulate my thoughts on what constitutes an excellent hummingbird feeder has helped me learn the ins and outs of these devices, allowing me to swiftly and easily handle any unforeseen problems that may arise.
Which is why I will be sure to highlight any problems that arise but can be resolved easily.
The best hummingbird feeder I have found is an upright kind, and the reason for this is that the nectar slowly flows from the top and downwards through the port wells used by the hummers to insert their bills and drink.
If you want to keep pest insects and other unwanted animals away from your hummingbird feeder, you should only choose a hanging model.
A window or tabletop feeder cannot serve the same purpose as a hanging feeder because it is not protected from squirrels.
Repelling Ants: A Methodical Approach An important feature of a hanging hummingbird feeder is the ant moat that prevents ants from getting into the feeder.
Hummingbirds use the perch while drinking from the well, but a red tinted nectar reservoir will deter them because the nectar is likely colored with red food coloring.
The most effective ant moats for hummingbird feeders can be found hanging directly above the feeders on the poles that hold the bird food.
What I don’t go into much depth about is feeder size, or should I say nectar capacity, which I recommend at 8 ounces to start. This is because I don’t think it matters as much, and if it does, it will only apply to your unique circumstances if and when they arise.
Consequently, a hummingbird feeder with only three or four port wells is a decent hummingbird feeder for beginners, and red is the best color for a hummingbird feeder of any kind, according to my research.
- 1 Fully disassembled to clean
- 2 Hung on Hanger over spinning Wire
- 3 Multiple port wells to invite more Hummers
- 4 Perch for hovering or perching hummingbirds
- 5 Upright ‘style’ Hummingbird feeder
- 6 Anti Bee or Ant feature included
- 7 Glass reservoir sustains nectar longer
- 8 Flat bottom to stand upright
- 9 To summarize up
Fully disassembled to clean
If you have a hummingbird feeder, or several, in your yard, and you don’t periodically clean and repair them, you’re inviting trouble.
Keep in mind that a hummingbird feeder requires regular maintenance, so don’t forget to clean it.
Therefore, I think the most important feature of any hummingbird feeder is the ability to disassemble it completely.
What I mean is that not only can every component be taken apart as easily as usual, but so can even the ones you least anticipate being taken apart.
The sections of the body will need to be disassembled, the hanging wire or hanger removed, and the port wells popped out so that the inside and exterior can be bathed in hot, soapy water.
Mold can easily grow in a hummingbird feeder if condensation is allowed to build up on its interior and exterior. A foggy interior is a symptom of overdue maintenance as well as an ideal environment for the growth of mold.
Once disassembled, a filthy feeder can be cleaned by carefully combing each component with a brush, one at a time, to eradicate any mold or bacteria.
Unkempt hummingbird feeders also run the risk of leaking due to the accumulation of gunk or filth in the connections of parts that must remain watertight.
Hung on Hanger over spinning Wire
A hummingbird feeder with a sturdy metal or plastic-coated metal hanger is ideal for hanging.
The wire or hanger that most hummingbird feeders come with is often chosen at the time of manufacture and determines how the feeder is hung.
Hummingbird feeders must be secured so that they do not sway or spin while in use, as this is caused by the single strand of chain or wire they are often hung from.
If the wire or rope in a chain becomes tangled, the chain will continue to rotate until the tangle is either manually untangled or, more improbable, untangled automatically.
That’s why it’s imperative that you only purchase a hummingbird feeder that has a sturdy metal hanger and not just a single piece of annoying chain or wire.
Hummingbird feeders must be hung from a bird feeder pole, therefore avoiding the problem of the feeder spinning is impossible unless you get the proper pole from the start.
Surprisingly, hummingbird feeders can also be placed on the ground or the railing of a deck, porch, or balcony, although I strongly advise using only the hanging varieties.
Hanging the hummingbird feeder beneath an ant moat is another good reason to use a heavy metal hanger to keep it from spinning. Place an ant moat on the pole of the bird feeder, then suspend the hummingbird feeder right below it.
The water in ant moats must be kept motionless or the leaks will persist.
Multiple port wells to invite more Hummers
More and more port wells will need to be added in your hummingbird feeder from the beginning if you plan on it being used by a large number of hummers at once.
A port well is a small hole that hummingbirds can use to reach your sugar water nectar.
Additionally, a perch would be situated below or close to the port wells, also called feeding ports.
Use a feeder with at least four (4) feeding port wells if you expect a large number of hummingbirds to visit your feeder.
One hummingbird feeder can serve multiple port wells placed at strategic distances, negating the need to purchase additional feeders.
If you only have a few ports, the hummingbirds that visit your yard may have to wait their turn or even fight over the feeder. Hummingbirds will quit fighting over a feeder if there are additional feeding ports available.
As a result, perches can be provided for each port well, which isn’t strictly required but can come in handy if the feeder isn’t stable enough for hummingbirds to feed without difficulty.
A hummingbird feeder’s nectar quantity should reflect the expected number of hummers visiting your yard; however, a feeder with an excessively large nectar capacity would necessitate more frequent cleaning and maintenance.
Perch for hovering or perching hummingbirds
It is your prerogative to decide whether or not your hummingbird feeder should contain perches, however I will admit that such a feeder does have some advantages.
I can say with certainty that hummingbird feeder perches are useful for hummers while they feed, especially in the event of an unsteady feeder.
To get a close look at hummingbirds in action, you should encourage them to hover near nectar-rich flowers in flight.
Hummingbirds may hover less if you don’t provide them with a perch at their feeder.
However, manufacturers make sure the perches on their feeders are out of the way in case a hummingbird prefers to hover rather than perch.
Hummingbirds benefit from perches because they provide a place to rest, but a dominant bird can only assert himself at a feeder if he has somewhere to perch.
Although a perch can provide a stable platform for hummingbirds to rest or feed on in windy conditions, hummingbirds do not always prefer a feeder with perches.
It’s true that hummingbirds and maybe even orioles will stop by your feeder occasionally, but you should also expect to see chickadees, woodpeckers, and finches, to name a few of the other species that can benefit from the nectar.
Hummingbirds can’t hover, therefore other birds will appreciate a perch if they’re allowed to eat on nectar from your feeder.
Upright ‘style’ Hummingbird feeder
Let me start by saying that I enjoy both vertical and horizontal hummingbird feeders, each with their own advantages.
The flat hummingbird feeder, or should I say disc-shaped, allows for unobstructed views of the tiny birds as they feed.
The disadvantage of an upright hummingbird feeder, which is simply an inverted glass or plastic bottle filled with nectar, is that any hummingbirds feeding behind the bottle will be out of sight, so you may miss out on seeing them quite often throughout the day.
You may still find both vertical and horizontal designs among my recommended hummingbird feeders, so pick one based on its aesthetic and functional preferences, as well as any additional features you’d like to have right away or in the future.
Now, in my opinion, an upside-down reservoir or bottle is what makes an upright design feeder a suitable hummingbird feeder to buy in terms of style rather than appearance.
The reason for this is that as the nectar in the reservoirs is consumed by the hummingbirds, you can easily monitor how much nectar is remaining.
It is more vital to have a reservoir that is not flat and therefore less likely to be obstructed in order to detect the presence of mold than it is to have a reservoir that is not flat and hence less likely to detect a harmful clouded over feeder interior.
Regular cleaning and maintenance keeps hummingbird feeders in good working order and prevents the spread of disease. If mold begins to grow in the feeder or the interior begins to cloud up, you will know immediately that something is wrong and may take action before it spreads.
Anti Bee or Ant feature included
As a result of the urgency with which many individuals need to get their hummingbird feeders up and running, they may often settle for the cheapest plastic option available.
Pre-installed attachments, such as a bee guard for a hummingbird feeder or an ant moat for a similar feeder, can save you time and money in the long run, but only if you plan ahead.
Hummingbird feeders with bee guards are replacements for, or removable yellow caps for, the feeding port wells where hummers consume the nectar.
Hummingbirds can still get to the nectar with their beaks poking through the spaces in the bee guard, which is available from companies like Perky-Pets, but bumblebees can’t get to it.
An ideal hummingbird feeder would come with bee guards already attached to each port well, though they can be purchased separately if necessary.
Hummingbird feeders with bee guards will not prevent bees from landing on the feeder, but they will reduce the number of bees visiting the feeder to feed on the nectar.
If you’ve just purchased a hummingbird feeder without taking any precautions against the inevitable ant invasion, I highly recommend investing in an ant moat that hangs directly above the feeder.
On the other hand, if you’re in the market for a new hummingbird feeder or simply want to enhance your current one, you can find models that already come equipped with an ant moat.
A flat-style hummingbird feeder’s ant moat will be a deep water dish surrounding the hanging bar; on my preferred upright’style’ feeder, the ant moat to fill up with water will be directly beneath the feeding port wells.
Glass reservoir sustains nectar longer
If you have a strong opinion about whether a glass or plastic hummingbird feeder would be superior, then you should follow that.
Glass reservoir hummingbird feeders are my preference not because they attract more birds but because of their attractive appearance.
However, I’m curious as to whether or not a hummer will be drawn to the glimmering reflection of glass in the air, as opposed to the dull sheen of a plastic hummingbird feeder reservoir.
Whether it’s constructed of plastic or glass, a hummingbird feeder serves the same purpose. However, because plastic is more malleable, all of the connections during assembly can be sealed more snugly to prevent leaks.
Whereas the seal when filling a glass hummingbird feeder isn’t as good as plastic, it can be maintained by keeping the areas that need to remain sealed free of visible crud and filth.
Plastic hummingbird feeders may be convenient for the birds, but we shouldn’t forget about the fact that the water or other liquids stored in plastic bottles may start to take on an unpleasant plastic flavor.
The same holds true for hummingbird feeders, however there is a possibility that microplastics will seep into the nectar supply.
Hummingbird feeders made of metal or glass will hold up much better to the elements, but plastic will eventually start to deform and lose its original form due to exposure to the elements.
I’ve become very particular about what features a hummingbird feeder must have, which isn’t crucial but does offer certain advantages.
You may disassemble, clean, and upgrade your hummingbird feeder with accessories by setting it on a flat surface like a table or the floor.
Think about all the extra effort you’d have to put in if the hummingbird feeder didn’t have a base to rest on.
Even if you have two hands, filling a hummingbird feeder the appropriate way requires a feeder that stands upright, otherwise you’ll have to use one of them to hold the feeder steady while the other fills it with nectar.
For this reason, it’s important to select a hummingbird feeder with a flat base.
I know I just said I was being picky, but trust me, a hummingbird feeder that already includes this simple but useful feature will save you a lot of time and effort.
The best approach to clean a hummingbird feeder is to soak it in soapy water and then let it dry while standing up, either the correct way or the wrong way around. This will allow the soapy water to drain out, unlike if the feeder had to be lay on its side.
Despite this, you may occasionally wish to try something new by moving what is otherwise a stationary hummingbird feeder. A feeder can be placed on any flat surface in the yard, so it doesn’t need to have a flat bottom.
Keep the feeder level to stop nectar from dripping out of the port wells.
A hummingbird feeder can be placed on a window, but it is also feasible to set one on a garden table outside, which can provide a better vantage point for watching the tiny birds as they feed.
To summarize up
There is a great deal of thought that goes into the design and performance of an excellent hummingbird feeder.
But it still needs to be functional for the hummingbirds in your backyard, which means providing them with unrestricted access when they feed from perches or hover.
Just to clarify, when I talk about what I think makes an excellent hummingbird feeder, I’m referring to the ones that have a vertical (or inverted) reservoir filled with nectar rather than a flat (or disc-shaped) feeder.
For the simple reason that it’s easier to keep an eye on things when the reservoir is vertical. To put it another way, if mold is growing or the area is becoming cloudy, you will be able to see it more clearly.
At the outset, focus on the hummingbird feeders that can be taken apart into their component parts in order to facilitate thorough cleaning and removal of mold and bacteria.
If you decide on a hanging feeder, look for one with a sturdy metal hanger rather than a single length of wire or chain, which could twist and cause the hummingbird feeder to spin erratically.
The use of numerous port wells is recommended to avoid the requirement for any future expansion. Initially, only a few hummingbirds may visit a feeder with nectar, but as time goes on, more and more hummers will come to the feeder.
To accommodate hummingbirds who prefer to sit while feeding or resting, I recommend installing perches next to each port well. This will not interfere with the feeding habits of hovering hummers.
If you live in an area prone to bug infestation, look for a hummingbird feeder that also comes with bee protections attached.
The greatest hummingbird feeders have glass reservoirs, but plastic ones work just as well and even better because they make a stronger seal to prevent leaks, which is why I prefer them.
With all that said consider any style of hummingbird feeder with a flat exterior base so you can stand it upright to clean, maintain, to add accessories if needed while easily filling up with nectar if it can stand up free-hand.