Maybe I’m jumping the gun, but when it hit 32 degrees yesterday, my thoughts turned to hummingbirds. Specifically – making sure my hummingbird feeders are clean and ready for the hummers’ spring return.
Hummingbirds aren’t fussy about their feeders. But having tried umpteen different brands over the years, I’ve developed a few “must-have” features.
In 2013, I discovered the First Nature Hummingbird Flower Feeder, and it ticks all the boxes. I haven’t bought another brand since. The feeders are easy to fill, look great year after year, and they’re just the right size. I’ve even given them as gifts!
In this article I’ll list all the features of awesome hummingbird feeders tell you why they’re essential.
Table of Contents
Features of Awesome Hummingbird Feeders
Is it silly to be so picky about hummingbird feeders? Maybe. But if you love to feed those little acrobats, a poorly designed feeder will drive you crazy.
Here’s a list of the right features – and why they’re so important.
Most Important Feature: Easy to Clean
When you’re shopping for hummingbird feeders, don’t be swayed by all those cutesy, creative models.
Instead, imagine yourself at the sink, scouring desperately away at those disgusting interior crannies with a bottle brush – wishing evil thoughts on its designer.
Seriously. Badly designed hummingbird feeders can make a grown woman cry. I confess to having just pitched a few in the trash, they were so awful to clean.
I use and highly recommend the First Nature Hummingbird Flower Feeder. It holds two cups – just the right amount to feed hummingbirds for a few days, but not so long that the nectar goes bad. (And it will in the summer heat, so hang yours in the shade if possible.)
At cleaning time, the First Nature Hummingbird Flower Feeder completely snaps apart and cleans up in a jiffy. Even the yellow bee guards snap out! (Save that for a good scrub before storing away at summer’s end.) I use a little scrub brush, and it literally takes about one minute. I can even get my hand inside the nectar reservoir to give it a good swish with a cloth or sponge.
Just don’t put it in the dishwasher, or you’ll end up with a ball of melted plastic. No, I didn’t read the directions.
Multiple Feeding Ports for More Hummingbirds
“If you feed them, they will come.” The First Nature hummingbird feeders have 10 feeding ports covered with bright yellow bee guards.
The bee guards highlight the feeding ports so hummers can find them. And they prevent sugar-hungry bees from getting into the nectar.
While hummingbirds can be fiercely territorial, hanging several feeders often solves this problem. A “bully” hummer can’t guard them all.
Instead, create a peaceful hummingbird community by offering multiple feeding stations. The tiny birds will settle and share the feeders happily.
Lightweight and Attractive Hummingbird Feeders
We live in Northwoods lake country, and…
We’ve. Got. Critters.
Our poor hummingbird feeders have been knocked down, dragged around and hit the ground way too many times.
The First Nature plastic feeders are hard, molded plastic; they’ve survived the abuse. Because they’re so lightweight, they basically bounce when hitting the ground; the plastic is uber forgiving.
(For that same reason, they’re wimps in the dishwasher and shrivel right up. Pick your battles.)
Extra Perks: Built-In Ant Trap and Hummingbird Perch!
The First Nature birdfeeder has two extra perks that are HUGE: 1) A built-in ant trap, and 2) a little perch that surrounds the feeder.
Just fill the top of the feeder lid with water, and it becomes a moat that deters ants from climbing down to the feeding ports.
Regarding the feeding perch, I had no idea hummingbirds would love it so much. Who knew!?
Until getting the First Nature feeder, I’d never actually seen a hummer sit down to drink. Now I watch them belly up to the feeding port and hang out there for several minutes. How fun!
These are sturdy little feeders, and over the years I’ve probably bought a dozen plus:
- We hang several of them out now
- I had to replace two stolen by a bear and a raccoon (not together)
- And then the one that melted.
- Plus I’ve given some as gifts!
I just love these feeders and appreciate the well-thought-out design.
Oh – if you have lots of hungry hummingbirds and the nectar goes fast, First Nature also makes a 32-ounce version.
Question: What is the recipe for hummingbird nectar?
To attract these amazing birds to your yard, you just need water and sugar in a decent feeder.
Don’t bother with pre-made nectar from the store. Here’s the simple hummingbird food recipe: Just mix water and sugar together in a 4:1 ratio (e.g. four cups water to one cup sugar).
Dinner is served!
You do NOT need to add red food coloring, like many birders and advertisers suggest. Instead tie a red ribbon or tape to the feeder, and that will attract the birds. And really, most hummingbird feeders are red, anyway, so you probably won’t need to worry about color.
You do NOT need to add red food coloring, like many birders and advertisers suggest. Instead tie a red ribbon or tape to the feeder, and that will attract the birds.
You also don’t need to boil the sugar water to kill bacteria. (I used to do this.) Why? Because hummingbirds will add bacteria to the nectar with their first sip.
But DO wash the feeder with every nectar refill. The hummers will be healthier, and the nectar will stay fresh longer.
Plan on swapping out the nectar every 2-3 days – or even daily, in hot weather. Sugar water can quickly turn bad in the heat. Bad nectar can make hummingbirds very sick.
If you have just a few hummers, fill the feeder only halfway. That way you won’t dump nectar when it’s time to clean the feeders.
Conclusion: The Right Hummingbird Feeders Makes Hummer Watching Easy
Hummingbirds are beautiful and fascinating little creatures, and they provide hours of birdwatching fun. Hummingbird feeders are a great way to attract hummingbirds to your yard.
The First Nature feeder is lightweight and easy to hang. It snaps apart for quick cleaning. And it has a built-in ant trap and perch, making it one of the most practical feeders on the market.
Hummingbirds find it fast and return over and over!
You can buy this feeder in three designs. And if you have a lot of hummingbirds visiting your yard, they also make a 32-ounce version. The nectar recipe is simple: mix four cups water with one cup sugar for every batch.
If you want to attract lots of hummingbirds to your yard, be sure to place the feeder in an open spot where they will be able to see it well.
And keep the feeder filled with fresh nectar at all times!
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