How to Choose a Hummingbird Feeder

I’m often asked what types of hummingbird feeders are the best?  Well, it depends on who you talk to.

There are basically 2 styles—the vertical bottle style and the horizontal basin style.  Bottle feeders are just that, a gravity-fill bottle with ports on the bottom where the birds can access the nectar.  Basin style feeders, sometimes called flying saucers, are like covered bowls with holes on top for the birds to drink from.  Hummingbirds will use either type.

The Best 1 Hummingbird Feeder is a bottle style that's easy to clean with a bottle brush

The Best 1 Hummingbird Feeder is a bottle style that's easy to clean with a bottle brush

Dr. JB's Hummingbird Feeder--a bottle style feeder that disassembles easily to clean in dishwasher

Dr. JB's Hummingbird Feeder--a bottle style feeder that disassembles easily to clean in dishwasher

 

No matter which style or brand you use, it’s a good idea to examine a feeder in the store before making a purchase.  I prefer feeders with clear glass or plastic reservoirs so I can monitor nectar levels.

Take it apart and put it back together to see how it works.  If you’re lucky and attract swarms of hummingbirds to your yard, you’ll be doing this every few days all summer.

While you’re at it, check for loose parts or potentially tough spots to keep clean when the feeder gets dirty.  Pretend you’re filling it and carrying it outside—is it awkward to disassemble and reassemble?  Will you lose half the juice (and have a sticky floor to clean later) before you get it out of the kitchen?

Perky Pets Four Fountains bottle feeder--a classic feeder recommended by many, but I find them harder to clean than otherbrands

Perky Pets Four Fountains bottle feeder--a classic feeder recommended by many, but I find them harder to clean than other brands

Feeder manufacturers are constantly improving their designs, and shopping for a hummer feeder can be like searching for the perfect mouse trap.  Choose a size that’s appropriate for the number of birds you have.  If you’re just starting out and haven’t seen many birds, start with a small feeder or one that you can regulate the capacity to the numbers of birds you have and not waste nectar.  Remember, however, that the more feeders you have out, the more birds you’ll attract.

HummZinger Excel basin style feeder by Aspects. 2-pieces that snap apart and are very easy to clean.

HummZinger Excel basin style feeder by Aspects. 2-pieces that snap apart and are very easy to clean.

 

At Daybreak Imagery we use a variety of different hummingbird feeder styles including some from Droll Yankees, Aspects,  and Dr JB’s.   Our primary feeders are Best 1 because they are easy to fill and clean, are inexpensive, and they don’t leak when the wind blows them—which it does all summer in Illinois, the prairie state.

 

We have Jewel Box Window Feeders made by Aspects on our office windows.  I don’t have a photo of them, but they slip onto a window with little suction cups—and it sure brings a smile to my face to have hummingbirds just a few feet away from me as I work on my computer!

 

Sources for hummingbird feeders

Duncraft is a large mail-order company specializing in bird products

 

Hummer/Bird Study Group offers a large variety of hummingbird feeders, including Dr JB’s, plus spare parts for Perky Pets feeders.

 

Nottawa Wildbird Supply is where I buy Best 1 feeders

Droll Yankees Little Flyer 2 basin or saucer style feeder. A little more expensive but all feeders come with a lifetime guarantee. Those model can be hung from a hook or mounted on a pole (see black fitting on bottom of feeder)

Droll Yankees Little Flyer 2 basin or saucer style feeder. A little more expensive but all feeders come with a lifetime guarantee. Those model can be hung from a hook or mounted on a pole (see black fitting on bottom of feeder)

Our next blog post will cover where to put your feeders and what to do when the birds fight over your feeders.  Stay tuned!  And be sure to let us know when the hummers arrive at your place!

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