Hummingbirds are a joy to watch! I have plenty of flowers planted to feed them from last frost to first frost. But even with the plethora of flowers I grow, they still frequent my feeders.
I live in Texas. It gets blazing hot down here in the summer and some days it doesn’t cool off until well after midnight. Feeding hummingbirds in our heat can be tricky. If you have a large feeder, you will need to have a lot of hummers to empty it before the nectar goes bad. Even though I have hummingbirds feeding from mine all day, they couldn’t empty the large feeders before the nectar started to mold and ferment. I was wasting a lot of sugar.
In heat over 80 degrees you need to change and clean your feeder twice a week. I have found that the larger feeders need quite a bit of scrubbing and have a lot of parts to them. Also, for the nectar to flow correctly the feeder needs to be completely full when you change it. It works a lot like our rabbit’s water bottle. The smaller the air bubble that you start with: the better the vacuum seal it creates and less is wasted by dripping out until it self seals.
So, I was looking for options for this dilemma: feeders that were too big, hard to clean and wasteful. I found these: four fantastic feeders! Four feeder set These are perfect if you have high heat and birds that won’t share feeders.
I ordered a set with the intention of ordering a second set if they worked out. They have turned out to be ideal! I was worried about having the hummers empty these too quickly but they last two or three days. Exactly how long they should to be fresh!
These feeders are plastic and they are not perfectly made (like glass feeders are.) The small chips and burs on the plastic do not seal well and if you use them “as is” they will drip. I have found a small amount of plumber’s tape fixes this. Even if you are buying glass feeders, the plastic base on most of them will age quickly. Honestly: I’d rather have some cheap plastic ones and throw them out as they age. With the set of four, I always have one or two fresh ones out at a time. I also have time to clean the other ones without having to worry about the hummers moving on and leaving the area because I’ve taken down the feeders.
I have a lot of things I spend money on outdoors so saving money on feeders is definitely a plus. I really like these feeders and I’ve ordered my second set. I also like this similar set of two with suction cup hangers.
Some recommendations: once you put plumbers tape on these, you won’t want to run the part with the tape through the dishwasher. The tape can come off and that could be really bad for your dishwasher. Luckily these are really simple to clean by soaking the pieces in a little vinegar or bleach water. You only need a few tablespoons, per gallon of water, to clean them. Rinse them well and you are good to go.
My first set is now 5 years old and they are just as good as they started out. They are a little sunbleached and I have to replace the plumber’s tape yearly, but I still love them. They also come with a plastic covered wire. I’m still using the originals of those too. Now that I have two sets (8 feeders total) I put four out at a time. Sometimes I add one of my older larger feeders, especially when it rains or gets above 90 degrees. But they still never empty those.
If you have more than one feeder out at a time, remember that hummingbirds can be very territorial. Space your feeders out so they can’t hog all of them. My hummingbirds won’t share. No matter what size feeder I put out: there’s only one bird feeding at a time. I watch those YouTube videos of tons of birds on a single feeder and wish I had that variety of hummers, but alas, in my area: our birds are very aggressive and territorial. I will never have that many on a feeder, so I space mine out across my yard, to hopefully, feed more than a single pair of birds. With these smaller feeders, they empty them at the same rate no matter how many I have out. That tells me that there are more birds feeding, the more feeders I have out there. So, I’m happy to help our little guys out. If they won’t share: then this seems like the best way to get as many fed as I can.
By the way, don’t add color to the water and only mix sugar water at 1 cup granular sugar to 4 cups water. Food coloring can make hummingbirds sick and powdered sugar has additives. They also need the right ratio of calories to water.
I’ve read if you see one hummer there are probably at least four different ones using the feeder. I know I have at least a mated pair. The birds I have are black-chinned hummingbirds. They are common here near San Antonio, Texas. But the male is always fighting off other birds, so I honestly don’t know how many actually make it to the feeder (since they won’t share the bigger feeders I’ve used.)
You can feed many birds if you space four feeders across your yard. Most people buy the big feeders not realizing that they are not effectively feeding our type of bird. In our area of Texas they seem happy to enjoy the native flowers as much as the feeders. If you plant your garden with hummingbirds in mind, your birds can easily enjoy a varied diet.
You can grow hummingbird friendly flowers by looking for seed mixes made just for them. Or grow a swath of the same flowers from this list: hummingbird friendly flowers
What else makes hummers happy?
Large rocks that they can warm up on.
Clean dish of water (also misters or drip fountains) with a perching area, so they can easily use it.
Muddy puddles where they can gather salt.
Encourage spiders and insects (by not using insecticide) as these birds not only use spider silk in their nests, but often steal small insects stuck in the webs, which they eat to complete their dietary requirements.
They also eat insects in flight and enjoy gnats. If you put a hanging dish of fruit out, the hummers will feast on the insects attracted to the fruit. They may consume the fruit and juice as well. Although, I’d place this away from where you will be spending time. You will attract bees and wasps with this technique, too.
Enjoy your hummers this season and let me know how these feeders work for you!