The first Hummingbird feeders known to mankind were a small glass tube adorned with red artificial flowers and filled with sugar to attract Hummingbirds’ attention. However, most people don’t know how and when this happened and who pioneered this brilliant idea.
According to most sources in the early 1900s, Althea R. Sherman, a self-taught ornithologist, discovered these feeders. He was also the first person to train Hummingbirds to feed nectar from a feeder.
After feeding a Hummingbird, it becomes a people’s favorite pastime, and every time you walk through any garden, you will find one or more Hummingbirds feeding on these feeders. Here in this article, we will discuss the types of Hummingbird feeders and tips for using them accurately.
What are Hummingbird Feeders?
A Hummingbird feeder is an outdoor bird feeder that is used to attract Hummingbirds. The advantage of a Hummingbird feeder is that it is very easy to clean and refill.
Types of Hummingbird Feeders
Saucer vs. Vacuum
There are many varieties of Hummingbird feeders, but almost all work in two models, either vacuum or saucer.
Vacuum feeders generally have an inverted bottle, and the base is attached to the bottom of the feeding bottle. The nectar that is filled inside the bottle is held there by the pressure vacuum created by the trapped air. When the Hummingbird’s tongue and beak probes, the nectar from the feeder will be released, and the Hummingbirds use their tongue to eat it. Vacuum feeders have many advantages, especially they are very easy to refill and clean and, most importantly, if they work properly, they will dole out over time.
However, the downside of the vacuum feeder is that it leaks over time when one or more factors break the vacuum. Leaks occur due to many reasons, such as when the seal that is present around the feed port is not tight or when the feeder expands due to sunlight, or when the vacuum pressure is reduced due to low nectar. When the vacuum feeder is leaking, it will attract other pests and insects that Hummingbirds cannot easily cope with.
The other most commonly used feeder is the saucer feeder. A saucer-type feeder is a bowl-like container in which Hummingbirds have to probe down into the feeding port. The only downside to the saucer feeder is that it can be disturbed by the wind, mammals, or larger birds. Another disadvantage is that few of the saucer-type feeders are difficult to clean.
How to Choose Feeding Ports?
There are feeding ports present in Hummingbird feeders that are very important for the feeding purpose. If the Hummingbirds have a very small port, it will not allow the nectar to come out, and the birds will find it difficult to use it. Similarly, ports that are too large will cause nectar to leak and will also spoil the solution.
There are plastic flowers available that are placed over the ports. These flowers are used to show Hummingbirds where the probe is. They do not fulfill any function to prevent the access of wasps, insects, ants, and bees. For this, bee guards are used that are also placed on the ports and prevent insects from reaching the nectar.
However, the Hummingbird has no problem with these protectors, as they have a tongue that can extend almost twice the length of the beak and reach the depths of the feeder. When choosing the feeding port, select the one with the bee guard.
Tips on Choosing a Hummingbird Feeder
● Always choose a feeder that can carry the amount of feed you want to feed the hummers. First, start with a small feeder; as the number of visiting birds increases, move to medium and large model feeders.
● Always select the best Hummingbird feeders that are easy to clean. Saucers that have small fill holes and narrow neck bottle feeders are not easy to clean. Similarly, do not go for ceramic feeders, as it is difficult to observe the level of nectar in them. The best feeder is one that is very easy to clean.
● When buying feeders, don’t choose one that looks pretty. Always look for function, not appearance. Most of the good-looking models don’t work properly and are even difficult for hummers to use.
● It is not necessary to mount the perches on the feeders as they are for looks only. Perches allow large birds to feed and if you don’t want this, use feeders that do not have perches.
How to Use the Hummingbird Feeder?
There are a few things to keep in mind when using the Hummingbird feeder.
Place the Feeder Where Hummingbirds Can See it
If you made all the preparations, the Hummingbirds would know that the feeder is ready for them. Place the Hummingbird bird feeder in a highly visible location in your garden. But it does not mean that you should place the feeder in the middle of the yard. The reason is that if the feeder is far from a shelter, Hummingbirds will be reluctant to feed on them as they feel unsafe and exposed.
Instead, place the feeder near a shelter, such as near shelter plants or in an area that provides a wide view of the neighborhood. This will help attract new passing Hummingbirds. Remember, in addition to getting a proper meal; it’s all about safety for a Hummingbird.
Place the Feeder 10-15 Feet From Cover
Hummingbirds like to stay outside only if they are not feeding; otherwise, they want to live in their place. In this way, Hummingbirds conserve as much energy as they can. Therefore, the best place to place a feeder 10 to 15 feet away from a tree. Doing so will give them room to stay and rest from the sun.
You can imagine that if your feeder works better, more and more Hummingbirds will be attracted to it, and you will have to put more feeders. All the new Hummingbirds will wait in the planted bushes and trees for their turn to feed on the feeding port.
Place the Feeder Where it is Visible to You
Always place the Hummingbird feeder in an area where you can monitor the entry and exit of these small birds. If you’ve met all the requirements outlined above, here are some ideas for placing the feeder:
● Anywhere on the edge of the porch
● In front of any bench facing east
● Near the window but not too close to it.
● A place that is on your camera’s radar
It is also important to place the feeder in an area that is easy to reach and refill so that you can easily clean it and control pests.
Place the Feeder in a Safe Location
Hanging the feeder in an unsafe position can harm Hummingbirds, so always place the feeder at a suitable height so that predators like squirrels and cats cannot jump on it and spoil the food. Similarly, place these feeders three feet close to the window or at least 10 feet away from the window to avoid collisions.
Hummingbird feeders can be placed anywhere, and there are different types of Hummingbirds, but you need to select the feeder according to the strength of the birds visiting your backyard. Similarly, always place the feeder in a safe area.
You can set goals to bird-watch for these Hummingbirds after you have placed your bird feeder in your backyard and record your results.