Hummingbirds are jewel like little birds that brighten up any outdoor area and a great way to attract them is to put hummingbird feeders in your garden.
Unlike other bird feeders, hummingbird feeders dispense a liquid diet instead of seeds. You can either purchase or build a hummingbird feeder by yourself; what’s important is keeping the hummingbirds safe, happy, and well-fed.
Understanding the Diet of Hummingbirds
Before choosing a hummingbird feeder, you need to understand first what it is that hummingbirds love to eat. Although the mixture that hummingbird feeders dispense is a simple combination of water and sugar, this is not the only source of nourishment for hummingbirds. In fact, this is more like a substitute food for hummingbirds only. What they’re really interested in eating are spiders and insects.
Avoid including commercially produced and sweetened mixtures in your hummingbirds’ diet because they may cause serious medical complications for your little friends. Although many people are in the practice of dying mixtures red to “increase” its attractiveness to hummingbirds, this method is not only unnecessary but potentially dangerous as well.
Feed Yourself with a Little History
The first hummingbird feeder that was sold in the market was invented by Boston’s Laurence J. Webster. He was primarily motivated to invent such a tool for his spouse, but a feature on a famous magazine gave way to the demand for the public release of Webster’s hummingbird feeder in 1950.
How to Choose the Right Hummingbird Feeder
Various designs of feeders for hummingbirds are sold both in online and land-based bird specialty shops and general merchandise stores.
Material – Hummingbird feeders can be made in glass, ceramic, or plastic. Aesthetics play a huge role in decision making though you should also consider the durability of the material as well. Excessive shaking, force, or pressure can cause glass or ceramic hummingbird feeders to fall while plastic hummingbird feeders are essentially immune to such factors.
Bowl or Bottle Shape – Hummingbird feeder bowls are easier to maintain and may have an easier time in attracting hummingbirds because the source of food is visible unlike bottle shaped hummingbird feeders. On the other hand, bottle shaped hummingbird feeders can keep food or nourishment fresh and uncontaminated for a longer time than hummingbird feeder bowls.
Assembly and Maintenance – Since you can’t very well expect a hummingbird to clean after himself, you’ll need to make sure that for one, you’re using a hummingbird feeder that you can easily assemble and disassemble whenever necessary. Secondly, it’s best that you make use of a hummingbird feeder which is also easy to clean and maintain. Shape and material should be considered in this aspect.
Perches – If you are interested in hummingbirds for photographic purposes, you might not desire to have perches as part of hummingbird feeders because they tend to obstruct the view of hummingbirds. Perches however are extremely helpful to hummingbirds since it enables them to feed in comfort and perhaps even rest for a while if they wish to.
Where to Place Hummingbird Feeders
Once you’ve selected the appropriate hummingbird feeder, it’s time to determine the best location for it. Your first consideration should be finding a place where it’s easily noticeable and accessible for the hummingbirds. Secondly, it must be a place where you can also easily view the hummingbird feeder from the comfort of your home.
Don’t place a hummingbird feeder near your windows because this may cause them to hit themselves on the glass. If necessary, place paintings or pictures of bigger birds on your windows to prevent them from getting too close and hurting themselves in the process.
If you are only interested in feeding and taking care of hummingbirds, you might want to discourage bigger birds from claiming your hummingbird feeder as their territory and consequently prevent them from having a fight with size-challenged hummingbirds.
Dos and Don’ts for Hummingbird Feeders and Feeding
Regularly replenish the content of your hummingbird feeder with new stock because hummingbirds are very particular with their food.
Clean your hummingbird feeders regularly as well because hummingbirds are averse to contaminated surroundings.