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You Can Feed Hummingbirds From the Palm of Your Hand With This Tiny Feeder
Whether you're a pro or novice bird-watcher, bird feeders are a fun, easy way to add a little life to your backyard. But with so many hummingbird feeder options on the market, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. We talked to John Rowden, director of community conservation at the National Audubon Society to find out everything you need to know about creating your own hummingbird oasis that's safe for the birds and stress-free for you.
What should I look for in a hummingbird feeder?
All of our picks are red, and that's no accident — hummingbirds prefer red feeders because most of the flowers they feed from have red in them. You'll also want to look for feeders that are easy to clean. This is one of the most important things, stresses Rowden: Feeders must be cleaned every couple of days to ensure that the nectar doesn't spoil, especially in the summer. If your nectar does spoil, it could turn hummingbirds away from your feeder forever!
To clean the feeder, pour out any remaining nectar and then disassemble the parts (avoid feeders with tons of tiny parts). "Scrub all the parts thoroughly with hot water and a bottle brush," like this all-in-one set from Oxo, advises Carolyn Forte, Good Housekeeping Institute Cleaning Lab director. Be sure to let all parts dry thoroughly before reassembling to avoid mold growth. You can rinse with a weak vinegar solution but don't reach for soap since it can leave behind a residue.
Where is the best place to hang a hummingbird feeder?
Pick a spot in your backyard with vegetation no more than 10 to 15 feet away: Hummingbirds feel most comfortable where there's cover nearby, explains Rowden. You should also find a spot that's easy for you to access every couple of days to clean and refill the feeder. Want to hang a few feeders? Great! Just be sure to place them at least 50 feet apart or on opposite sides of your house — hummingbirds can be extremely territorial.
What else attracts hummingbirds to a feeder? Fresh nectar! While you can buy premade versions, it’s simple enough to make yourself with just two ingredients: refined white sugar and water. Mix one part sugar with four parts water until the sugar is dissolved. Not only is it OK to feed hummingbirds sugar water, it's their preference!
Now that you have the lowdown, check out our top hummingbird feeder picks:
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1) Hummingbird Feeder
This Amazon best-seller has over 350 5-star reviews and it's easy to see why — many consumers say that while they've tried other brands, hummingbirds seem to like this best!
Designed with feeding ports, a handy perch and a built-in hook, all you have to do is fill it with nectar and clean it regularly. One reviewer says, "These feeders are definitely easy to clean as they have a wide access mouth when taken apart."
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2) Hummingbird Feeder
If you love a vintage look, you can't go wrong with this antique glass hummingbird feeder. Reviewers love that it's real red glass, not just a painted version, which will keep the color from fading. It also holds 22 ounces of liquid so you won't have to worry about refilling multiple times a day.
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3) Pinch Waist Glass Hummingbird Feeder
This glass pick hold 8 ounces of liquid and is a great size if you're new to the hummingbird scene. A smaller feeder means you won't have to waste any uneaten nectar, and it's also a good way to gauge how many bird visitors come to your yard. If you notice the feeder is running low at rapid speed, you can upgrade to a bigger model or add a second one!
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4) HummZinger HighView Hanging Hummingbird Feeder
Unlike other vertical feeders, this basin-style model offers a virtually unobstructed view of hummingbirds, no matter where they're feeding. We also like that it has a built-in ant moat in the center to keep insects away from the nectar — especially helpful if you're planning to hang it on a tree.
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5) Hand Blown Glass Hummingbird Feeder
This hand-blown glass feeder is a total statement piece for your backyard. It comes in four other colors and patterns, but we recommend the red options to attract more hummingbirds. And while it only has four ports for the birds to feed from, it holds an impressive 36 ounces. Not to mention, it has a hanging hook and rope, brush, cleaning rag, and an ant moat!
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6) Plastic Top Fill Hummingbird Feeder
While this one holds less liquid than others (just 16 ounces), its top-fill design makes it super-easy to use. Since you can just pour the nectar in, it eliminates the tricky step of flipping the bottle over and attaching it to the base, which our resident hummingbird pro says leads to wasted nectar, extra clean-ups, and more frequent refilling.
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7) Window Hummingbird Feeder
For an up-close-and-personal look at visiting hummingbirds, this window-mounted feeder is the ultimate pick. Fill it with nectar, and then attach it to an outside window to create an at-home bird-watching station. Keep in mind, you’ll have to refill it more often than other options since it only holds eight ounces of liquid.
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8) Handheld Hummingbird Feeders
If you follow Spencer Pratt on Instagram, you may have seen him using a similar handheld version. The Hills star uses this type of feeder for a up-close look of his beloved hummingbirds. Only about the size of a silver dollar, these are great for taking along on trips to the park.
Keep in mind, you'll likely only use it for short periods of time since it doesn't hold much liquid and requires a great deal of patience and standing still!