The Best Hummingbird Feeders

10 12 2020
Allen’s Hummingbird – Luke Tiller

In my mind the best hummingbird feeders on the market are the ones that are easiest to clean. I have two types around my yard:

The first type essentially looks like a flying saucer. It has a bottom half which you fill up with hummingbird water and inevitably a red covered lid to encourage the birds to come feed. They are then held up by central hook which screws into an area which is designed as an ant moat that you can fill with water (personally I’ve never had the issue or filled the moat). Lots of hummingbird feeders have annoying nooks and crannies to try and get in to clean them. These ones you can essentially just run under hot water and wipe clean. The only other cleaning utensil I’ve found important for these is a little brush to stick through the feeder ports and make sure there’s no gunk in there.

My version is made by HummZinger and has a nice feature where the perch makes the hummingbirds sit up higher than the saucer, so they are easier to ID when you’re looking at them from the other side of the feeder. There are lots of similarly designed ones available though. I like the 12-ounce version as I want my feeder to run dry and need refilling rather than sitting around too long with gross old sugar water in it.

HummZinger Hummingbird Feeder – Simple and easy to clean!

The other type of feeder I have is an inverted “bottle” type where the lid becomes the feeding saucer. Again, the big appeal for me is the relatively easy cleaning. The thing I learned through experience with these things is that you don’t want a molded saucer which is difficult to get into, rather you want a two-part saucer (like before) that breaks apart as shown. You also want more of a glass column than a bottle shape as the thinner bottle neck makes the thing almost impossible to get into to clean properly.

Again, you probably want a little brush in order to poke down through the flower ports so that you can check that there’s no gunk building up inside (I guess hummingbird bills are pretty dirty). You can also pop out the little plastic flowers which makes them nice and easy to give a clean. It took me a few purchases to get to the designs I’m happiest with, but I think I’ve found them now in these shapes.

More Birds Brand Feeder – Luke Tiller

There seems to be a lot of advice on what to feed hummingbirds, but I think the best thing is to keep it simple. It’s mind boggling to me how many people have that red dyed stuff. It’s arguably bad for the birds so I don’t use it. Best bet is four parts water to one-part boring old white sugar. I buy the biggest cheapest bag I can from the local supermarket. I don’t boil the water (though some seem to think that it helps keep the water fresher) I just mix it up, shake the water bottle I make it in like a cocktail for a few minutes, and then let it cool in the fridge before pouring into my feeder. In the heat of summer, I want the birds to get through the amount I put out in a single day so it doesn’t go off (rarely an issue) so again I prefer these smallish feeders. In winter it’s OK to have it sitting out for a couple of days.

Feeding birds is mainly for our edification, so it’s important to do it responsibly.

Bring on the hummingbirds!

Rufous Hummingbird – Luke Tiller

Oh and here’s the little brush, just because someone asked me about it.

Little Brush – Luke Tiller


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