hummingbird feeder mistakes

8 Mistakes in Choosing Hummingbird Feeders (and How to Avoid Them)

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Making your backyard irresistible to hummingbirds is the dream of many birders. However, there are common mistakes in choosing hummingbird feeders that can make this process pretty difficult!

Did you choose the right color to attract hummingbirds? How about the right size for the hummingbird population in your area?

While these little details may seem like splitting hairs, they can actually make or break your backyard birding experience. Just like us, birds can be pretty picky about where they eat and why.

Below I’ll share the most common mistakes in choosing hummingbird feeders and what you should pick for a successful birding session. I’ll also sprinkle feeder recommendations throughout each section to save you time on your search!

Key Takeaways

  • The basic necessities of choosing a hummingbird feeder involve the right color, strong materials, and a type of hanger that fits your set-up.
  • More complex details you need to consider when choosing a hummingbird feeder are leakproof designs, ant moats, bee guards, and easily removable parts for cleaning.
  • Personalization is very important for your birding hobby, so you should also take into account the feeder’s style as well as features like a built-in camera for bird photos.
Colorful Hummingbird in Costa Rica
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Thinking Any Bird Feeder Will Work for Hummingbirds

If you’re brand new to backyard birding, you may wonder if any bird feeder will do. Hummingbirds have a very unique beak and feeding style, so they need a unique bird feeder to match.

Tube feeders are best for small songbirds that can latch onto their sides and pluck out seeds. Ground feeders are ideal for larger birds that are too heavy for classic tube and platform feeders.

Hummingbirds’ small size and long beak mean they do best with a specialized hummingbird feeder that replicates their natural environment. These feeders are small and lightweight, mimicking the flowers they like to sip from.

Instead of trying to repurpose your other feeders, save up for a high-quality hummingbird feeder with my tips and recommendations below. Your local hummingbirds will thank you!

Attractive Garden
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Choosing a Model That Doesn’t Fit Your Outdoor Set-Up

Once your heart is set on a high-quality hummingbird feeder, you need to consider where you’ll set it up. These feeders are rather flexible and come in different varieties, such as a stand or with a hook.

A pole hanger can be placed on the ground, whether soil or cobblestone. These make great decorations for a spacious backyard or a front lawn.

If you don’t have a lot of room, consider a classic hummingbird feeder that can be hooked to a tree branch or on a custom hanger. Just make sure not to set your feeder too close to a window – you don’t want these wild birds accidentally colliding with the glass!

Taking your surroundings into account will ensure you create a safe and accessible environment. If you need hanging feeders, check out the Rihogar Hummingbird Feeders for Outdoors – they come in a two-set so you can get creative about placement.

Rihogar Hummingbird Feeders for Outdoors Hanging, Hummingbird Feeders for Outside, 2 Pack Hummingbird Feeder with Buckle, 20 Feeding Ports, Leak-Proof, Easy to Clean & Fill (10 oz)
  • Capacity - Rihogar hummingbird feeder 10 ounce nectar capacity with 20 feeding ports.
  • Good Design - The ingenious twenty-hole and built-in ant moat design make the nectar can be well protected.Rihogar leak-proof...
  • Leak-Proof - Compared to automatic refill products,our hummingbird feeder with buckle has no pressure diffrence due to the unique...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

If you prefer a pole hanger, I recommend the Adjustable Shepherds Hook Bird Feeder Pole. Not only is it heavy-duty and waterproof, you can adjust the height.

FEED GARDEN [Upgrade Version] Adjustable Shepherds Hook Bird Feeder Pole with 7 Prongs Base, 76 Inch Tall Heavy Duty Outdoor Garden Poles for Hanging Bird Feeders, Plant Baskets, Black (1 Pack)
  • 【UPGRADE VERSION 7 BASE PRONGS】: The unique upgrade 7 prongs design of bottom enables the garden hanging stake to stand more...
  • 【ADJUSTABLE HEIGHT】: The bird feeder pole is made of high quality and heavy duty material with 2 mm of wall thickness. The max...
  • 【EASY TO ASSEMBLE】: This adjustable shepherd hook is equipped with a removable metal short pole. You can adjust the height...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Picking the Wrong Color To Attract Hummingbirds

If you’ve fallen in love with a purple or blue hummingbird feeder, it’s time to reconsider. These beautiful birds have sharp eyesight and are quite fond of warmer colors that replicate their favorite flowers.

Choosing a hummingbird feeder that’s red, orange, pink, or yellow will greatly increase your chances of attracting them. These colors remind them of staple flowers like lilies, petunias, honeysuckles, and cardinals.

That said, do not use food coloring to dye your hummingbird feed! Medical research has found food dye consumption to be toxic to various animals, including birds.

If you love pink just as much as I do, you’ll adore the quaint Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors. They also offer red and red-yellow-green combos.

Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors Hanging, 24 Ounce, Humming Bird Nectar Feeder with 6 Feeding Ports & Ant Moat, Leak-Proof, Pink & Purple
  • 【SIX FEEDING PORTS】6 flower-shape feeding ports and perches are arranged in a circular manner for several birds to feed...
  • 【BEES AND ANTS PROOF】Designed to attract hummingbirds, the feeder comes with bee guard feeding ports and ant moat that can...
  • 【LEAK RPOOF STRUCTURE】The base has a built-in leak-proof gasket, and the reservoir mouth is tightly screwed on the base,...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Close up of hummingbird flying to the feeder
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Using Only One Feeder To Attract Hummingbirds

Once you’ve decided on a hummingbird feeder type and color, I recommend picking more than one. Hummingbirds are rather territorial and will sometimes squabble over feeding spaces – so give them more than one!

Male hummingbirds tend to bully away others from a drinking spot, even though there’s more than enough to go around. This instinct comes from how their usual flowers have limited nectar, encouraging a ‘survival of the fittest’ approach.

Buying two or three feeders and spreading them throughout your backyard, patio, or porch will help immensely. This approach ensures hummingbirds aren’t coming too close in contact with each other and creates a stronger illusion of more food to go around.

Even better, you get to enjoy more hummingbird visitors. Everyone wins!

A beginner-friendly choice that gives you plenty of flexibility is the JOIEDOMI Set of 6 Mini Hummingbird Feeders. You can decorate an entire backyard or garden space while still enjoying features like a bold red color and easy-to-clean design.

JOIEDOMI Set of 6 Mini Hummingbird Feeders with Hanging Wires, Transparent Outdoor Humming Bird Feeder Set with 3 Cleaning Brush for Patio, Outside, Lawn, Backyard, Garden, Easy to Clean
  • AFFORDABLE CHOICE. This cute hummingbird feeder got a smaller size but great value for the money.
  • MULTIFUNCTIONAL DESIGN. Hummingbirds feeders are easy to set up and store anywhere! Has vibrant colors with unique design that...
  • HUMMINGBIRD FEEDER SET. Create your own bird sanctuary in your backyard, patio, or garden with our adorable hummingbirds feeders.

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Buying a Feeder That’s Too Difficult to Clean

A commonly overlooked aspect of purchasing a hummingbird feeder is choosing a model that’s hard to clean. This step will require reading some verified user reviews, but it’ll be worth the effort.

Hummingbirds are far less likely to visit your feeder again if it’s gunky or has stale nectar. If you skimp out on cleaning, you could even make them sick.

When choosing a hummingbird feeder, pick a model that’s easy to take apart. The parts you should be able to separate are:

  • Feeding ports
  • Bee guards
  • Nectar bottle

Cleaning your feeder is as easy as dunking the parts in unscented dish soap and hot water for a quick scrub. Make sure to rinse your parts thoroughly so you’re not accidentally feeding the birds soapy water.

If the feeder has gotten particularly moldy, use distilled white vinegar mixed with water. Vinegar creates an inhospitable environment for mold spores, making it one of the best natural cleaning tools around.

The Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors with 6 Feeding Ports not only has six feeding ports, it boasts a ‘super wide’ mouth bottle design. This feature makes this feeder easier to clean than more narrow models.

Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors Wild Bird Feeder with 6 Feeding Ports Hanging for Garden Yard, Red (Ant Moat Included)
  • ATTRACTIVE GARDEN DESIGN: High quality nectar glass container in nice shape, 6 flower shaped feeding ports, 16 oz. capacity with 6...
  • EASY TO REFILL AND CLEAN: Super Wide mouth bottle design is easy for filling and cleanning, and whole feeder could be disassembled...
  • LEAKPROOF FUNCTION: Bulid-in durable gasket, unique design makes base connection proper and seamless. After filling the container...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

An adorable Ruby-throated hummingbird eating from a bird feeder
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Not Understanding the Benefits of Different Materials

Should you buy a glass, metal, or plastic hummingbird feeder? The answer is it depends — knowing the differences between these materials will ensure you’re enjoying your hobby to the fullest.

Nothing is more frustrating than thinking you’ve got the best metal bird feeder around…only to see it rusting in wet weather! Likewise, some birders don’t enjoy how fragile glass is and worry their feeder could fall and break.

Below are the pros and cons of these different materials and what you should know before buying.

Plastic is the Most Well-Rounded Choice, but it Can Warp or Wrinkle

When you want an affordable option that holds up well to all sorts of challenges, plastic is the way to go. Plastic doesn’t mold or rust, a material well-suited to humid or rainy environments.

The downside to a plastic hummingbird feeder is potential warping and wrinkling from hot weather. To reduce the chances of this happening, place your feeder in a shaded area beneath some trees or an umbrella.

If you want an affordable starting choice, the Perky-Pet 410P Pinch Waist Plastic Hummingbird Feeder is a durable plastic option with multiple helpful features.

Perky-Pet 410P Pinch Waist Plastic Hummingbird Feeder, 16-Ounce , Red
  • 16 oz. nectar capacity
  • Easy to fill wide mouth opening
  • Built in bee guards protect nectar supply

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Glass Is Easy To Clean and Resistant to Hazards, but Fragile

Glass is another tough material that won’t mold or rust — it also won’t warp under sun exposure. However, this material is rather fragile, so you’ll need to be careful when handling and cleaning.

I recommend the Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoor Hanging. It’s easy to clean and comes with an ant moat, but steer clear of the green and blue colors – hummingbirds prefer red or orange!

Kingsyard Glass Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoor Hanging, 24 Ounces, 6 Feeding Ports, Bird Nectar Feeder for Garden Décor, Ant Moat Included, Red
  • ATTACTIVE GARDEN DESIGN: High quality nectar glass container in nice shape, 6 flower shaped feeding ports with perches to...
  • EASY TO REFILL AND CLEAN: Holds up to 24 oz of nectar. Wide mouth bottle design is easy for filling and cleanning, and whole...
  • LEAK RESISTANT DESIGN: Watch hummingbirds perch and feed at the 6 feeding ports, unique design makes base connection proper and...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Metal Is More Durable Than Glass, but Be Mindful of Cheap Materials

Last but not least, consider a metal design that’ll hold up to scratches, dents, and the occasional drop. Be mindful that multiple metals are prone to corrosion and rust – the former is unsightly, while the latter could harm birds.

The Prime Durable Hanging Metal & Bottle Glass Hummingbird Feeder uses a mixture of glass and metal for a particularly hardy feeder. It still uses red flowers to attract hummingbirds and has a little perch for them to rest.

Prime Durable Hanging Metal & Bottle Glass Hummingbird Feeder Most Visited Place to Your House & Outdoor Garden Watch Birds from Your Window Features 4 Red Flower Feeding Ports 11 Fluid Oz Capacity
  • HIGHEST-QUALITY - This beautiful hummingbird feeder is built-to-last, heavy duty, and is made of clear GLASS and METAL (never...
  • MOST-ATTRACTIVE - Imagine your backyard full of your favorite feathered friends! Be the envy of your neighborhood. Surprise your...
  • PERFECT SIZE & DESIGN - This awesome feeder is the ideal size of 6.75" L x 6.75" W x 9.8" H, weighs just 1.32 lbs, and holds 11...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Just remember to switch to a plastic or glass feeder during cold nights or cold months. The wet, icy weather can still cause your steel materials to rust.

Of extraordinary colors and colors of caliber near the nectar feeders
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Not Choosing Hummingbird Feeders With Useful Add-Ons

Hummingbird feeders are complex little creations. Not only do they replicate a hummingbird’s favorite feeding environment, but they can also have useful add-ons that make everyone’s experience better.

Below are a few add-ons you should look for when choosing hummingbird feeders.

Ant Guards (Or Ant Moats) to Keep Ants From Crawling Inside

Hummingbirds aren’t the only animals fond of fresh sugar water. Ants are notorious for marching into hummingbird feeders and getting stuck, gunking up your birds’ feeding station.

Ant guards – also known as ant moats – keep the feeding space too narrow for ants to crawl inside. Hummingbird Feeder 10 oz [Set of 2] is an affordable option with built-in ant guards to keep your birds’ station clean year-round!

Hummingbird Feeder 10 oz [Set of 2] Plastic Hummingbird Feeders for Outdoors, with Built-in Ant Guard - Circular Perch with 5 Feeding Ports - Wide Mouth for Easy Filling/2 Part Base for Easy Cleaning
  • ATTRACTIVE FEEDER: [Set of 2] 10 ounces of nectar in this bright red hummingbird feeder attract multitudes of hummingbirds to your...
  • LEAKPROOF RESERVOIR: The mouth of the reservoir tightly screws onto the base, effectively sealing the bird feeder. After filling...
  • ANT GUARD FOR HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS: An ant moat is attached to the top of the feeder to repel ants. Fill it with water and drive...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bee Guards To Prevent Bees From Gathering

Are honeybees a larger problem for you than ants? You can also look for hummingbird feeders that use bee guards, a feature similar to ant guards with a few design differences.

Bee guards – also called bee-proof or bee-resistant – ensure your station won’t be depleted prematurely by blocking entryways. Check out the Vivace Hummingbird Feeder for an accessible, bee-proof model.

Vivace Hummingbird Feeder, 32OZ Plastic Hummingbird Nectar Feeder with 4 Feeding Ports, Crystal Clear Hummingbird Feeders for Outdoors, Rust-Proof & Leak-Proof, Red
  • Attractive Bird Feeders: The clear bottle provides excellent visibility for hummingbirds to see the red nectar and be attracted to...
  • Leak-Proof Plastic Hummingbird Feeders: With a rust-proof plastic base, this bird feeder ensures the health of little...
  • 4 Feeding Ports: The simulation flower feeding ports provide hummingbirds with a comfortable and natural feeling, while the smooth...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Leak Proof to Prevent Annoying Waste

Do you worry about your container of sugar water dripping out and wasting your hard work? Leakproof feeders are a must-have feature so your hobby stays fun, and not annoying!

The Wosnows Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors is a psychedelic spin on the classic feeder with an upgraded leakproof design. Thanks to a tight silicone ring, your nectar won’t spill out from bird activity or a poor seal.

Wosnows Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors, 26 Ounces Colorful Polymer Plastic Leakproof Hummingbird Feeders for Outside Garden Patio Hanging
  • 🐦【BRILLIANT COLOR COMBINATION】Sweet honey is often in bright flowers, so hummingbirds look for natural hues of red, pink,...
  • 🐦【UPGRADED LEAK PROOF DESIGN】The plastic base of the upgraded hummingbird feeder can be better combined with the silicone...
  • 🐦【ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY PLASTIC MATERIAL】This hummingbird feeder is made of environmentally friendly polymer materials....

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Bird Camera To Snap Some Photos

If you’re a photographer, this is an add-on you won’t want to overlook. This handy bird camera will save you time snapping photos of your favorite hummingbird species.

The Soliom Humbirdy-Hummingbird Feeder Camera is a doozy of a bird feeder, offering a built-in camera with an AI species identification app for your phone.

Soliom Humbirdy-The Original Hummingbird Feeder Camera with Ant Moat,Bee Proof,AI Identify Bird Species,Bird Watching Camera W/ 3 Feeding Ports,Instant Notifications,Gifts Ideas for Family(16 Ounces)
  • Watch Humming Birds & Receive Instant Notifications- Soliompro BF10 Humbirdy smart hummingbird feeder with camera can auto capture...
  • Ant Moat ,Bee proof & Leak proof Design- No worries for ants or bees anymore as our BF10 patent Hummingbird Feeders for Outdoors...
  • Humming bird attractive & User Friendly Design- The Hummingbird feeder camera BF10 designed with premium BPA free plastic which is...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Choosing a Feeder That Doesn’t Fit Your Aesthetic

You don’t have to pick between your favorite aesthetic or your birding passion. With so many hummingbird feeders on the market, you’re bound to find one that makes your eyes light up.

If you choose a feeder that doesn’t match your outdoor furniture set-up or personal tastes, it’s only a matter of time until you replace it. Ask yourself the following questions to narrow down your search:

  • Do I have any favorite colors that line up with hummingbird preferences?
  • Will I be matching my feeder with any outdoor furniture or shrubbery?
  • Do I want my feeder to blend into the environment a little or stand out more?

A beautiful model you can consider is the Billion Sky Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors. This lantern-shaped feeder is elegant and striking while still offering a bold red to attract your feathered friends.

Billion Sky Hummingbird Feeder for Outdoors, Lantern Shaped Bottle, 6 Simulation Flowers Feeding Ports, 26 fl.oz, Hanging for Garden Yard, Rust Proof, Red(Ant Moat Included)
  • BEST CHOICE FOR BIRD LOVER: Vintage-shaped bottle, beautiful design, let birds fly into your garden and enjoy your good time with...
  • PROTECT HUMMINGBIRD HEALTH: The base is made of plastic, strong and will not rust. The base is translucent and easy to observe. It...
  • 6 FLOWER FEEDING PORTS: This Hummingbird Feeder features soft ports and an integrated perch design that optimize the feeding angle...

Last update on 2024-04-24 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Silhouette of a Hummingbird hovering, getting ready to feed
Image Credit: Depositphotos.

Avoiding Hummingbird Feeder Mistakes Is a Detailed, yet Rewarding Process

Hummingbird feeders are a marvel of human ingenuity. They come with so many functional working parts and designs to make your hobby as personalized as possible.

Several details you’ll need to take into account when buying are the color, material, amount of feeding ports, and hanging style. You can also look into useful add-ons such as a built-in camera, leak-proof seals, bee guards, ant moats, and easy cleaning features.

If you’re eager to learn more about hummingbirds or like-minded birders, check out the following articles:

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