How To: Fill and Hang a Hummingbird Feeder

 Here is the feeder I have & here’s one double the size. Katie has one similar to this (because she’s shmancy). These feeders are extremely easy to fill, hang and clean. The red color attracts hummingbirds, but not stinging insects – bees, wasps, hornets, etc can’t see red, but are attracted to yellow. BTW we love bees, just not near our hummingbird feeder.

It’s that time of year again 🙂 hang up those feeders, plant flowers to attract pollinating insects and watch your yard come alive with activity. We originally posted this just about a year ago, but thought it was a fun reminder – so here it is again.

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I spotted my first hummingbird of the season yesterday, which means it’s time to hang up the feeder.  This post is kind of a no-brainer, but who knows, maybe you’ve never hung up a hummingbird feeder? Maybe you didn’t even think of doing it until this post and then you were like DUH, I should totally hang up a hummingbird feeder. Is that you? Cool, keep reading.

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First things first, if it’s a new feeder you’ll want to rinse it out with warm water, but skip the soap.  Then determine how much liquid the feeder holds.  To do this, simply fill your feeder with water and then dump it into a large measuring cup.  I found that my feeder holds a little more than two cups. To make the nectar you’ll need to mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts boiling water. To figure out your “parts” divide the volume by four.  For me, that means  two cups / four = 1/2 cup so I need a 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of water.  This mixture approximates the average sucrose content (about 21%) of the flowers favored by North American hummingbirds, without being so sweet it attracts too many insects.  Please, whatever you do, don’t add red dye.  It isn’t necessary and we don’t know how it affects our tiny friends.

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Whisk the boiling water and sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Set the mixture aside to cool.  Once the nectar is cool, carefully pour it into your feeder, screw the lid (which is actually the bottom of the feeder) on tightly and turn it right side up.  You should see the nectar immediately gargle its way down into the bottom of the feeder.  There you have it, you’ve filled your feeder. Now let’s hang it up.

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Where should you hang your feeder? That is totally up to you, but here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Apparently bees are attracted to the color yellow.  If your feeder has yellow parts (lots do) than hang it far away from your house and children’s play areas. Thankfully bees don’t see red!
  • If you want to watch and photograph the hummingbirds feeding, hang the feeder close to a window or somewhere in the yard that you frequent.
  • Hang the feeder where you have easy access to it.  This means you’re more likely to clean and fill it when needed.
  • If it’s a messy feeder, don’t hang it over your porch! You’ll certainly get ants.  Thankfully K bought me a drip free feeder, but I’ll still monitor the area underneath it in case it becomes sticky.
  • If you hang the feeder near a window and you don’t have shades or blinds, you may want to add a cutout of a predatory bird to prevent the hummingbirds from flying right into the glass.
  •  The sugar solution spoils more quickly in the sun (it will become cloudy) so an area with some shade will keep your feeder up and running longer between refills.
  • Hanging your feeder in an area with some cover, like bushes and trees, will give the hummingbirds a place to rest in between feedings.
  • A garden area full of flowers that already attracts hummingbirds is a natural first location.  They’ll spot your feeder in no time.

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I hope this helped or inspired you to hang a hummingbird feeder this spring!  I love hearing and seeing tiny hummingbirds drink their fill.  They are interesting to watch because they’re territorial.  If you notice a hummingbird has completely taken over your feeder you might want to think about adding a few smaller ones around the yard for the rest of them 😉


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6 thoughts on “How To: Fill and Hang a Hummingbird Feeder

  1. Such a great reminder! I need to get a no drip feeder, cleaning that mess is an annoyance I am so over. Just fyi, you can make extra syrup and store it in the fridge, check for spoiling before use, but generally my hummingbirds ate so much my extra food never had a chance to go bad.

  2. Chiming back in on this post, just got the bigger of those two feeders, as we spotted our first hummingbird a few days ago. Could not be happier with that purchase, the big version has a large mouth opening, so much easier to get clean. And they mean no drip, we’ve had ours up for a few days and usually have to deal with a sticky sugar puddle at this point, this feeder is not having any of that!
    As a kid, I assumed hummingbirds NEVER STOPPED moving, now paying attention to the feeder-it’s so cute to watch them perch and hang out for a minute. Love those little cuties.

    • I agree! Watching them now I’m learning so much more about their behavior. I’m 99.9% sure that we have a nest in the spruce tree off our deck. The hummingbirds are always flying into the tree, and the male will perch himself on a top branch and just hang out there watching everything going on around the tree. I don’t want to disturb them, but I would love to catch a glimpse of the nest.

  3. I came to find out how to fill my hummingbird feeder and was pleasantly surprised to find a sexy mama too. Nice skirt!

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