Win a copy of 5 Acres & a Dream this week in the Homestead forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • r ranson
  • Mike Haasl
  • James Freyr
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Kate Downham
  • Jay Angler
  • thomas rubino

DIY hummingbird feeders: any recommendations?

 
gardener
Posts: 1019
Location: South of Capricorn
331
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I keep two hummingbird feeders in my yard. They live here year round, and right now, in the deep of winter, they need supplementation if they're going to be alive to raise their babies in the spring-- very little is in bloom as the temps dip down to near freezing at night and I'm very happy to have at least 4 different species visiting my yard.
My feeders are the usual plastic gickola (never seen any here made of glass or anything else), and in the subtropical sun they get weathered and worn quickly. One looks like it's about to give up the ghose and I'd like to make my own to replace it, we recycle a lot of bottles and it seems like a reasonable project.

A few designs (from this list of DIY feeders) look possible but I wanted to know if anyone has done it successfully.
I am not 100% sure about the kind that have rubber or cork stoppers, we have very serious temp fluctuations and I am not sure that the stopper would stay in with the bottle upside down. But there are some types that look more like a bottle-into-a-pan type thing that seem more promising, like



I am also really interested in SIMPLE, like the glass-salt-shaker thing



Anybody done it and have any suggestions?
 
pollinator
Posts: 1436
Location: 4b
304
dog forest garden trees bee building
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The second one seems like it will be very hard for the birds to use as soon as the level of liquid goes down at all.  

I'm very interested in people's ideas about this, I would like to make some too.
 
Posts: 409
Location: Portlandish, Oregon
24
forest garden fungi foraging
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wanted to mention that I’ve always had more luck with a plant or two they like rather than sugar water setup. Comfrey seems to be a favorite. It also pops up around the time most of them migrate to my state. Are you sure they are supposed to be locals?
 
Posts: 118
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After moving to an area overrun with outdoor cats I had to put my feeders away...with the completion of our solid metal roofing fence I feel I can safely encourage birds to our mini sanctuary.

My favorite feeders were ones that are just the bottom reservoir with feeding outlets, you supply the pop bottle that screws into this base. This way you can adjust quantity at will all the way up to 2 liters.

Now, if I can just find them...
 
Tereza Okava
gardener
Posts: 1019
Location: South of Capricorn
331
dog rabbit urban cooking writing homestead ungarbage
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
6 months later, I went and bought more of the plastic ones, unfortunately. I tried the hanging jar and it was impossible. The upside down bottle in the plastic recycled pan apparently is some sort of container we do not have here, I looked high and low and nothing. So oh well!

Shawn Harper wrote:I wanted to mention that I’ve always had more luck with a plant or two they like rather than sugar water setup. Comfrey seems to be a favorite. It also pops up around the time most of them migrate to my state. Are you sure they are supposed to be locals?


Sorry I didn't see this when you posted it, Shawn. I am finding the same thing, I had a flowering papaya (no fruit, only flowers) come up and they are enjoying it, but I have plenty of hummingbirds so they need lots of things to eat (5 types, I can't even guess how many individuals. At any given time when I look out my office window there are 1-3, and we've had dinner parties on the back porch with 5 chasing each other, it was like a war zone). They are definitely locals!  (comfrey, on the other hand, I can't seem to get to grow here for love nor money)
 
Lorinne Anderson
Posts: 118
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Being unable to find my "pop bottle" adapters, and the ones online being outrageously priced I am going back to my second favorite, a "chick waterer".

I can't take credit for this clever idea, but it worked great. These units are designed to trickle feed into an open saucer that screws onto a Mason Jar. The adaptation was the addition of the lid from a disposable plastic container (yoghurt, cottage cheese etc.). A hole is cut so it can be threaded onto the Mason Jar and then using the hot tip of a solder gun or heated nail, holes are made for the Hummers to feed through. The holes can then have flowers painted on with nail Polish, or stickers made from vinyl to show Hummers where to drink. You could purchase "replacement flowers" for regular feeders and slot/snap them into the holes, also.

I've just ordered a bunch of the screw on bases (yes, they are plastic - there might be metal screw on bases available elsewhere) from Amazon.ca for less than $5 each - WAY cheaper than any feeder available. As the homemade cover is made from a used lid, it would be easily replaced, and just might protect the purchased base (as it would be somewhat shielded from UV which kills plastic, making it brittle).

For those JUST starting out NOW is the time to get feeders out, and if possible, lots of them. Here on the Wet Coast the hummers show up around Valentines Day - in other areas, note when you hear the geese returning (no, the hummers do NOT hitch rides on geese) as the return migration in North America coincides with the Hummers.

The trick to attracting loads of Hummers is to have feeders out BEFORE the males arrive; they scout and settle on territories based on nesting and food availability, each feeder will be "owed" by a male (assuming they are spread out/out of sight of each other). The ladies arrive 1-3 weeks later. The more feeders, the more males will think your property is great territory, the more females will nest nearby. Once nests are built, you can consolidate the feeders into just a few large or centrally located feeders, instead of having to maintain 6-12 feeders.

Please, NEVER use red dye/food coloring as it is toxic. Also, use ONLY regular, white table (cane) sugar (do not use  brown or raw sugar, agave, artificial sweeteners, Stevia etc.).

Making the syrup can be time consuming and messy. I mix mega batches of 1:1 sugar and water, bring to a boil to sterilize, then store in the fridge. When ready to use, dilute one part syrup to two or three parts WARM water and fill cleaned feeder. By warming the mixture you will minimize leakage often caused when fridge cold syrup warms and expands once outside.
 
Lorinne Anderson
Posts: 118
Location: Vancouver Island, BC, Canada
44
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So...the chick waterer bases arrived ($5 each). Discovered the lid from "Soap Exchange" 2kg tub (laundry/dishwasher soap) was the perfect fit so stopped by and got four lids. Next went to the local birding store and purchased "replacement flowers" for a commercially available feeder (9 for $5); then to the Thrift Store for Mason Jars (4 for $2) and got two sizes. Then, using a red permanent marker, colored the outside to make them red. Used Exato knife to cut out middle circle; paper hole punch (made just a tad larger with knife) for flower holes, and assembled. All in, worked out to $9 for each feeder.

I'm still working on the best method to 'hang' the feeders, some sort of harness thingy (Ideas?!?!).  
IMG_20200219_050105.jpg
Chick waterer
Chick waterer
IMG_20200219_050032.jpg
Feeder Components
Feeder Components
IMG_20200219_045939.jpg
Finished Feeder
Finished Feeder
 
This looks like a job for .... legal tender! It says so right in this tiny ad:
HARDY FRUIT TREES FOR ORGANIC AND PERMACULTURE
https://permies.com/t/132540/HARDY-FRUIT-TREES-ORGANIC-PERMACULTURE
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!