We Got a Hummingbird Feeder

So on the Sunday before last I bought a hummingbird feeder. It was something of a Father’s Day present to myself. The Wild Birds Unlimited store was having a 25% off sale so it would have been foolish not to buy one.

Hummingbird approaching our new feeder.

We set it up on that same day and five days later we saw the first hummingbirds coming to feed. They were Ruby Throated Hummingbirds, which is the only kind of hummingbird in this part of the world.


Up until now I’ve relied only on plants in the garden to attract hummingbirds. Annuals like Cigar Plant (Cuphea ignea – pictured above with female Ruby Throat), Starflower (Pentas lanceolata), and various Salvias. Also perennials like Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) and Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis).

Incidentally, the picture above was taken by Judy one or two years ago.


Prior to setting up the feeder, though, I had seen only one hummingbird so far this year. I just got impatient.


The feeder needs to be filled with a 1:4 solution of sugar and water. The solution doesn’t need to be boiled, just heated on the stove as the sugar dissolves. It can be stored in the refrigerator.

You can buy Hummingbird nectar, but it is ridiculously expensive for sugar water.

Only male Hummingbirds actually have the ruby throat.

The main thing about Hummingbird feeders is you have to change the solution regularly. According to the guy at the store, every two to three days. Also, the feeders need to be washed now and then. The one I bought can be washed in the dishwasher.

When I asked how often they should be washed, I was told often enough to keep them from getting sticky and crusty.

I’m pleased with our Hummingbird feeder. Hummingbirds are such tiny, amazing creatures, and for me they are part of the summer experience.

Do you have a hummingbird feeder? What are your favorite plants for attracting Hummingbirds?

52 Comments on “We Got a Hummingbird Feeder”

  1. We have only one this year it seems. We normally only have 2 or 3 anyway. It is so odd to only have 1 regular this year. We took down our feeder earlier in the spring. It seemed silly to have to change the feeder every other day in the heat we were having and not have anyone using it. When the hummers are here they go to the salvias and honeysuckle the most it seems. They also love the hosta blooms. They vie with the bumble bees for the hosta blooms. It is fun to watch. We keep two feeders. One hanging outside and the other inside all cleaned up and ready to exchange for the used one.

  2. Your feeder looks just like mine. Water well in the middle keeps the ants out. It has been great for hummers for several years. Why this year I don’t see them I can’t explain, but I keep at it. I’ve only seen Ruby Throated hummers here.

  3. Hi Jason, I have two feeders that I keep up year round as our ‘Anna’ hummingbirds stay will us through winter. The Rufus hummingbirds have arrived and they are quite greedy and territorial. I like having two feeders so that the ladies can sneak a drink in. I grow three varieties of phygelius for the hummers and am now up to 4 different patches of monarda ‘jacob cline’. I have been growing verbena bonariensis for the butterflies but am delighted to have seen the hummers this year drink them up. I like to grow the higher reaching flowers for the hummers because of my cats. Damn cats.

  4. I was just given a humming bird feeder for Mother’s Day. So far, we have one greedy regular and a few wanna-be regulars that get chased off! I see them feeding on my Kniphofia ‘Timothy’, Abutilon megapotamicum, and the Hesperaloe parviflora on the hell strip. I just bought a Dicliptera sericea that’s also supposed to be a favorite. We’ll see. Enjoy the feeding frenzy!

  5. I think that’s a great idea, as they will see what delicious plants you have got for them too once they visit your garden! Hope you see more. We have hardly had any butterflies or hawk moths this year (I have spotted literally 5 or 6)- very worrying.

  6. We have 4 feeders up on our property but also a variety of plants they love. Blooming right now are monarda, salvias, bottlebrush buckeye, zinnias, hostas, coral honeysuckle, trumpet vine. We have several hummers now but it’s the late summer/early fall when we have the highest numbers. I fill feeders 2 times a day and make LOTS of sugar water.

  7. Michigan…I too have fed hummers for years. I’m concerned this year as I’ve had few sightings. Butterfly and bees are absent too. My monarda are starting to blossom maybe I’ll see more but I really feel something has happened to the climate/environment. I’m thinking canary in the coal mine.

  8. Our regulars suck up that juice so quickly that we never have to think about a schedule for cleaning the feeder. They become annoyed if we neglect replacing it. Annas are here year-round, with yearly visits from Rufous (which are very combative little guys).

  9. We have a feeder outside the kitchen window. We actually use two feeders: when I need to change the nectar, I fill the clean one and switch it out for the used one. Then I can wash it when I get time, and store it for the next change. That’s an awesome photo Judy took 🙂

  10. St. Louis—I have a pair (I assume) that come by each year. I love hearing their song and the buzzzzz as they zip by me. Just tonight, the male came to my feeder (a bottle type one, el cheapo) as I was watering the garden. I would like to get another one, like your new one.
    I was so surprised the first time I watched them sit still on a telephone line!

  11. My ‘hummingbird feeder’ is the dense spires of coral bells (Heuchera ‘Raspberry Regal’) blooming outside my front porch — which provides a great place for viewing the action. Mostly, I only get one hummingbird at a time (always the same one?) feeding at my flowers. The one time two showed up simultaneously, one immediately chased the other off.

  12. What a great investment, I’m sure you’ll attract many more once they latch onto it. I was in the museum today and saw a hummingbird exhibition, I was truly astonished to see how tiny some of them are. They are such stunning little creatures, how I wish we had them.xxx

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