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December 2023

Tips For Feeding Hummingbirds

Friday, August 5, 2016
posted by Jim Murphy

HUMMINGBIRDHummingbirds are those small magical creatures who hover around flowers and sip on sweet nectar. I have two hummingbird feeders on my porch and love watching them appear from nowhere, hover, sip the nectar and then disappear. Hummingbirds do not only feed on nectar, they eat small insects  and tiny spiders to supply protein and also they feed on tree sap. The Hummingbird Society has put together these tips on feeding hummingbirds and maintaining their feeders.

Feeder type & Size:

  • Choose a feeder that you are able and willing to clean.
  • Look for a feeder that has the ports above the pool of liquid to avoid drips.
  • Use a feeder whose size matches your population.
  • Don’t fill the feeder all the way if it isn’t being used.
  • More feeders will support more hummers and help reduce territoriality


Change the mixture every four to five days – more frequently if temperatures are over 90° F.
If the liquid appears cloudy or you see mold, wash the feeder thoroughly right away.

  • Put your feeders at least four feet above the ground so they are beyond the reach of cats and other predators
  • Never place a feeder too close to a nest because doing so may cause predation.
  • If possible, the feeder should be in a shady spot.
  • Placing the feeder where you can see them through the window is a good idea too!


  • Feeders must be cleaned between refillings – don’t “top off” without cleaning.
  • Use a mild detergent and water; rinse thoroughly.
  • About once a month, soak the feeder in a solution of bleach and water (1 Tbsp. of bleach per quart of water); rinse very thoroughly!
  • Some feeders can be put in the dishwasher for sterilization.
  • If your feeder is attracting ants, use a moat or AntGuard® to stop them.

I hope you enjoy watching those beautiful hummingbirds as much as I do!

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