We have the largest selection of hummingbird feeders in Canada, but how do you choose which one?
Our Number One Seller: Best One hummingbird feeders
From a company out of Poteet, Texas aptly named “Best One”, this feeder (which is available in three different sizes-8, 32, and 72 ounce sizes) is the one I most recommend to people looking for a first feeder. These glass bottle feeders are inexpensive, very easy to clean, and feature a high quality food-grade, wasp-proof plastic base (with perches for the birds to sit).
Need a huge feeder for the cabin? Best One makes one of the largest on the market-72 ounces. What's new in the market? Dr JB's has just added an 80 ounce!
Looking for a slightly higher end hummingbird feeder. The Dr. JB's are quickly taking over the number one spot from Best One. These are the easiest bottle-style feeders on the market for cleaning. The wide mouth opening, and removable base can both be place in a dishwasher. The Dr JB's are available in 16, 48, and 80 ounce sizes. These hummingbird feeders are also the most wasp-proof on the market.
Hummzingers Reign Supreme:
These flying saucer shaped feeders have been manufactured by Aspects for more than thirty years. These two part feeders are extremely easy to clean and difficult for wasps to get in to. The flying saucer shape ensures great visibility even when a hummingbird is on the furthest perch.
Need some One-Of-A-Kind Hummingbird feeders?: Look no further than Parasol
Looking for that perfect accent piece in your arbor, or a gift for the person who has everything? Take a look at the stunning hand-blown glass feeders from Parasol. If you’re looking for functional and one-of-a-kind, these will not disappoint. Made from recycled glass.
Ceramic feeders from Lone Wolf
Lone Wolf is a small New Mexico, U.S.A. company that has been producing ceramic hummingbird feeders for 15 years. They are individually hand-painted and hand-poured one at a time. The inside is glazed and fired to ensure durablility and easy cleaning.
Some Interesting Hummingbird Facts..
Watching a hummer dart about a hummingbird feeder or flower garden is an awesome sight. Hummingbirds beat their wings about 80 times per second. They can hover, fly forward, backward, right or left, even upside down! They can reach speeds of 50 to 60 km/h and can exceed 100 km/h during a dive. Hummingbirds have the largest relative heart size of any bird, an impressive heart rate to match-up to 20 beats per second. Their metabolism is the envy of any human dieter-at their rate, we would consume double our weight in food every 24 hours. Flower nectar is the hummer’s preferred food, a high-octane fuel rich in sugars. With its long bill, a hummingbird probes deep into the centre of tubular flowers. They are most often attracted to red flowers. Hummingbirds also feed on tiny insects like mosquitoes, fruit flies, spiders, and caterpillars from which they obtain proteins.
Backyard Bird Centre Hummingbird Q & A :
When do hummingbirds show up here in Vancouver and the lower mainland?
Many people in the Vancouver, B.C. area see their first returning Rufous Hummingbirds in the second week of March. This year the earliest report to our store was the end of February. I recall in past years putting my own hummingbird feeder out on particularly cold, wet, miserable days. The very next morning, the first of many of these little friends showed up, as happens every spring.
Hummingbirds are found only in the Americas. There are about 340 species, 26 of which are found in North America (5 in Canada). Only 1 species, the Rubythroat Hummingbird occurs commonly in Eastern Canada (occuring as far west as Alberta). Only two are regularly found in the Vancouver, B.C area, the Rufous which is here from March through September, and the Anna’s which is a year-round resident. The other two hummingbird species, Black-chinned and Calliope are found in central B.C. and Alberta
What are the best ways to attract hummingbirds to my yard?
You can do many things to attract these tiny acrobats to your backyard. Because few plants are in bloom in B.C. during February and March, the best way to attract hummers is with a feeder.
Many specialized hummingbird feeders are available; choose one that comes apart easily for cleaning. Hummingbirds are fiercely territorial, so you may want to put up more than one feeder to prevent a single aggressive hummer from discouraging other interested visitors.
How to make hummingbird food?
Use a homemade nectar solution of four parts water to one part white table sugar (never use honey).
This mixture closely duplicates naturally occurring flower nectar. However, the solution spoils quickly, so be sure to replace it once per week now and twice per week in the summer. Make sure you boil the mixture and let it cool before putting it out. Refrigerate any left over to use for the next fill-up. Always rinse the feeder with hot water before refilling.
By the way, red food coloring is unnecessary and may even be harmful to the birds. The red parts of your hummingbird feeder provide enough color to attract the birds’ attention. There is also no need to add protein to your nectar-hummers get all the protein and vitamins they need from the insects they eat.
Feel free to keep your hummingbird feeders up well into autumn; migration is instinctive, so feeders won’t induce the hummers to stay. In fact, they will appreciate the pit stop and last-minute opportunity to store energy for their long trip south. By keeping your feeder up all year long, you may even be lucky enough to attract an Anna’s Hummingbird in the dead of winter. To find out more about migrating hummers and how you can help them see this article.
The vegetation around your feeder can also lure hummingbirds. Simply hanging baskets of red flowers nearby may spur the birds’ initial interest. Hummingbird-attractive flowers not only provide nectar for the hummers, but also attract insects for them to eat. Shrubs and flowers that do particularly well in this area include honeysuckle, impatiens, petunia, bee balm, red flowering currant, salmonberry, butterfly bush, foxglove, trumpetvine, and fuschia. The more adventurous may want to create a landscape of various levels of vegetation, plenty of blooming plants, and a readily available water source to entice the hummers to feed, nest, and breed.
Although it may initially take some time to attract hummingbirds to your backyard, once they have found it, your patience and effort will be amply rewarded. These fascinating birds will be quite loyal to your feeding station and will entertain you all season long.
What is the best way to clean hummingbird feeders?
A mild solution of 10% chlorine bleach and water is effective as is full strength vinegar that has been heated in the microwave. If you use the bleach solution make sure you rinse the feeder thoroughly so that no residue remains that could affect the birds. Vinegar is a naturally acidic solution and will kill many of the molds and fungi that commonly infest feeders.
What about homemade sugar water versus commercial mixes?
At the Backyard Bird Centre we recommend a homemade nectar solution with a ratio of water to refined white table sugar of 4:1. This ratio most closely approximates the composition of natural flower nectar. Many people are spooked by white sugar, because we’ve been conditioned that it’s bad for people. White sugar is sucrose, a natural sugar found in flower nectar, so it’s a natural energy source for hummingbirds. Honey and brown or “raw” sugar should never be used. Honey provides little disease-carrying spores. Brown or “raw” sugar may have contaminants such as iron, which can be lethal for hummingbirds. Artificial sweeteners are another no-no because they don’t provide the birds with the energy they need. We don’t recommend commercial “instant nectar” mixes, because most contain additives that are not necessary and may even be harmful. In particular Red #40, which is commonly used to color these products as well as many human foods, may be harmful to hummingbirds.
What attracts a hummingbird to a hummingbird feeder? Does the feeder have to be red?
No. the feeders don’t have to be red. Any bright color that mimics flowers will work. Maintaining the location of the feeder is actually more important than the color. Once a hummingbird finds the feeder, they will keep coming back to that location to look for it. Many people have seen hummingbirds search for feeders where they hung in previous years. The most critical thing that will keep the birds humming to your feeder is to keep the nectar mixture fresh. Don’t forget to clean and re-fill your hummingbird feeders at least once a week, twice a week if the feeder is exposed to the afternoon sun. If ants are getting into your hummingbird feeder make sure you get an ant moat to keep them out of there. At the Backyard Bird Centre we carry ant moats that are inexpensive, safe, and effective.
How important are natural food sources for hummingbirds?
Extremely. Hummingbirds gravitate to naturalistic yards with native flowers, shrubs, and trees. Try and use plants in your landscape that provide not only nectar but also attract small insects. Many people don’t realize that when hummingbirds are foraging for nectar, they’re also on the lookout for small insects, including pests such as aphids and whiteflies. So, encourage native plants in your yard and avoiding pesticides will also provide a source of healthy nutrition for hummingbirds. Plants that are particularly attractive to hummingbirds in the Vancouver, B.C. area are fuchsia, impatiens, foxglove, petunias, bee balm, honeysuckle, trumpet creeper, and columbine. And don’t forget that salmonberry and red flowering currant are the two early bloomers that hummingbirds arriving here on the coast will seek out. For more on what hummingbirds eat see this article...
How come the hummingbirds will not go to my new hummingbird feeder?
If you have had success with a previous feeder and are frustrated because the hummingbirds won't feed from a new one you've just put up, you're not alone. Hummingbirds may not recognize the new feeder as a food source yet when they are accostomed to another one. Do not take your old feeder down when you put up your new one. Put the new feeder approximately 10' - 15' away from the old one. Fill the new feeder with a sweeter solution of 3 parts water to 1 part sugar (the regular ratio is 4:1). The sweeter nectar will lure the hummingbirds to the new feeder. Once the hummingbirds have discovered the new feeder and successfully fed from it for a while, you can take the old feeder down and begin filling your new feeder with the standard 4:1 nectar solution.
How do I keep one or two aggressive hummingbirds from dominating the feeder?
Fill another feeder with a 3:1 nectar solution and place it in the furthest spot from your first feeder. Keep your first hummingbird feeder filled with a 4:1 solution. Dominant hummingbirds will defend the sweetest feeding station, allowing other hummers to feed from the other.
The hummingbirds on my porch spend a lot of time chasing each other. Is there anything I can do to better space out my feeders?
Hummingbirds can be very territorial! In fact the Rufous species is probably the most aggressive of all North American species. I think the best solution is to use sight barriers such as trees and shrubs or even the corner of the house. Try and keep feeders out of view of one another. Even something as simple as a hanging basket of flowers can be used for this purpose.
When should I put out my hummingbird feeders?
We encourage people to keep their hummingbird feeders up year-round in Vancouver, the Lower Mainland, Vancouver Island, and any of the Gulf Islands since Anna's Hummingbirds are present in these areas year-round. For the migrating Rufous Hummingbirds, you can place your feeder out during the first week in March. The male Rufous Hummingbirds are just beginning to arrive in the Vancouver, BC area at that time to establish breeding territories, not to mention they are the most colorful of the sexes. The females soon follow a few weeks later.
I was told that I should remove my hummingbird feeders at the end of summer so the hummingbirds will migrate. Is this true?
This is a long-standing myth. The shorter days trigger a hormonal imbalance in a hummingbirds brain that causes them to migrate. No amount of feeders or nectar-producing flowers will entice them to stay longer than they should. And, in fact by keeping up your hummingbird feeders, you just might be helping some northern stragglers that are making their way back late in the summer to breeding grounds in Mexico.