Making Hummingbird Feeders

Invite hummingbirds into your garden with a feeder just for them. image by Rinske Blok:


Hummingbirds feed on small insects, but they get the energy to hunt for the bugs from the high sugar content in nectar. While most of their nectar needs are supplied by flowers, filling a hummingbird feeder with a sugar solution similar to nectar gives you the opportunity to view these interesting little birds close-up. Hummingbird feeders are readily available at stores, but save your money and make a feeder from items you already have around the house.

Step 1

Choose a small, widemouthed jar. Plastic or glass jars are acceptable, but plastic lids are preferred over metal. Remove the label by soaking the jar in hot water then peeling or scraping it off.

Step 2

Rinse the jar and lid thoroughly in one part bleach to five parts hot water, then rinse both parts in clear water to remove the bleach residue.

Step 3

Remove the lid from the jar. Poke three to four small holes along one edge with a nail or ice pick. Flip the lid upside down, and sand off any rough edges to avoid cutting the hummingbird's tongue.

Step 4

Paint red stripes around the outside of the jar. Avoid painting the entire jar, as you need to see the nectar inside.

Step 5

Wrap a 3-foot length of 18-gauge wire around the jar rim tightly. Twist the wire ends together, leaving a 1 foot length to hang the feeder with.

Step 6

Mix one part sugar to five parts boiling water until the sugar is completely dissolved. Fill the feeder and place the lid on.

Step 7

Hang the jar from a hook outside on a tree branch with the wire. Position the jar so it sits at a 45-degree angle with the lid holes near the bottom.

Step 8

Check for mold and cloudiness every two to three days. Sanitize the feeder with the bleach solution, and refill it if mold or cloudiness are present.

Step 9

Rinse the feeder well with hot water before every refilling, and sanitize it at least once per month with the bleach solution.

Tips and Warnings

  • If you hang a feeder, make sure you can properly take care of it. Mold and dirty nectar is dangerous for hummers.

Things You'll Need

  • Jar
  • Bleach
  • Nail or ice pick
  • Sandpaper
  • Red paint and brush
  • Wire
  • Sugar


  • Gardening With Kids

Who Can Help

  • The Hummingbird Society
Keywords: homemade hummingbird feeder, hummingbird nectar, jar bird feeder

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications. Previously, she owned her own business, selling handmade items online, wholesale and at crafts fairs. Harrington's specialties include small business information, crafting, decorating and gardening.

Photo by: Rinske Blok: