How to Winterize a Hummingbird Feeder

Overview

Hanging a hummingbird feeder in your yard in summer is a common way to attract the small, lively birds. Yet, many hummingbird species are around in winter as well and they appreciate the fresh nectar in a backyard feeder. While ruby-throated hummers usually head south in winter, other species such as Anna's hummingbird and the broad-billed hummer are still around throughout the winter. Winterize your hummingbird feeder and attract these quick little birds year-round.

Step 1

Clean the hummingbird feeder thoroughly before rehanging it in winter. Empty out the old nectar and wash out the feeder with clear water. Rinse it in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water, then rinse it again in clear water to sterilize it.

Step 2

Hang the feeder from the eaves of the house or in another protected area close to an electrical outlet. Hang a utility light or heat lamp nearby and train the light on the feeder at night to keep it from freezing.

Step 3

Wrap the feeder reservoir in insulated pipe tape, available at hardware stores. The light and the pipe tape keep the nectar from freezing.

Step 4

Empty the feeder every three to four days, clean it and replace the nectar solution. If the level of the solution is not changing, you may have no hummingbirds wintering in your area. In this case, clean the feeder and store it inside until spring.

Tips and Warnings

  • Ants and other insects may still be a concern, especially in early winter. Install an ant guard, available where feeders are sold, on the feeder to prevent these pests from getting into the nectar.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Heat lamp
  • Pipe-insulating tape

References

  • North Carolina Cooperative Extension: Determination of Needs
  • Wake Audubon: Attracting Winter Hummingbirds
Keywords: hummingbird feeders, winterizing bird feeders, hummingbird nectar

About this Author

Jenny Harrington has been a freelance writer since 2006. Her published articles have appeared in various print and online publications, including the "Dollar Stretcher." 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.