How do hummingbird feeders work? 4 types of feeder you should try once

It’s exciting when a hummingbird visits a hummingbird feeder for the first time in your yard. But maintaining a hummingbird feeder can be difficult as well. There are several important things you must know when posing the question: “How do hummingbird feeders work?”

What is a hummingbird feeder?

These brisk flyers receive sugar water from hummingbird feeders. A cup or two of sweet liquid can fit in most. Hummingbird nectar can be purchased in gallons, but most people prefer to create their own. Four parts water and one part sugar make up the recipe. When creating your nectar, avoid the following common mistakes.

How do hummingbird feeders work?

A hummingbird feeder offers more than just food for the birds to consume. To gain sustenance, hummingbirds use the nectar from a feeder. Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of styles. One has a container inverted in a little water pool. Typically, the pool keeps air bubbles out of the container. The water column plus the air above the water in the container must be displaced by air for more liquid to escape the container while preserving atmospheric pressure. 

Air bubbles may migrate around the container’s mouth or lip as the water is drained from the pool, and when additional liquid leaks out, the container will once more be sealed against the pool. A smaller diameter tube coupled to an upside-down container is used in the second variant. Instead of a pool of water, this feeder employs surface tension to prevent bubbles from entering. Water might drop as air rises to the tube when the bird inserts its beak into it. The viscosity and surface tension of the liquid would have a significant impact on this feeder. Compared to the other feeder kind, more so.

Hummingbirds are highly energized and move through the air fast.  Small insects, such as ants, mosquitoes, aphids, gnats, midges, caterpillars, flying ants, weevils, small beetles, whiteflies, and insect eggs, as well as small spiders, are consumed by hummingbirds.

How do hummingbird feeders work
How do hummingbird feeders work?

How many types of hummingbird feeders?

Hummingbird feeders come in a wide variety of styles, sizes, and designs:

Bottle type feeder

Inverted bottles with a feeding port at the bottom are called bottle-style. Air trapped inside the container creates a vacuum that keeps the nectar inside. There is an infinite variety of designs for these kinds of feeders.


  • Easy to see the nectar level
  • Have a greater nectar capacity typically
  • Come in a variety of appealing forms, hues, and distinctive patterns.


  • More challenging to fill and clean than the standard dish feeder.
  • More likely to leak and draw insects
  • A little crack or hole disrupts the vacuum causing leaks and drawing insects.

Saucer/ Dish Type feeder

Three nectar feeding ports and an access aperture are features of saucer-type hummingbird feeders. The clear base lets you view the nectar level while the red cover design draws hummingbirds. This two-piece design is simple to put together and maintain.


  • Bee-resistant
  • Simple to build, fill, and clean
  • Easier to put on top of fence posts or railings
  • Great for taking pictures of hummingbirds.


  • The nectar capacity of the tray feeders is less, therefore they require more frequent refilling.
  • Hummingbirds that come to visit are less aware of these types of feeders.

Tube feeder

A tube-shaped container with a removable cover and built-in apertures that release seed for the birds is the fundamental definition of a tube bird feeder. All tube bird feeders are installed on top of a pole or dangle vertically from a pole with an arm.


  • Simple to disassemble and brush clean with a bottle brush
  • Attractive look


  • If they are not fully filled or are left in direct sunlight, they are prone to leaking

Window feeder

You may mount window bird feeders right to your window by using the conventional suction cup mounting mechanism. By using a hummingbird window feeder, you may draw different species of birds to your window.


  • The birds are very close and simple to observe.
  • The feeder is simple to install.
  • Cleaning the tray is simple.


  • High cost.
  • Easy to cause a mess near the window. 

Tips to choose a hummingbird feeder

Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of styles and dimensions. Some designs are incredibly attractive but not very practical because they are hard to fill or keep clean. Hummingbirds might simply not be interested in some varieties. Therefore, it’s crucial to know how to choose a hummingbird feeder:


The size of the feeder will determine how many hummingbirds can feed at once and how frequently you need to refill the container.

The smallest feeder that is routinely fed is all you need if you only want to watch a few hummingbirds throughout the summer. Hummingbird feeders in the 16 to 32-ounce size range are the most common. For several days in a row, feeders of this size provide plenty of nectar. The larger hummingbird populations will have plenty of food from hummingbird feeders larger than 32 ounces.


The majority of hummingbird feeders are made of plastic or glass; these feeders don’t rust and are simple to clean, inexpensive, and long-lasting. The hummingbird feeders made of plastic are cheap and portable. They are not susceptible to cracking, but after several seasons of exposure to the sun’s UV rays, the material frequently fades and warps.

Long-term, glass hummingbird feeders outlast plastic ones in terms of durability. This material often includes perches. Hummingbirds prefer feeders with perches, so you can notice this little thing when choosing the material feeder.


Hummingbirds are all extremely sensitive to color. Hummingbirds are drawn to the vivid reds found in nature. It will explain why red hummingbird feeders will attract them easily and effectively. However, It’s not required to color homemade nectar using food coloring or use red-dyed nectar. The red splash from the feeder alone will be enough to draw the birds.


Do hummingbirds prefer plastic or glass feeders?

Hummingbirds do not have specific preferences about the material of the feeder. But many people favor glass hummingbird feeders because of their durability over the long term as opposed to plastic ones (which can warp, fade and crack over time). And occasionally it’s simpler to clean glass than plastic.

Which hummingbird feeders work best?

One of the best hummingbird feeders you can get is a flying saucer-type feeder. The sugar water in these backyard favorites is often located far enough below the feeding ports to prevent bothersome bees and wasps from dipping in for a sweet snack. They are also incredibly simple to clean and refill.

Do hummingbirds prefer feeders with perches?

Hummingbirds like and attract to the feeders with perches. They require a place to rest, and they will make use of a perch if one is offered. Hummingbirds that are contentedly perched on a perch make for some of the most beautiful pictures. If your feeder has a perch, it might also draw in other birds like goldfinches, chickadees, and orioles.

Do hummingbirds like blue feeders?

Blue feeders do not draw hummingbirds. Red and yellow are far more sensitive to their eyes than blue, which appears muted and can easily fade into the background. Color does not matter to hummingbirds once they have discovered a nectar supply, though.

Hummingbird feeders can be placed anywhere and there are many different varieties, but you should choose the feeder based on how many birds will frequent your backyard. It’s easy to answer the question “How do hummingbird feeders work?” after reading this article!