Sunday, September 11, 2022

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbirds are the most sought-after birds in North America, and their appeal is easy to see. These tiny creatures can fly up to 50 miles per hour, have a wingspan of only 3 inches, and weigh less than one ounce. They can hover for minutes at a time, even while feeding on nectar from flowers. And they spend much of their lives zipping around gardens looking for these tasty treats. 


You may not realize it, but hummingbird feeders are not all that different from bird feeders you'll find outside your home. In fact, many people use them interchangeably without realizing how different they really are. So here's what you need to know before buying or building a hummingbird feeder. 

Types of hummingbird feeders 

There are three basic types of hummingbird feeders available today: 

Hanging feeders (also known as hanging feeders, tube feeders, or hanging cups) 

These are the simplest type of feeder, consisting of a simple tube with a narrow opening at the top where the hummingbirds can insert their bills. The hummingbirds usually hang upside down inside this feeder, which keeps them safe from predators like snakes and hawks. While hanging feeders do require some maintenance -- like replacing the water every day or two -- they don't require any tools or electricity. Some people also say that hanging feeders attract more hummingbirds than other kinds because they're closer to the ground, which makes it easier for the birds to reach their food. 

Branch feeders 

A branch feeder has a plastic tube attached to a wood or metal arm. A piece of food hangs inside the tube, and a small hole lets the hummingbirds get to it without having to go through a long tube. This type of feeder doesn't require any maintenance. However, if you live in an area with lots of squirrels, raccoons, or other animals who might chew on the arms of the feeder, you might want to put some kind of cover over the top. 

Nest feeders 

If you want to attract hummingbirds, the best way to do so is by providing them with a place to nest. Nesting sites are areas in the garden where the plants provide shelter and nesting materials for the hummers. You can create a nesting site by planting trees, shrubs, and vines near your house, or even by adding a few branches to your window sills or porch railings. 

The good news about nesting sites is that they won't take too long to build. Once hummingbirds have found a new spot to nest, they'll be back within a couple weeks. 

What to look for when choosing a hummingbird feeder 

When shopping for a hummingbird feeder, there are several things you should consider before making the purchase. For example, make sure the feeder is sturdy enough to hold up to heavy winds and high temperatures. If you live in an area with extreme weather conditions, you might want to invest in a feeder that includes a cover that will keep out rain and snow. 

The size of the opening at the top of the feeder is another important factor. Big openings are better for smaller birds like ruby-throated hummingbirds, but smaller openings are preferred for larger species such as Anna's hummingbirds. 

Finally, choose a feeder that offers a variety of foods. There are many varieties of sugary and non-sugary fruits and vegetables that hummingbirds love to eat. But if there isn't a wide range of food options available, you might want to buy a second feeder for other birds, such as cardinals, blue jays, tanagers, or orioles. 

How often to refill hummingbird feeders 

Many people think that hummingbirds don't need to be fed very often. After all, they're fast and powerful fliers, right? Actually, hummingbirds need to drink water regularly to stay healthy and perform well. To help avoid dehydration, hummingbirds should be given access to clean, fresh water twice daily. 

In addition to drinking water, hummingbirds need to eat sugar-rich foods once or twice each day. Most hummingbird experts recommend placing the food source directly above the drinking area, so the birds don't have to stretch far to reach it. When using a branch feeder, it's recommended that you fill it with a mixture of sugar water and sugar-free nectar. 

To prevent disease and parasites, you should clean and sterilize your hummingbird feeder at least once a week. Use a mild bleach solution to disinfect the feeder, then rinse it thoroughly with hot water. You can use a homemade solution made by mixing 1 part white vinegar with 2 parts warm water. Or you can purchase commercial cleaning products designed specifically for hummingbird feeders. 

For more information about caring for hummingbirds, visit the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's hummingbird care page. 



Hummingbird Species

The hummingbirds of Costa Rica are some of the most beautiful and unique in the world. They are a small group of birds, consisting of just five species, that migrate from their winter homes in Mexico to spend the summer months in Central America, often flying over 5,000 miles to reach their destination. The females will lay eggs for only one day at a time, and the male will feed them nectar by regurgitating it back into her mouth, so they must quickly leave when the female lays an egg. They also have a very short lifespan, with many dying within a few days after hatching due to predators or other causes.

Many people believe that hummingbirds are not really migratory, but rather that they simply move around North America looking for food year round - which is true to a certain extent, as every spring and fall we see them feeding in our yards. And while it's true that they eat nectar all year-round, what makes them different from other birds is that they can fly long distances to find food, which means that they need to be able to get there before the food becomes too scarce. This is why they travel across oceans and deserts to get to where they can find their favorite foods.

Hummingbirds are native to South America, although they aren't found on every continent. The two largest groups are the Andean hummers (found in parts of South America) and the Caribbean hummers (found in parts of Central America). There are three subgroups within each of these two groups: Andean broad-bills (which are larger than the others), Andean ruby-throats (which are smaller than the others) and tropical emeralds (smallest of all).

Andean hummers

This group consists of the Andean swiftlets, mountain swiftlets, rufous-collared swiftlet and the giant swallowtail. The Andean swiftlets live in the mountains of Peru and Bolivia, where they build nests in the crevices of cliffs. These birds only visit areas that experience high winds, because they use their feet to flap themselves up to the nest. The Andean swiftlets are the smallest of the group, and are usually seen perched on trees or shrubs near waterfalls. Their nests are made of a mixture of mud and saliva, and can hold up to twenty eggs, though the average clutch size is six.

Mountain swiftlets live in mountainous regions of Nepal and Bhutan. They build their nests in caves, tree holes and crevices, using strands of hair from their own bodies to anchor the structure. Mountain swiftlets are actually larger than the Andean swiftlets and the giant swallowtail, and can easily be identified by the large dark spots on their wings.

Rufous-collared swiftlets live in the forests of northern Australia, New Guinea and Indonesia. They build their nests on branches of trees, and can hold up to twenty eggs per clutch. Because they're usually seen during the nesting season, they are rarely spotted away from home.


Giant swallowtails are the largest of the group, living in areas throughout Asia, Africa and Oceania. The swallows' nests are built on trees, and the babies are fed milk from their mother's crop until they are ready to fledge. Each nest has a hole in the side of the tree, which allows the parents to enter and check on the young ones. The giant swallowtail only has four tail feathers, with the rest being white.


Caribbean hummers

This group includes the Cuban emerald, scarlet-throated carib, yellow bellied amazons and the green aracari. All of these birds except the green aracari are endemic to the Caribbean islands, making this group of hummingbirds the only non-American species in the Americas.


Cuban emeralds live in Cuba, Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. They build their nests on vertical walls in houses and buildings, laying their eggs on horizontal shelves above ground level. Each nest contains between ten and fifteen eggs, and is lined with lichens and mosses.


Scarlet-throated caribs live on the island of Hispaniola (the Dominican Republic and Haiti), and build their nests in hollowed out trees. Like the Cuban emerald, they lay their eggs on shelves above ground level, leaving the nest to return later to collect the chicks. The caribs are a little bigger than the Cuban emerald, and like the green aracari, have only four tail feathers.


Yellow bellied amazons live in Trinidad, Tobago and the Lesser Antilles. They build their nests on the branches of palm trees, and lay their eggs in open cup shaped depressions called oropendolas, which are located on the outer edges of leaves. The nests contain anywhere from three to ten eggs, and are lined with plant fibers.


Green aracaris live in Brazil and Paraguay, and are sometimes mistaken for hummingbirds. Green aracaris do not construct nests, instead choosing to roost in trees. They are among the largest members of the family, with males weighing up to seven ounces (200 grams), and females measuring up to 3.5 inches (9 centimeters) in length.


Types of Hummingbirds

 Hummingbirds are a group of tiny birds that can be found in many areas around the world. They have long, slender bills and short legs which allow them to fly quickly through the air. Most species feed on nectar from flowers while others eat insects or other small creatures. The females lay their eggs in an unprotected nest located in the open and they usually hatch after only 12 days. 


The hummingbird family is divided into two groups based on plumage and size. The smaller group of hummingbirds is called "Trochilidae" which means "little throat". These birds are found in South America and Mexico and they have white bellies and bright colors on their throats. The larger group of hummingbirds is called "Trochilinae" which means "throaty". This group has dark bellies and they do not have bright colors on their throats. 

There are about 30 different species of Trochilidae hummingbirds and these birds can be identified by their colorful throats and bodies. Many species also have unique markings on their wings as well as some species have red bills. 

This article will discuss six different types of Trochilidae hummingbirds and how you can identify each one. 

1) Anna's Hummingbird (Calypte anna) 

Anna's hummingbird is a medium sized bird with a very short bill. It has black-tipped tail feathers and it does not have any facial markings. Its body is mostly brown but it does have a yellow belly which is its characteristic feature. The males of this species have reddish colored bills and they are often mistaken for Ruby-throated hummingbirds, because of their similar coloration. Their average length is between 6 inches and 7 inches. 

2) Rufous Hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) 

The Rufous Hummingbird is the largest member of the Trochilidae family at approximately 9 inches in length. It has a very bright green body with large eyes and a red forehead. Its back is covered with brown-red feathers and its underbelly is white. The male's bill is pink and the female's bill is orange. This species is found in North America and it winters in Central and South America. There are five subspecies of this species including the Northern Rufous hummingbird, the Costa Rica Rufous hummingbird, the Mexican Rufous hummingbird, the Pacific Rufous hummingbird and the Southern Rufous hummingbird. 

3) Black-chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri) 

Black-chinned Hummingbirds are medium sized birds with slender bodies and very long tails. Their bills are short and straight and they have long, thin necks. They have dark upper parts and their underparts are white. The males of this species are very colourful with dark faces, backs and wings while the females are less brightly coloured. It is found in North America and it winters in South America. There are three subspecies of this species including the Black-chinned Hummingbird, the Black-chinned Hummingbird of California and the Black-chinned Hummingbird of Panama. 

4) Costa Rican Hillstar (Oreotrochilus estella) 

Costa Rican Hillstars are small hummingbirds with round heads and short bills. They have light blue eyes and a small amount of white on the bottom of the wings. The male's bill is pink and the female's bill is blue. The average adult height is 5 inches long. This species is found in Costa Rica and it migrates to South America during summer. There are two subspecies of this species which include the Costa Rican Hillstar and the Ecuadorian Hillstar. 

5) Green-tailed Emerald (Chlorostilbon affinis) 

Green-tailed Emeralds are medium sized hummingbirds with long tails and very short bills. They have green eyes and brownish-green upper bodies. The males' bills are black and the females' bills are green. This species can be found in tropical forests of Asia, Australia and New Guinea. It winters in southern Africa. 

6) Allen's Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) 

Allen's Hummingbirds are medium sized birds with long tails and short bills. They have light blue eyes and a white forehead. The males' bill is pink and the female's bill is white. This species is found in South America and it winters in northern South America. There are four subspecies of Allen's Hummingbird including the Allen's Hummingbird, the Sinaloan Allen's Hummingbird, the Andean Allen's Hummingbird and the Amazon Allen's Hummingbird. 

Hummingbirds Plus - Best place to buy hummingbird feeders

Each type of hummingbird has different characteristics and they are all beautiful little birds. You should definitely try to see one in person if possible so that you can learn more about them!

Hummingbird Feeders

Hummingbirds are the most sought-after birds in North America, and their appeal is easy to see. These tiny creatures can fly up to 50 miles ...