What are the Different Types of Hummingbird Feeders?

Christina Edwards

Attracting hummingbirds can be accomplished by adding one or more hummingbird feeders outside of a house. Unlike a regular bird house or feeder, a sugary syrup is added to these to simulate nectar. There are two main types of hummingbird feeders, and each of these styles have their pros and cons. An inverted bottle feeder and a saucer feeder are the most popular kinds of feeders for hummingbirds.

A hummingbird on a feeder.
A hummingbird on a feeder.

The most popular type of hummingbird feeder is the inverted bottle type feeder. It was created by Laurence Webster and first available to consumers in 1950. These types of feeders are made of an upside-down bottle attached to a base. Syrup is poured into the top, and small holes on the bottom allow hummingbirds to stick their beaks in and sip the nectar. A vacuum keeps the rest of the liquid in the bottle on the top.

Bottle-type feeders tend to attract insects like wasps.
Bottle-type feeders tend to attract insects like wasps.

Most of these types of feeders consist of a clear glass or plastic container on top that make it easy to see inside. One major advantage to these types of hummingbird feeders is that it is easy to see when they need filled. Generally, they also hold more than the saucer type feeders. Disadvantages of these types of hummingbird feeders include their tendency to leak and attract unwanted pests and insects, including ants and wasps.

Saucer type hummingbird feeders usually have a simple design. Most are a shallow dish with small holes. Like the inverted hummingbird feeders, these holes allow the birds to insert their beaks and drink the nectar. Generally, these feeders are much easier to fill, but they hold less.

Hummingbird feeders can be made from a variety of materials. Glass and plastic are the most common. Plastic weighs less, but it is not as strong, and it breaks or fades faster than glass. Glass and metal hummingbird feeders are heavier and may make the nectar go bad, but these will usually last longer.

How hummingbird feeders are mounted may be another deciding factor for a consumer when it comes to purchasing. Some are made to be hung from a tree or other elevated area. Others can be set on or mounted to a fence post or porch railing. Some small, light hummingbird feeders can be attached to a window via suction cups. Other considerations when choosing a hummingbird feeder include the number of feeding holes and the color.

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