Making humming birds / sunbirds feeder

Why should we buy one, if we can build it ourselves with re-used products.

May 29, 2010

Make humming birds / sunbirds feeder

Do it yourself: Sunbirds and Hummingbirds feeder
by Alon Friedman

Why buy one? if you can build it with re-used products

This blog will instruct you how to build Sunbirds or Hummingbirds feeder and provides Solutions to the common pest's problems: Ants and Wasps.

Here is what you need:

•A 1/2 liter (about 16.9 oz) Plastic bottle (of water or soda).
• Small shallow plastic box, whose cover can support the weight of the filled box. I used a plastic food box, cosmetics box and a box that contained a pack of 10 C.D box (the 25 pack is too big and deep).
• Glue gun
• Thin Red Polypropylene Sheet (You can get it at Office depot or any other similar shop). You can use other colors, but the red color seams to be the best attractant for nectar feeding birds
• An electric soldering iron
If you do not have an electric soldering iron you can use the two next items:
• Large paper clip (not those with the colorful plastic cover) or a metal wire
• Fire source (cocking stove or any other)


First cut off a part of the bottle head. you can do it using an electric soldering iron or heated paper clip.
The cut should be done a little above the "holding ring" or the "handle"
use an electric soldering iron or Straighten one side of a paper clip and heat it using a fire source
Start heat-cutting through the plastic (if you using the paper clip you will need a few rounds of heating-cutting).

Draw a circle on the box cover          (you can use the bottle top as a pattern)     Heat-cut the circle out
Push the bottle holding ring through the hole; if it barely goes in – it is perfect!
If it doesn't go in at all – widen the hole a little

Make few little holes at the cover (for the birds beak) – it should be up to 0.5 cm (0.2 inches) wide.

Use the glue gun to attach the "holding ring" to the cover (at the "inner" side of the cover) and push the cover up (attaching the cover to the holding ring)
Then apply the glue to the other side of the cover (for better holding and sealing)

Making the FLOWERS
The idea is to mimic a real flower. If the flower doen't look real enough, the birds will have a hard time figuring out that the device is a food source.
After the first few successful encounters with the feeder, they will understand the concept, and you could use some less realistic "flowers" (or even none). But for the first encounter it is very important.
Nectar-feeding birds are mostly attracted to the red flowers: so let's make it easy for them.
 I used a thin Red Polypropylene Sheet.

For your ease, download the pattern Word file  and print it on an A4 paper. Lay the Polypropylene sheet on the printed paper. The Polypropylene sheet Is partly transparent - you will see the pattern beneath, draw it and then cut it. Pull leaf 1 on top of leaf 2 and use a stapler to attach them together. Be sure to create a hole in the center.

The next stage will be to glue the flowers on the top of the cover, just above the holes. Make sure not to block the holes with the glue.

The hanger:
 bend a metal wire (as shown) and tape it to the bottle

 We do not have Hummingbirds in Israel, but we have one species of Sunbird (called Nectarinia Osea).

The device is now complete for hummingbirds. However, sunbirds (which share a similar diet and appearance as hummingbirds) prefer to stand on a twig while eating.
To make the device more attractive to them, I glued a twig near the flower (using a glue gun)

That is it!  The feeder is ready for use
The feeding solution
Use a ratio of 1 part sugar and 4 parts of water. The sugar dissolves faster in hot water, which is the allowed to cool before use.I use 1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water (store the rest of the solution in the fridge for the next refill)
You should replace the solution and wash the feeder every few days. It gets infected with fungi (the birds transfer it with their beaks, so don’t waste time boiling the solution or sterilizing the feeder)

Here are photographs of the encounters (the sunbird Nectarinia Osea)
click on the pictures to enlarge
and on other feeders

made of a a 10 C.D. pack                                              made of a cosmetics cream box
some pictures of the birds (stsanding on the feeder's twig)

Nectarinia Osea (male)
Nectarinia Osea (male)

Nectarinia Osea (female)

Apr 7, 2010


Apr 5, 2010

Keeping Wasps away from your hummingbirds / sunbirds feeder

Wasps and bees could become constant visitors and real pests if they could access the sugar solution.
With many other feeders the "flower" is relatively close to the sugar solution, inviting such pests.
The feeder offered here has a relatively low solution level and will not allow access to such pests.
However, you can avoid wasps and bees by doing one of the followings:
Cut the bottle head higher
The sugar solution level will be determined by the level of the bottle opening.

 Since the bottle is upside down – the higher you cut the bottle head, the lower the solution level you'll get (denying the wasps and bees)
Cut the bottle head just a little higher (the red line instead of the yellow)

Hummingbirds and sunbirds has a long beak and can reach deep to low sugar solution.
They even use their tongue to collect the solution, therefore going even deeper

add a layer of glue  
If the solution level is too high to prevent access for wasps and bees and you don't want to cut a new bottle and replace it, you can fix it by adding a layer of glue (using the glue gun):
Apply a thick layer of glue on the top of the bottle edge all around the edge.

Interesting: notice the snake-like tongue edge.

Keeping Ants away from your hummingbirds / sunbirds feeder

Water barrier: Ants will not cross a cooking oil barrier. Fill the cup with a little .In dry weather you can use the same device Ants can't cross powder. you can fill the box with talc powder, ginger powder or backing soda: Ants will never cross this line.
I prefer to use some cooking oil (it never drys up).
Make a small hole in the bottom of a small plastic box (you can use the heated paper clip).
Curve the edge of metal wire, push it up through the hole, and curve the other end of the wire (to use as a hanger).

Apply some glue on the top of the feeder's bottle and on the bottom of the box and Glue the base of the box to the head of the bottle; make sure that you hold the wire straight until it cools. Seal the hole with some more glue.
Fill the box with cooking oil and hang the feeder.
Vaseline barrier: Ants will not cross a Vaseline barrier.  Smear some on the wire or the hanger (make sure that they will not have any other way to get to the feeder, like a touching plant or such)
When I found ants walking all over the feeder, I applied some Vaseline on the wire and they couldn't cross.
You can see the ants still walking on the green non –treated wire, but can't cross to the treated metal wire.