This is the most fantastic time of year to watch those feisty, playful and competitive little cuties dance around backyard feeders. While hummingbird feeders do require regular maintenance, it is a thrilling site for anyone at any age. These fascinating little creatures are the tiniest bird in the world weighing only up to 20 grams.

The Patient Gardener uses and recommends the inexpensive plastic feeders you can find most anywhere.  We recently saw some glass ones at the TNLA Show called “Best 1″ hummingbird feeder. It’s supposed to be wasp proof (even those poor boogers are starving for a drink). Unfortunately I wasn’t able to buy one there but will update you once I’ve tried it. Here’s some easy tips on making your own nectar and maintaining your feeders:

MAKING THE NECTAR: Nectar should be made at a ratio of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. It will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks so make mix 4 cups of water and 1 cup sugar. I used to boil the water but saw a friend using filtered water so now that’s what I do. The hummingbirds seem to like it just the same. It’s important to follow this formula as it most closely represents the nectar they find in nature. 

MAINTAINING THE FEEDER: The more direct sun your feeder gets the more often it will need cleaning. Using a simple vinegar and warm/hot water solution is best. Sometimes a bit of mold will form and may require a bottle brush for cleaning. I tried using uncooked rice and shaking it around with water but in my opinion, rice should be reserved for cooking. Hummingbirds will not drink spoiled solution.

For tons of great information about hummingbirds, go to