I live in Arizona really close to the Mexican border and every year we have about 100 Humming Birds coming through going back to other states. I had 7 large feeders out and they were emptied in a half day. Honestly, my husband and I were kept busy filling them up.
So, one day I found a couple of Folger"s plastic coffee cans and cut them about 2 inches up from the bottom, making a bowl. I then used some of the wire on my planter pots (the kind where 3 strands are twisted together) and make a hook at the top. I took an ice pick and heated it over the stove burner and made 3 holes near the rim of the bowl opposite each other, to attach the wire.
Then I filled them with sugar water. I hung them on a branch of the tree and had about 6 little birds feeding at the same time. Some of the song birds were eating sugar water too. Please don't use red food coloring in the feeders as it causes cancer in the birds. Your birds will be happy and the kids will enjoy watching all the birds that come to eat. (03/02/2006)
RE: Homemade Hummingbird Feeders
Humming birds like red - that's why many people add the coloring. It's not needed if you use a red container! They actually like all bright colors but they enjoy RED the best, as that's proven to be the tastiest overall "shrug", or so I've read. I'd be leary of using just a bowl of sugar water though, at least in Michigan, as it'll also attract bees. While bees are good, too many in a single location is likely not.
I found this on a site:
"Please, do not put honey, Jell-O, brown sugar, fruit, or red food coloring in your feeder! Honey ferments rapidly when diluted with water and can kill hummingbirds. The effects of red dye have not been scientifically tested, and it is not necessary to color the water to attract birds to your feeder. Further, there are unverified reports that red dye can cause tumors in hummingbirds; this may or may not be true, but why take the chance?"
Though as an alternative to the bowl feeder mentioned below, they sell water feeders for small animals that have a "trough" at the bottom and house the liquid in a larger upside down bottle. Figure out a way to hang it and it'll serve the same purpose, but last longer. Best of luck! (03/03/2006)
I don't live in their fly zone but I do attract a few hummers. In fact I just submitted an article, on thriftyfun, about attracting hummingbirds. In my article I mentioned how my mother used to feed them, a small cordial glass or vial! She wrapped copper wire around the glass and the little handle on the glass so it would hang at an angle. She filled it with sugar water, tied a red ribbon on it. There you have a hummingbird feeder. Takes but a few minutes to assemble. The cordial glass was a wedding favor from my wedding 34 years ago. You can find some great little glasses at garage sales for a quarter. If you buy flowers, to plant in the spring, think of those that attract hummingbirds. (04/28/2009)
Just in case you haven't seen them, Wal-mart has some for $4.99 and they are made in the USA. And they are easy to clean and fill. We just bought 7-8 of them for kids and neighbors last Christmas, love em. GG Vi (05/02/2009)
Homemade Hummingbird Feeder from Recycled Plastic Containers
By Carol H. D.
Red Folger's coffee container, 29.2 oz.
CoffeeMate 32 oz. container
soda bottle, 2 liter
Cut circle from bottom of Folgers coffee container.
Cut circle in center of bottom of Folger's coffee container. Inner circle is the size of CoffeeMate cap.
32 oz Coffeemate container
Remove cap and label from 32 oz. Coffeemate container. Remove black stamped date with nail polish remover. Place cap from Coffeemate container firmly into hole of Folger circle. Hint: If hole is too small, make 1/8 inch cuts 1/8 inch apart around inside of circle.
Glue cap from Coffeemate container into hole of Folger circle.
Cut bottom off at line of plastic 2 liter soda bottle.
Cut 5 tabs and fold inward. Look at the 5 wells formed in bottom. Cut the tabs in between the wells.
Cut 5 tabs and fold inward.
Cut remaining 5 tabs each into 3 tabs and fold outward.
Place Folger circle on top of soda bottle bottom.
Glue Folger circle to top of soda bottle bottom. Place glue on each tab. Hint: Use clothespins to hold one half while gluing other half.
Center hole in Folger circle above well in soda bottle bottom. (total 5 holes).
Optional - Recycled plastic to make decorations.
Optional - Decorations
1 cup sugar
3 cups water
Bring to boil, simmer 5 minutes, cool, screw CoffeeMate bottle to cap, hang, and enjoy. (09/06/2009)
There is actually a kit you can buy to convert a 2 liter bottle into a feeder. The brand name is Gadjit. If you Google it, you'll see what I'm talking about. You can also buy hummingbird feeder "tubes" that you can put into any bottle-type container. They look like a cork with the familiar tube that the hummers feed out of. Just Google "hummingbird feeder tubes" and you will find them. They are relatively inexpensive. (10/01/2009)
By the way, Walmart had nice hummingbird feeders for $4.99 last year. We bought 7 of them, and the pre-made food and tied the recipe card " how to make the refill food" to the kids' Christmas packages. (09/25/2010)