Sunday, June 5, 2016

DIY Hummingbird Feeders

More 4-H Bird watching fun with our DIY Hummingbird feeders

Team Clover 4-H has spent the last year learning lots of ways to care for wild birds and now that summer is here we have taken on the challenge of caring for summer feathered friends.  We made bird baths, bird house and at our last meeting we made Hummingbird feeders.

Think you may want to give it a try?  Here is how we made ours

Supplies you will need to make your own are:

Recycled bottles           Bed spring or heavy gauge wire         18 Gague Wire for attaching
Pliers                               Beads                                                   Buttons
Hummingbird feeder tube with stopper                                    Hummingbird food

Step 1:  We started with a recycled bottle and an old bed spring.  Our springs had to be sprung (stretched) a bit to fit each bottle so some adjustments may be required.
For the safety of the Hummingbirds we thoroughly cleaned the inside and then cleaned all the labels and glue off it (Hot water and a Brillo pad worked great for that).  The sky is the limit with which bottles you can use but be sure to check with your stopper as to the size of the opening.  There are also many fun shapes of bottles to choose from as you will see in our completed photos just keep in mind the larger the bottle the more weight there will be on the stopper and it may leak.  We found regular wine bottles and smaller to work the best.
Not everyone has access to bed springs so a heavy gauge wire will work as well but test it before you try as the weight of the liquid will effect the end result.  The thinner the wire the more loops you will need to make and too thin of wire will just not work well in a coil method.  We choose to decorate our feeders with buttons and beads but you could easily just paint the bottles or both, which every you choose.

18 Gauge wire.
Two lengths approximately 24" long

Step 2:  To make it possible to hang the feeders we took our 18 Gauge wire cut two lengths about 24" long and folded it in half.  To create the loop we twisted the wire approximately two inches from the fold leaving us a nice loop and four arms to decorate with the buttons, beads or both.  Once the arms are decorated we then attached them to the spring.  I recommend decorating them one wire at a time then attach as it is hard to keep them on all four wires with out losing some during attaching (yes we found out the hard way on a few bottles).  The design and length of each set of beads is set by the design you are trying to reach and will also determine the "spring" design on the bottle.  If you want lots of the bed spring showing on the bottle then less beads/wire is required.  Just be sure that you have enough of the bed spring on the bottle to prevent it from tipping out. To attach the wire to the bed spring we simply coiled the wires around the spring a few times for strength and clipped any extra off with pliers.

Close up of stopper.  Be sure it fits snugly
to prevent leaking.

Step 3:  Simply fill feeders with Hummingbird food and insert the Hummingbird feeder tube with stopper and just that easy you have one pretty awesome Hummingbird feeder.

This was a bit of a larger square shaped bottle so the spring did not fit snugly on it but it still worked out very well.
Step 4:  Wait for the Hummingbirds.  Luckily for us we already had some in our area that were fighting over one feeder so they were quick to flock to all the others we have now.  And as you can tell by the liquid level the one pictured above its one of the favorites as it has only been up a little over a week.

Hummingbird perched high atop an electrical wire scanning its territory to keep others from its new feeders.

*Side Note*
Plan blog on sunny days and not in downpours as I have waited 3 hours now and not seen the hummingbird once to get a picture of it at the feeders.....Go figure. lol

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