Cheap DIY Hummingbird Feeder

Bring hummingbirds into your yard without the aid of expensive store-bought feeders by making these DIY hummingbird feeders from old prescription vials.


| July/August 1978



052-148-01

This diagram shows you how to make your own hummingbird feeders out of old prescription vials.


JUD BAKER

You can go out and spend good money (anywhere from 79 cents to $10 on a ready-made hummingbird feeder If you want, but you don't have to. I know how you can make those feeders (from recycled materials) for no more than 3 cents to 5 cents each. And the final product is guaranteed to satisfy even the most finicky hummer. (Fact is, the hummingbirds that frequent our patio actually shun some "boughten" nectar dispensers in favor of my homemade ones!)

The secret of my feeders' simplicity and cost is the ordinary 20-dram prescription vials that are available everywhere. (Seven-dram tubes will work, If you don't mind refilling them all the time ... and 16-dram vials are OK if they're untinted. Unfortunately, the 16-dram containers are usually amber colored, and the color turns off the hummers.) You probably have some of these tubes on hand already. If not, they'll cost you just 3 cents to 5 cents each set at your local drugstore.

How to Make Your Own Hummingbird Feeder

To fabricate one of my nectar dispensers, I need a clear (untinted) prescription vial with a tight-fitting cap, some transparent (e.g., Scotch) tape, and a few feet of thread or thin wire. You'll also need an ice pick or some other sharp, pointed metal object.

Start by heating the ice pick (or other object) nearly red-hot and punching a pair of holes on opposite sides of the plastic vial near it's open end (see diagram). Make sure the holes are (1) very close to — but not covered up by — the bottom of the cap when the cap is in place, and (2) extremely small, small enough to keep insects out (and liquid in). 

Now round up a couple feet of thread or fine wire and secure the ends of the thread (or wire) to the vial's sides with scotch tape as shown. For extra holding power, fold the ends of the thread back over the tape and wrap a second piece of tape around the tube.

Thats basically all there is to it. Depending on how elaborate you want to get, you can fabricate just one or two of the feeders to hang up in the backyard ... or you can assemble a number into a mobile similar to the own in the accompanying photo. I've found that the mobile makes for the most interesting bird watching and often attracts several hummers for what you might call a 'family style" serving of nectar.

ollie502
5/4/2016 7:50:35 AM

Red food coloring will not harm the birds. That is ridiculous.


stephanie
9/21/2015 6:02:01 PM

You should never add red food coloring to hummingbird nectar. The red dye builds up in their system and can harm and even kill them. Look it up, I advise you to skip that step. All you need is 4 cups water to 1 cup sugar. The red color does not need to be present to attract them.if you want you can add fake red flowers around the holes. I have no red on any of my feeders and I have TONS of hummers every year.Please do research before giving out advice.


sue murphy
5/27/2011 5:21:26 PM

I thought that this article told you how to make a FREE feeder, not buy a bottom and put a free bottle on it. I guess I do not understand free. The bottom only purchase is great and what I often do, but it is not free.


hummergal
10/29/2008 10:14:04 AM

Using 2L soft drink bottles for hummingbird feeders is a great idea. We have designed the base of our new hummingbird feeder to accept these bottles as an alternative to the glass bottle that we ship with a complete feeder. The bases are now sold separately and can be found at www.TheHummingbirdStore.com. This type of idea is also perfect for school or scout projects.


barbara tingle
9/22/2008 7:49:16 PM

I am trying to find out how you make an hummingbird feeder out of a 2 liter soda bottle. If you could tell me, I would most appreciate it very much... Thank you. Barbara






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