In the United States, the migration of hummingbirds can begin as early as mid-July and last through September, with some hummingbirds wintering in lower Southern states if the cold is not too rough. During this migration period, the hummingbirds will need so much energy in their travels that they typically gain an extra ¼ to almost ½ of their body weight. Having nectar sources available during their migration is very important, and many people chose to help provide food for them with a hummingbird feeder.
I recently had the opportunity to use and review the Duncraft 32 oz. Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder. It came to us swiftly by mail, and it was packaged securely in the box to make sure it would not be damaged. One of the first things I noticed upon removing it from the box was the clear and well-crafted glass bottle, which would later prove very helpful. This clearness of the feeder was great for ensuring the nectar did not grow cloudy, and also has marks for measurement on the side to view how much the hummingbirds are consuming daily.
Because I already had other feeders in place, it took some time for the hummingbirds that we have spending their Spring/Summer with us to adjust to a new one. I initially removed the old feeders, only to have the hummingbirds fly to where they were hung and zoom up and down in what appeared to be confusion. I eventually put the original feeder back in place, but left it empty, while the Best-1 feeder was halfway full. By doing this, the hummingbirds were adjusted to their new feeder within a few days. This feeder’s wide base seemed to provide a comfortable place for them to rest, as many times I observed them here perching instead of hovering.
I did not fill the feeder completely when it was first hung, as I knew there were not enough hummingbirds in my area yet to consume it all before it was time to wash it and change the nectar. As the temperature rose in the Summer, the feeder needed to be changed more frequently, and I did not wish to waste a batch of sugar water. I normally follow the universal 4:1 ratio in making my nectar (4 parts water to 1 part sugar, or, 1 cup of water to ¼ cup of sugar). However, I was pleased to see that Duncraft offers a wide variety of hummingbird nectar products on their website (both clear and naturally colored mixtures, as ordinary red dye can be harmful to a hummingbird).
The feeder can be easily disassembled for cleaning into just three parts- there are no tiny plastic flowers to remove and clean as with other feeders, which I found to be a great relief. Do not place the feeder into a dishwasher, and make sure to hand wash it instead. I recommend having a bottle brush on hand to use for this feeder, which will allow you to clean the inside of the glass bottle. It is recommended on the product’s outer box (and also a smaller card included) that you carefully hand-tighten the bottle back to the base, to ensure that too much force will not crack the neck of the feeder.
In summary, I have been very impressed with the Duncraft Best-1 Hummingbird Feeder, and the all-around ease of use of the product. More importantly, the hummingbirds themselves have taken to, and enjoy using, this well-built feeder. I have also noticed a dramatic decrease in the problem I have normally had with ants and bees in feeders of the past. In my opinion, if you want a sturdy feeder that will last and provide you with hours of enjoyment observing hummingbirds, give the Best-1 a try.
Fala Burnette is a homesteader with her husband at Wolf Branch Homestead in Alabama. They are currently building their own log cabin and milling their own lumber, along with raising heirloom crops in the Spring and tanning furs during the Winter. Read all of Fala's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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