Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder

Find helpful tips for attracting Hummingbirds to your garden along with an easy nectar recipe to slow down spoilage and the best way to clean your feeders. You’ll also find a method to revive a tired feeder and give it a refresh.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

August is a peak month in North Carolina for hummingbirds

in the garden and at the feeders!

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Hummingbirds have been late to arrive this year, but I decided to

Keep Calm and Hummingbird On

refilling the feeders with fresh nectar in anticipation of their arrival.

Keep Calm and Hummingbird On | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

I always get a thrill when I see hummers or hear them chirping as they go zipping by,

dashing from flower to feeder, defending “their” territory.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

We have three feeders placed around the yard and by the Potting Shed.

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Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

After several years, the UV rays and frequent washing had taken its toll,

fading the feeders from their original vibrant red, making them almost

clear in color and in need of a some TLC.

I decided they needed a makeover to entice the hummers!

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

I found Krylon Stained Glass Paint in Cranberry Red, a translucent paint for glass,

to restore the finish and still allow me to see the level of the nectar in the feeder.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

Note: Krylon Stained Glass Paint states that it’s for indoor use, so after applying it,

I sprayed multiple coats of Krylon Acrylic Spray Paint Crystal Clear to protect the finish.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

Follow manufacturer’s directions for use, applying in a well ventilated area or outdoors.

I cleaned my feeder and let it dry before painting, applying 8 light coats of paint

to achieve the color I was looking for.

Tip: To make sure feeder is free of any oil or residue, wipe down the glass surface

with rubbing alcohol prior to painting.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

I was very happy with the outcome and highly recommend this paint for glass!

To apply the paint, hold the can 10-12 inches from the surface of

a clean feeder and spray in a light sweeping motion. Wait 1 minute between each coat

before applying the next light coat. It dries to touch in 30 minutes

and to handle in 1 hour. I allowed it to dry overnight before applying

 4 generous coats of the clear acrylic sealer.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

The sealer seems to have done the trick

as we had several torrential downpours last week and the feeder is still vibrant red.

When I take the feeders down in late fall, I’ll give them another

couple of coats of sealer after cleaning them before putting them away.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

The metal flowers had faded from the blazing sun,

so I gave them a ‘refresh’ with red nail polish!

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

I applied the polish to the petals, avoiding the metal throat port.

To keep the polish off the feeder, I used squares of wax paper to protect the base of the feeder.

 Bees and wasps are attracted to the color yellow, so you can use

red nail polish to paint over any yellow parts of the feeder as well.

Apply multiple coats until the yellow is covered.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

After the polish was dry, I gave the base and the flowers a couple of coats

of acrylic sealer for protection and to refresh the base of the feeder.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

As good as new!

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe and Feeder Fresh! | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Hummingbird nectar is easy to make with white refined sugar and water,

mixing in a ratio of 1:4, sugar to water.

Note: Do not use red dye, “raw” sugar, honey or sugar substitutes.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Plain white table sugar mixed with water mimics the chemical composition of natural nectar.

Do not use organic, natural, or raw sugars as they contain levels of iron that could be harmful.

Also, do not use honey, which can cause fermentation, promoting bacteria and fungal growth.

Avoid red dye in your sugar water which may be harmful to hummingbirds.

To mix your nectar, combine four parts hot water to one part sugar. Mix it until it’s completely dissolved.

Once it cools to room temperature, it’s ready to go.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Boiled tap water is the preferred water to use.

Using boiled water removes any potentially harmful bacteria, chlorine, fluorides, etc. that hummers don’t need.

I mix up a quart at a time (1 cup of sugar and 4 cups of water).

After the sugar is dissolved and has cooled, I store it in the fridge to have on hand for quick refilling.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Nectar spoils quickly in hot weather so clean your feeder every time you refill!

I only fill my feeders about 1/3 full in the summer, as I empty, clean and refill

every 2 – 3 days with our 90+ August temperatures.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Avoid soap to clean your feeders as hummingbirds can taste the soap/detergent residue.

To clean and kill bacteria and mold in your hummingbird feeder,

use a bleach/water mixture, mixing 1 part bleach to 10 parts water,

filling your feeder and allowing the bleach water to stand 15 minutes.

 Rinse well and allow to air dry before refilling.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

I discovered Hummingbird Feeder Fresh Nectar Defender last year, which stops spoilage!

It’s an all-natural product that protects the freshness of hummingbird nectar

and is safe for hummers. It uses a micronutrient, copper,

naturally consumed by hummingbirds in their diet of nectar and insects.

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe and Feeder Fresh! | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

One bottle will last an entire season as you only need 1 tablespoon per quart of nectar.

I add it to my batch of nectar after it has cooled. It says it will keep your nectar fresh in hot weather up to 2 weeks.

 Note: Even with the addition of Feeder Fresh, I don’t go longer than a week before cleaning and refilling my feeders, but it does allow me to feel the nectar is safe in hot weather and I can skip the every 2 day cleaning / refilling.

Ant Moat to keep ants out of Hummingbird Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

I use ant moats to keep the hummingbird feeders ant-free!

I like that you use water only with these moats, with no chemicals to keep the ants away.

You do have to be diligent about refilling the moats with water with evaporation in the sun.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

If possible, place your feeder near trees.

Hummingbirds are territorial and like to perch in nearby trees

to chase away intruders at their feeding area.

Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Hummingbirds are a prolific pollinator of flowers.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds deposit 10 times as much pollen as bumblebees.

Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

Hummingbirds like flowers that produce a lot of nectar, such as bee balm, salvias,

weigela, trumpet honeysuckle and other trumpet vines, cardinal flower, petunias

or anything that is tubular in shape.

Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

There are 320 species of hummingbirds, but only 14 breed in North America, and only one,

the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, can be found east of the Mississippi River. Male Ruby-throats

have a distinctive ruby-red throat, hence the name. Females are greenish,

with a white throat and a notched tail, while juvenile males resemble adult females.

Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

It’s a myth that leaving hummingbird feeders up too late in the fall will prevent the birds from migrating.

Hummingbirds have an internal clock regulated by the changing day length,

which lets them know when it’s time to go.

A flash of harmless lightning, A mist of rainbow dyes, The burnished sunbeams brightening, From flower to flower he flies. | © #hummingbirds

A flash of harmless lightning,

A mist of rainbow dyes,

The burnished sunbeams brightening,

From flower to flower he flies.

~John Bannister Tabb

Tips for attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY #paint

As an Amazon associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. If you purchase anything through an affiliate link, I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Refresh a Tired Feeder to Attract Hummingbirds | © #hummingbirds #tips #DIY

 Thank you for your visit, sharing with:

 Between Naps on the Porch

  43 comments for “Attracting Hummingbirds and How to Revive a Tired Feeder

  1. Pat
    August 6, 2020 at 6:59 am

    Mary, thanks for this post! I will forward to both of my next door neighbors as they both feed hummingbirds.

  2. Rita C.
    August 6, 2020 at 7:23 am

    Your paint refresh turned out really nice. I could’ve used that feeder fresh over the years! My hummingbird regime was much the same as yours, Mary. Hummers were late arriving in this region also (per friends & family observations).

  3. Kathy Menold
    August 6, 2020 at 7:42 am

    I have been entertained these late summer days watching what I call “The Hummingbird Wars” The dominate male defends his territory with an endless attack on the females and young birds. The aerial displays are up there with The Blue Angels!No one seems to get hurt and sometimes it looks like a game enjoyed by all. My garden also supplements their food source with their favorites this week being my scarlet Salvia “Lady In Red”. and red Pentas.
    Stay cool and safe.

  4. August 6, 2020 at 7:57 am

    Beautiful refresh on your feeders! Hummingbirds have been really active all over my garden and especially at the sunflowers. They are so fun to watch…Happy Thursday, Mary!

    • Maria Teresa
      August 7, 2020 at 12:11 am

      Hola soy de Chile y también llegan a mi casa, son maravillosos, me emociona ver seres tan pequeños con sus vuelos tan rápidos en las ventanas, un saludo grande

      • Yvonne
        August 8, 2020 at 8:55 am

        I’ve found that having multiple feeders keeps the wars down a lot. I have four of them. So fun to enjoy their antics.
        Our hummies are with us year round, lots of nests every January construction starts, here in So. California.

  5. August 6, 2020 at 7:59 am

    I love this post. I had just told my husband that I want to do two things next year…plant an herb garden and set up hummingbird feeders and houses and your post popped up in my email!!! This really helps me understand hummingbirds and the feeding process much better.

  6. August 6, 2020 at 8:03 am

    Very informative, cute use of nail polish! I am impressed at your cleanliness, I abandoned my feeders this year and finally watch them have substance from my once barren garden. They are so joyful to see!

  7. Susie
    August 6, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Mary, did you use special nail polish? I would be afraid the birds would be repelled by the strong smell of the polish.

    • August 6, 2020 at 8:09 am

      Hi Susie, No special polish, just what I had. Nail polish doesn’t have an odor after it dries. 🌺❤️

  8. August 6, 2020 at 8:26 am

    The stained glass spray paint is new to me and what a wonderful way to add color to glass but still have transparency! I was watching a You Tube video yesterday on how to paint the never still wings of hummingbirds…my mother used to have feeders and I always think of her when I see them. I admire your dedication, keeping the feeders fresh, clean and full, {with ant moats!} and the clever way you used nail polish! I know your garden is a bird sanctuary Mary, abuzz with birds and bees!

  9. Francie Newcomb
    August 6, 2020 at 8:41 am

    Great article, thanks.

  10. August 6, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Tour revived feeders look beautiful, Mary! Thanks for all your tips. I need to try feeding hummingbirds again. I really like the idea of the Feeder Fresh. I had the worst problem with mold in the past. You’re the best source of information. ❤️

  11. Kim in NC
    August 6, 2020 at 9:43 am

    As a fellow hummingbird lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Your photos are beautiful. My husband and I have been making a point to sit out on the patio at the end of our work day. The hummingbirds have been a large part of our entertainment out there recently. They visit our two feeders, the blooms on the lemon tree and the butterfly bush. One of my feeders looks similar to yours. It had a red film over the glass that has slowly been peeling off. This looks like a great way to refresh it. I am also going to take a look at the flowers to see if they could benefit from a brush with the nail polish. I must admit I would have never thought to do something like this, so I thank you for sharing your idea with us.

  12. Donna
    August 6, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Thanks for all this information. I love it when you see a hummingbird, so delicate.

  13. Clara
    August 6, 2020 at 9:55 am

    Love this post as hummingbirds are a favorite. Thanks for sharing this wonderful information. Enjoy your day! Clara ♥️

  14. Pat Parker
    August 6, 2020 at 10:41 am

    Thanks for the tip about Feeder Fresh. Will look for it. This fall the yellow flowers will get a coat of red nail polish when I take the feeder in.

  15. Cathy
    August 6, 2020 at 11:02 am

    Hi Mary, I love feeding the hummers. One variety stays all year here in Wa. I was admiring your hanger for the feeder. Was that a special find or is it available to purchase? Thank you🌻

    • August 6, 2020 at 11:10 am

      Hi Cathy, The metal hanger came with the feeder, here. Or are you referring to the red ant moat it is hanging from? It’s available, here.

      • Cathy
        August 6, 2020 at 12:00 pm

        I was referring to the metal in ground hanger

      • August 6, 2020 at 12:28 pm

        Oh you mean the shepherd’s hook! I got it at a garden center years ago but there is a similar one available, here.

  16. August 6, 2020 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the good info and lovely garden picks

  17. August 6, 2020 at 11:22 am

    Just ordered the Fresh Nectar Defender from Amazon. A little thing to keep the hummers happy!

  18. August 6, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Stained glass spray paint? Brilliant idea for refreshing outdoor glass in general. I never would have thought of this. I absolutely love the hummingbirds who come to my yard each Summer. They are so cute and fun to watch, flitting from flower to flower. In my yard, their favorite flower is Redbirds in a Tree. I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to attract hummingbirds. Also, I use the Hummzinger feeders. They are more flat like a saucer and so much easier to clean than the bottle type. Check them out some time.

  19. August 6, 2020 at 5:38 pm

    great information – thank you for the posting :)

  20. Ann Woleben
    August 6, 2020 at 7:03 pm

    Great tips! We enjoy watching our hummingbirds. They arrived in March and have been here ever since. (Virginia)

  21. Cyndi Raines
    August 7, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Such a great informational post Mary! We enjoy feeding the hummers and they are so fun to watch. We do like you, making a quart of sugar water, filling the feeder only 1/3 full and storing the rest in the frig. We change ours out every few days in the really hot weather also. Thanks for the tip about not washing their container in soapy water, I’ll stop and start doing the bleach solution, although I did really rinse well. Actually, we have two feeders, always keeping one clean, putting it out when the used one needs to be cleaned, so they don’t have to wait for their cool drink. Ha. I also like yourtip about painting the yellow flowers red to keep away the bees and wasps. I will have to paint mine. Do you have a tip to stop squirrels from drinking from the feeder? We have one who runs along the deck railing and climbs the wooden spindle that we have posted with the feeder hanging from it. He literally puts his paws around the bottle, tips it to his mouth and drinks like a baby drinking a bottle! It would almost be cute, but I really don’t appreciate it as he has chewed off one of the flowers and of course it’s my newest feeder that he has done this to. I have 3 bird baths he can drink from so he needs to stop. 😣 Thanks again for the great tips. 😉

  22. Peggy Ott
    August 7, 2020 at 9:07 am

    Good Morning Mary! Great read and good to know info. Time to get my feeders back out and try again to feed my little hummers who visit all my pretty flowers. Beautiful pics and instructions, appreciate the read!!

  23. Michele M
    August 7, 2020 at 9:33 am

    I am so excited to learn about that safe additive! I am going to buy it today. Yay. Had no idea!!!I am an avid hummer feeder and do everything you do – except a few: I don’t grow enough flowers, but trees we have lots of! Been using my ant moats on my 2 feeders – had three but now down to two this year. One of my feeders STILL gets ants – first time this year ants have been a problem – with the moat filled! I think it is too close to the tree maybe?

    As for your paint – I love how nice it looks but I have always been afraid to do that for fear it would be harmful to the hummers. So every few years when mine are getting faded I just donate for someone else to hopefully begin feeding them. I am blessed I can get new.

    And lastly – every year I have a few colorful hummers but this year they didn’t come back. I have two really plain brown ones. They aren’t as active here or as fun to watch as the brightly colored ones. And they are much smaller. I am very east – Ohio – next to Pennsylvania. You say we only get ruby throated ones here? Wonder what these ones are then? Are the females brown, do you know?

    Great post – hopefully it will encourage others to properly care in feeding their hummers too. They are so special.

    Go to YouTube and listen to Seals and Crofts “Hummingbird.” I play it each time I am cleaning my feeders. It makes my soul sing. ♥

    • Grey Pohl
      August 7, 2020 at 2:21 pm

      When my middle girl was very young (she is now 62) and very redheaded it was not unusual for both hummingbirds and butterflies to light in her hair. She, of course, was thrilled. Another time when we lived near woods we hung many feeders. One in particular was emptying too quickly so one lovely day I sat on the patio and watched to see all the hummers. Suddenly the dog went wild barking and looking to the branch with the feeder and there was a large raccoon lifting the feeder up and pouring the liquid onto his forepaw, hence the great loss of liquid. He then licked his leg dry and repeated the process. Needless to say I moved the feeder to a different location. What a joy they are to watch. Thank you for the excellent information which I will put to work immediately. Here in Washington the Anna Hummingbirds do not migrate so there are always some feeding most of the year. They also like to build their nests quite close to humans!

  24. Ricki Treleaven
    August 7, 2020 at 3:31 pm

    Super tips on how to refurbish the hummingbird feeders. We’re at the lake, and I’m sitting on our upper porch (way up high) and I’ve been watching the hummingbirds in the trees. I have been surprised to see them up here, and we’ve been watching them all morning and afternoon.

  25. Teresa
    August 7, 2020 at 5:25 pm

    I absolutely love watching hummies fly from feeder to feeder and the flowers! Sometimes I hear them before I see them! I have a dedicated hummingbird garden as well as butterfly garden! I wish they could stay year round! Thanks for the reminder to clean the feeders every 2-3 days due to hot weather! 🐝🦋🌻🌼🌸🌺☀️

  26. Ellen
    August 8, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Good to know that your hummer tips are exactly like mine!! Also, good to know about the new paint..we have the same feeders as you….I still put red dye in mine..I tried leaving the nectar colorless but even in the red bottles they wanted nothing to do with it…also, I read that cleaning with Dawn liquid detergent is recommended and I have for a number of years…but to each his own…I do boil my sugar water and I keep mine in the frig…I track the hummers with the tracking app…this year they were very late and fewer in numbers in the north…I have had them come to my front window when they return and bounce up and down I guess to let me know they are here and GET THOSE FEEDERS OUT!! I have one right now that every time I’m out watering, he comes and hovers by me and I talk to him..he stays for a while then goes to the feeder…don’t know if he wants to play in the water or just trying to figure out who or what I am!! LOL!! I had one sit on my finger once and I have revived a couple…we have 3 feeders and that’s what I’m doing this time of year is cleaning and filling and making hummer food!! Again, thanks for the info!!!

    • Kathy Davies
      August 8, 2020 at 4:13 pm

      For the sake of hummingbirds, please DO NOT USE RED DYE:

      Red Dye #40 has proven carcinogenic and mutagenic (meaning that it induces tumors) in rats and mice. Further, it decreases reproduction rates and increases the incidence of both internal and skin tumors in these animals. It is banned in Denmark, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, Sweden, and Norway, but is still in use in the U.S.

      Because it has not been directly tested on hummingbirds, manufacturers of artificial nectars containing red dye are on solid ground when they claim that no proof exists that it is harmful to hummingbirds. That’s true. But neither is there any research that indicates that red dye is not harmful to hummingbirds. A hummingbird taking artificially dyed nectar may be ingesting the dye in concentrations that are 17 times the accepted daily intake recommended for humans, and 12 times higher than the concentration found to induce DNA damage in mice. And they may be ingesting it every single day, all summer long.

      • Janet
        August 8, 2020 at 5:23 pm

        Yes, I have to agree. The red dye serves no purpose, adds no flavor and is unnecessary, especially in a red feeder. Please refrain and keep those little flyers safe! ❤️🌸🌞🌺

  27. Mary Fuller
    August 9, 2020 at 3:27 pm

    My adult sons always comment on the mason jar of hummingbird nectar I prepare and then store in the fridge, They say, ” I see Mom ‘s been making White Lightning (moonshine) again.” Love your photos and the information that is so useful for both novices and long-time birders. Enjoy everything on your wonderful blog. In this trying time of pandemic, I so enjoy my backyard flower gardens, feeding the birds, and sitting in the gazebo to observe God’s creations– as I am sure many others are appreciating their own backyard or balcony/deck/container garden piece of heaven.

  28. vickie atkins
    August 10, 2020 at 4:02 pm

    Hi Mary,
    Thank you for all this good info! I don’t see any comments on bees bothering the feeders. I had 2 feeders up around our front porch and the bees were swarming all over which kept the birds away. I finally had to take the feeders down as the bees were bothering everyone who came and went. I’m in San Diego area, zone 10a. Thanks for any advice.

    • August 10, 2020 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Vickie, I’ve read that you can move the feeders just 3 – 4 feet and it will confuse the wasps/bees so they lose track of them. The only other thing I know to do would be to use style of a feeder that has a bee guard, like the ones, here. Hope that helps! ♥

  29. August 11, 2020 at 10:35 am

    Love the refresh of the feeder….Need to get a feeder as I see a hummingbird visit everyday.
    Have a fabulous day Mary!

  30. Sue
    August 12, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    Thank you for this helpful information!

  31. September 10, 2020 at 1:19 pm

    I had no idea that if your feeder’s color fades then you need to add some more color to it. I really want to set up a feeder in my backyard because my neighbor has hummingbirds. I’ll get a bright one that will be easy to recolor.

  32. October 15, 2020 at 12:36 pm


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