Gift recommendations?

ctlady_gw(z6 CT)July 27, 2007

Hi -- I'm new to this forum and am just beginning to learn about hummingbirds in connection with a bird and butterfly garden we've just put in (so I'm a newbie when it comes to the birds, if not the plants!). Here's my question: I have a dear friend in the DC area who loves hummingbirds and is trying to have a small garden (she rents a townhouse) for hummingbirds. I recommended Black and Blue Salvia to her earlier this summer and she bought some and has just seen her first hummer on it this week (she is very excited!) I need a birthday gift for her, and had set my heart on some of the gorgeous blown glass feeders that are out there, since I thought they would add a touch of beauty to her little rented garden, as well as providing something for hummers. HOWEVER, after reading up on them, it sounds as if there probably aren't any truly beautiful feeders out there that actually WORK. But I would still like to get her the most attractive (artistic, creative) one that I can, along perhaps with a truly GOOD reference book on hummingbirds (are the hummers in the Mid-Atlantic area different than the ones, say, in the Northeast?) So I am looking for recommendations for GOOD (and as beautiful as possible) feeders, plus a really good (and beautiful too, if possible) reference book.

Any ideas most appreciated! I want to do more than send a little plastic feeder (though it sounds as if they may in fact be the best bet for attracting hummers) -- I want a really beautiful gift that will also FUNCTION by actually attracting birds! There are so many truly stunning blown glass ones out there that I was dismayed to read so many negative comments about them and had given up the idea of a hummingbird-gift completely, but now that she's seen her first one (and is so excited!), I think I should go for it. But I need advice!!!


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nicknackhummer(Zone 7)


There are some attractive feeders that actually work. My hummers' favorite feeder is the test tube feeder by Holland Hill. Go to and look at their feeders. They have them listed by design, and you can go to test tube and see the various ones. These are particularly good for someone like your friend (and me) who don't have lots and lots of hummers. They hold a fairly small amount so you don't waste a lot of nectar. My next favorite feeder is the Droll Yankee Traders saucer feeder. Get her the small one or the window feeder. My hummers love this. Another one I like but not sure how much you would like the looks of, is Dr. JB's feeder. Some people don't like the teal color.

One of the pretty glass feeders that works is the Parasol feeder that is shaped like a flower. Only one hummingbird can feed on them at a time. They have several in red, which is the hummingbird's favorite color. I have the red hibiscus. It's also sold at Fat Ruby.

I have the Parasol Bouquet feeder, and it's really beautiful. I need to move it as I've never seen a hummer use it. I have seen them hover around it like they want to use it, but I think it's too near my regular bird feeders. I would recommend the single flower over the Bouquet.

I have suggestions for books too:

"Hummingbird Book--The Complete Guide to Attracting, Identifying and Enjoying Hummingbirds," by Donald & Lillian Stokes

Since she's interested in hummingbird gardens, too, she might like:

"Hummingbird Gardens, Attractiving Nature's Jewels to your Backyard," by Nancy L. Newfield and Barbara Nielsen

You should be able to get both of these from, or possibly even your local Borders or Barnes & Noble.

I hope this was helpful! Let us know what you decide. Tell your friend that the hummers love the Lady in Red Salvia also.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 7:27PM
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ctlady_gw(z6 CT)

Wow, Carol -- thanks for all the information!! I actually really like the Holland Hill feeders (which one do you actually have?) They are all very distinctive and quite lovely! Has anyone out there tried the Holland Hill wand (for hand feeding?) Certainly not basic stuff -- she needs to get them coming to her little garden first -- but what a cool idea (and one I've never heard of before!)

I also really like the red hibiscus by Parasol... and I like the idea of the single flower, since her little patio garden is quite small. Are both of these relatively easy to keep clean? (and are there any special brushes I should order for her as well, to make the job easier?)

Do people usually buy the commercial nectar, or make their own? (I was thinking I should include some nectar if store-bought is the norm...)

Finally, thank you SO much for the book ideas! I think between the feeder, supplies, and a good book, I can create a really memorable birthday present!!!

I really appreciate all the time you spent answering my newbie questions -- I can tell this is a forum I'm going to enjoy!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 9:24PM
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While "pretty" is nice and may be functional as well, keep in mind the ease of cleaning it is more important.
Your friend will appreciate an easy to clean feeder a whole lot more than one that needs a bottle brush run through it every other day. You wouldn't want to give her a gift that turns out to be a chore .
And the Hummingbirds will appreciate the clean feeder and reward her by COMING BACK on a daily basis !

A feeder only needs a little red on the outside as most of them have red lids. Instead of getting her started using the dreaded red commercial "nectar", include the recipe for the clear sugar water ( 4 parts water to 1 part sugar) that the hummers will drink .

I'm sure your friend will have years of enjoyment from your thoughtfullness .

Good Luck and Enjoy ,

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 9:38PM
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nicknackhummer(Zone 7)

(Are both of these relatively easy to keep clean? (and are there any special brushes I should order for her as well, t
o make the job easier?)


Both (actually all four) of my recommendations are *very* easy to clean! I would never recommend one that wasn't. Most important to me is that the hummers will use the feeder, and that it's easy to clean. What I use is the Holland Hill brush for cleaning test tubes and also the Droll Yankes Perfect Little Brushes for cleaning the ports. I usually run the port brush through the ports just to make sure there's no mold, and barely use the other one. I just checked, and Fat Ruby has both of these. She could get these herself locally without much trouble.

The Holland Hill test tube feeder that I have has three feeders. It's HH-HMBF Holland Hill Copper Ivy Hummingbird Feeder $17.99 at Fat Ruby. One other thing you might want to consider giving her is an ant moat. They're sold under "Accessories." Parasol makes an ant moat that's very attractive. I like theirs and also the Best-1 Trap It Ant Traps. If you've never used one, you put water in these so the ants can't get to the feeders. They really do work! The little chickadees and other birds will drink from it, too. I just make sure to fill the water each time I change my feeder nectar.

I wouldn't buy any commercial nectar for her. You're just paying for sugar solution. The best and easiest way is to mix 1 part sugar with 4 parts water. I just use hot tap water, shake it up, and refrigerate it. I make two cups at a time. It will last for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator. (Never use red dye.)

I think this is a fantastic gift! She will most definitely love it!

Carol R

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 11:35PM
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