Handmade for Hummingbirds

DIY hummingbird feeder from a glass bottle

DIY hummingbird feederThis time of year is when hummingbirds start making an appearance in many of our gardens, but those cheap plastic feeders don’t lend much ambiance. Luckily, there are many methods out there for making them yourself out of re-purposed materials.

Kelly recently showed us some great examples of glass bottles turned useful again, and here is another project to add to the list.

How to Make a Hummingbird Feeder

You will need: a glass bottle with an opening that would fit a standard cork, heavy gauge wire and cutters, and a purchased stopper for a hummingbird feeder. You can find these on pottery supply sites such as Aftosa, and occasionally at specialty garden shops.

Directions: Thoroughly wash out the bottle. Then, wrap the wire around it so that it will hang upside down or at an angle in the location you will be placing it. Fill it with nectar, cork and hang!

Here are some simple instructions for mixing nectar from Hummingbirds.net. They stress not to add red dye, as it may be dangerous for the birds to consume:

  • Use one part ordinary white cane sugar to four parts water.
  • This mixture approximates the average sucrose content (about 21%) of the flowers favored by North American hummingbirds, without being so sweet it attracts too many insects.
  • Store unused syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  • It’s not necessary to boil the water. The microorganisms that cause fermentation don’t come from the water; they are transported to the feeder on hummingbird bills.

Some additional hummingbird ideas:

This tutorial by Nannette Richford on Associated Content features instructions for recycling parts from old hummingbird feeders into spouts for miniature bottle feeders, and offers up lots of helpful tips as well.

KidsGardening.com has a fun activity that involves designing feeders from disposable plastic containers.

+ Instructables shows you how to mod your digital camera so you can shoot photos of hummingbirds.

The hummingbird feeder in the photo above looks like an advanced version of the glass bottle method I described. You could decorate and embellish any of these projects in countless ways, and they would make great gifts too!

Photo Credit: revgriddler on Flickr

Written by Autumn Wiggins

This 2008 interview pretty much sums it up:

1. How would you describe yourself?
An oddly situated performer of thought experiments

2. Do you have any anecdotes about your work (how you got started, frustrating moments, or funny stories)?
At this year's Maker Faire in San Mateo, I gave a presentation on how the trend of green crafting can ultimately address the problem of consumption and waste. Dale Dougherty,the publisher of Make and Craft, later had a gift delivered to me, a staple bound book of poetry: Music Like Dirt by Frank Bidart. This is the last thing one would expect to take home from an event so focused on renegade technology. To my surprise, it was an existential reflection on the human need to make things that I now find myself going back to whenever I need some inspiration to look beyond the materials and processes of crafting.

3. What kinds of things do you do for fun?
In my spare time I enjoy amateur astronomy, outdoor adventures, collecting domain names, and hanging out at coffee shops.

4. What interesting projects are you working on right now?
I'm working to organize community involvement in upcycling, and have a few top-secret website projects up my sleeves!

5. Where do you live? Kids, pets, spouse, occupation?
O'Fallon, IL, a suburb (and I mean a totally typical suburb) of St. Louis, MO. Rather than moving to the more culture friendly urban environment, I am staying put and annoying the heck out of Wal-Mart by throwing a massive indie craft show(Strange Folk) in their backyard. I have a husband, Doug, and two sons: a 7 year old mad scientist named Jack, and 6 year old Max, who we think is an aspiring tattoo artist since he's so fond of drawing all over himself with markers. To pay the bills, I do freelance writing, mural painting, and website design, sell my handmade crafts, teach art classes for kids, and work part -time at a local coffee shop.

6. What new idea (in or outside of your field) has excited you most recently?
The concept known as "Cradle-to-Cradle" is a blueprint for sustainability that states everything we manufacture should be either biodegrable, infinitely recyclable, or intended to be upcycled. This is the basis for many of my ideas of how the crafting community can be more widely involved in solving the environmental crisis.

7. What is your favorite food/color/tool?
granola/green/sewing machine!

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