I created a hummingbird feeder from easily accessible materials, and photographed the birds who came to drink from it.

I observed three hummingbirds outside my dorm window, as they bravely (because I was not far away) got nectar from a bush. After watching them a while, I decided I wanted to have a hummingbird feeder, and the easiest and cheapest way to do that was to make one.

bird peeking around feeder

I used this the World of Hummingbirds website for the basic structure, although instead of their recommended salad dressing lid I used the lower part of an applesauce container.

I made the flowers from red plastic cups (plenty to be found on a college campus, but I got some unused ones), and covered the bottle in a yellow plastic bag. The handle of the bag is near the base of the feeder, so I can see in this 'window' and determine if it needs refilling.

The birds took a while to start coming, but now they are around every day. I've got some pretty neat photos of them with the feeder, which you can see below.

I was surprised at first that they knew how to feed from the feeder, since it doesn't look too much like a plant. I suppose the bright colors and their curiosity combined for this success.


Click on any image to view it full size. I was shooting between 1/800 and 1/1600 seconds for most of these pictures, with a wide aperture to make up the difference. I took over 1000 pictures of the hummingbirds, of which I have selected the top 70, shown below. At one point I took the screen off of my window to get better pictures, so halfway through the colors become brighter. The hummingbirds were a little afraid and a little curious -- the adolescent male even buzzed around me for quite a while trying to figure out what I was doing!

Below is an animated GIF of a bird drinking from the feeder. Many wingbeats were missed, but you get the general idea. They go in for a sip, pull back, and go for another sip, never landing.

Comments, suggestions, questions? e-mail kaytdek(at)gmail.com. Please do not use any content on this site without permission from and credit to Katie Dektar. Last updated 2013