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Advice & How-Tos

How to Make a DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder for your Trailer or Campsite

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder

Intro

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder
DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder
One of the things I have been missing most since we moved into our trailer full time is watching birds sample from my backyard feeders. I especially missed my hummingbirds, who would sometimes gather in groups of eight or nine at the many nectar feeders I had hanging in our yard. I loved watching their antics as they zoomed around sparring and arguing with each other. On two occasions, I even had a chance to care for stunned hummers who had crashed. After some rest and nectar, they both made a fully recovery.
A female Anna's hummingbird
A female Anna’s hummingbird found on the ground in our backyard in Dec 2018. I moved her to a safe spot and gave her some nectar, and she flew off after an hour of rest
A male Anna's hummingbird
A male Anna’s hummingbird taking a breather after crashing in our backyard in December 2018
We move our trailer often enough that setting up and taking down feeders at every campsite seemed messy and inconvenient, but I wasn’t willing to give up my hummingbird hobby. The COVID-19 quarantine gave me some extra time for crafting, so I decided to try my hand at a homemade portable feeder that could be easily transported from site to site. I challenged myself to use only materials I had laying around the trailer so I wouldn’t have to go shopping.

These feeders are easy to make, use recycled materials, and close up so you can easily store them for your next adventure.

Materials

  • Plastic spice container with a red lid
  • Scissors
  • Hot glue gun
  • Duct tape
  • Wire or string for hanging
  • Large, flat piece of plastic – I used an old cutting mat. Get creative and try and repurpose something laying around like an old plastic school folder or the lid to a salad bin. If you can’t find anything that works, simply complete Steps 1, 5, and 6 and skip the others. The petals make it easier for the hummingbirds to spot the feeder, but they aren’t necessary

Step 1

Prepare Container

Choose a spice container that has a hinged lid and plenty of holes for the birds to stick their beaks through. Don’t use anything with a really tenacious odor like garlic or onion powder.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder- Pick a bottle with a perforated, hinged lid
This type of seasoning bottle has holes that fit a hummingbird beak perfectly

Submerge your container in a tub of water with a few tablespoons of vinegar and a dash of dish soap. Let is soak for at least fifteen minutes to remove residual odors and loosen up the paper label. Remove the label once it has begun to lift off of the plastic and scrape off any glue residue.

Step 2

Create a Petal Stencil

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder - This is what your finished stencil will look like
This is what your finished stencil will look like
  1. In the middle of a piece of paper, trace a circle around your lid. We’ll call this Circle A.
  2. Freehand a larger circle about 3-4 mm outside of A. We’ll call this Ring B.
  3. Freehand another larger circle about 2-3 mm around B. We’ll call this Ring C.
  4. Use your lid to trace circles all the way around C, leaving one gap. We’ll call these D. These will be your petals, and you need an opening for your spice lid to act as a petal when it is open. DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder - Create a pencil stencil
  5. Using a pencil, freehand the inside of the D circles into a petal shape, with a stalk that cuts through Ring C and connects to B.
  6. Cut out your new stencil around your petals and Ring B. Use the black dashed line from this image as a guide:
    DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder - Cut out around the dashed black marker
    Cut out the paper around the dashed black marker

Step 3

Cut Your Plastic

Trace around your stencil onto the plastic with a permanent marker. Cut out your plastic along the marker lines.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder

Working with your new plastic piece, make a single cut through Ring B and then make small cuts through Circle A as if you are cutting a pizza. Stop the cuts when you hit B, do not cut through it. You should be left with little wedges, which we will bend backward along Ring B.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder

Cut the tips off of the wedges.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder

Step 4

Attach Petals to Container

Turn your petals upside down, so your wedges are pointing up. Set your lid in the middle with the petal gap aligned where the lid will open and the wedges are wrapped around the sides of the lid.

Bend each wedge backward, add a bead of got glue, and then press it into the lid for 5-10 seconds. Continue until all the wedges are glued securely to the lid.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder- Gluing the petals to the lid
Gluing the petals to the lid

Cut a small strip of duct tape out and wrap it around the wedges to further secure them. Your flower lid is now finished.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder - Duct tape to add extra security to the petals
Duct tape to add extra security to the petals

I decided to give my feeder a little extra pizazz but cutting out some flower decals with my Cricut and decorating the sides, and covering the black duct tape with yellow tape to match.

DIY Portable Hummingbird Feeder - The finished feeder
The finished feeder

Step 5

Brew Nectar

Combine 4 cups of freshly boiled water with 1 cup of white sugar and stir until totally dissolved. Nectar can be stored in the fridge for up to 10 days.

Step 6

Hang It

Once the nectar has cooled down, fill the feeder to the very top and add your hanger.

I dismantled a wire fly swatter for my first feeder and coiled it around it to form a makeshift hanger, but I realized twine works just as well. Simply knot it around the barrel of the container and then use the ends to form another loop.

Our camper windows are tinted so you can’t see inside, which makes them perfect for hummingbird viewing. I put adhesive hooks on the outside of the windows and hung my new feeders on them. Within a few days, we were watching hummingbirds from a few inches away while we ate breakfast. Magic! You could also hang your feeders on a tree branch or shepherd’s hook staked into the ground.

When it’s time to move on, I take them down, close the lids, and store them upright in the fridge so I can hang them up at the next campsite. Who says you have to give up little luxuries to camp? Enjoy your new feathered friends and please share your experiences crafting this feeder!

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