Hummingbird feeders come in a wide range of sizes and styles, but what about their basic constructive materials? Which is better, plastic or glass hummingbird feeders? Both materials have pros and cons, and understanding them better can help you choose the best feeders for your hummingbirds.
Plastic Hummingbird Feeders
Plastic feeders are very versatile and come in sizes from just 1-2 ounces to as many as 32 ounces or more. Styles range from extended bars and small dishes to saucers, top-fill designs, and all types of fun and funky shapes. This gives you great variety to choose from to find a feeder style that matches your garden décor and personal preferences.
Plastic feeders are generally lighter weight, especially in larger designs. This can make them easier to handle, but also makes them more susceptible to swaying and tipping in strong breezes, which can create leaks. Plastic may discolor or fade over time, and some plastics can warp or crack, which will cause feeder leaks. Over time, you may need to replace plastic feeders more frequently, but they are also less expensive.
See also: Where to Hang Your Hummingbird Feeders
One concern with plastic hummingbird feeders is the possible presence of bisphenol A (BPA). This strengthening compound is used in many plastics and could potentially be toxic, though there have been no extensive studies about the effects of BPA on hummingbirds. Fortunately, many hummingbird feeder manufacturers are aware of this concern and produce BPA-free feeders.
Glass Hummingbird Feeders
Glass hummingbird feeders have slightly less design variation than plastic feeders. But, they still offer many attractive styles to choose from, including blown glass and cut glass options that can be very elegant. These feeders are more durable and sturdy, and will not warp or flex as plastic feeders may. They can also be somewhat easier to clean and sterilize, keeping hummingbirds safe from toxic mold.
See also: How to Clean Your Bird Feeders
Glass feeders are heavier than plastic, which can be make larger feeders harder to handle. Their weight keeps these feeders more stable in breezy spaces. They are less likely to tip or leak if visited by larger birds, such as finches, orioles, or woodpeckers.
If they fall, glass feeders are more likely to break, and they can be more expensive to replace. Because these feeders will not warp or discolor, however, they can last for many years and be just as beautiful as when they were first purchased.
Many hummingbird feeders have both plastic and glass components. It is common for the nectar reservoir to be a glass bottle, while the feeder base and feeding ports are plastic. These types of feeders have the pros and cons of both plastic and glass designs, and they can be a great middle ground for feeder style, cost, and durability.
Choosing Your Best Hummingbird Feeders
Both plastic and glass hummingbird feeders can work very well to attract and feed hungry hummers. When choosing which is best for the hummingbirds in your yard, consider a variety of other factors as well, such as:
- Size: If you have many hummingbirds feeding nearby, a larger feeder with a bigger capacity may be best to ensure the nectar supply doesn’t run out.
- Cleaning: You should clean all hummingbird feeders regularly to prevent mold that can kill hummingbirds. Choose a design you can clean easily.
- Cost: Consider the cost of replacing a broken feeder or buying replacement parts as part of your hummingbird feeder budget.
- Aesthetics: Choose a feeder style and design you enjoy. You won’t consider it a chore to keep cleaned and refilled.
Hummingbirds aren’t picky about the feeders they use, but birders often prefer choosing feeders that are not only convenient, but beautiful as well. Choosing between plastic or glass hummingbird feeders is a personal preference. The more you learn about these materials and the types of feeders they create, the better you can choose the feeders you like best.