Do banana hummingbird feeders work?

Answered by Tom Adger

Banana hummingbird feeders can be a great addition to your backyard or garden if you want to attract these tiny, colorful birds. While traditional nectar feeders with sugar water are the most common choice, banana feeders can offer a different option for attracting hummingbirds. But do they really work? Let’s dive into this question and explore the effectiveness of banana hummingbird feeders.

First and foremost, it’s important to note that hummingbirds primarily feed on nectar from flowers. Nectar is a rich source of energy for them, providing the necessary fuel to sustain their high metabolism. However, hummingbirds also require protein in their diet, especially during the breeding season when they need to support the growth of their young.

While nectar provides the necessary carbohydrates, it lacks protein. This is where banana hummingbird feeders can play a role. By offering overripe fruit, such as peeled bananas, you can attract fruit flies, which are a great source of protein for hummingbirds. Fruit flies are attracted to the decaying fruit and become an easy and accessible prey for hummers.

To set up a banana hummingbird feeder, you can place a peeled banana or other overripe fruit in an old mesh bag, like a produce bag from the grocery store. Hang this bag near your regular hummingbird feeder or in close proximity to it. The scent of the decaying fruit will attract fruit flies, which will then serve as a protein source for the hummingbirds.

It’s important to note that banana hummingbird feeders should not replace traditional nectar feeders. Nectar should always be the primary food source for hummingbirds, as it mimics the natural nectar they obtain from flowers. The banana feeder can simply supplement their diet with additional protein.

Now, let’s address the effectiveness of banana hummingbird feeders. While there isn’t extensive scientific research specifically on banana feeders, many bird enthusiasts and backyard birdwatchers have reported success in attracting hummingbirds using this method. Fruit flies are a natural part of a hummingbird’s diet, and by providing a reliable source of protein, you may increase the likelihood of attracting hummingbirds to your feeder.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that the success of attracting hummingbirds to a banana feeder may vary depending on your location, the availability of natural food sources, and the presence of other competing feeders or flowers nearby. Additionally, banana feeders may be more effective during the breeding season when hummingbirds have a higher need for protein.

In my personal experience, I have found that banana hummingbird feeders can indeed attract these delightful birds. I have observed hummingbirds visiting the banana feeder alongside the traditional nectar feeders in my backyard. It’s always a joy to witness these tiny creatures enjoying a varied diet and benefiting from the additional protein source.

Banana hummingbird feeders can be an effective way to supplement the diet of hummingbirds by providing a source of protein in the form of fruit flies. While nectar should always be the main food source, offering overripe fruit in a mesh bag near your regular feeder may attract fruit flies and, in turn, hummingbirds. Give it a try and see if it enhances the presence of these beautiful birds in your garden or backyard.