As long as there have been test tube hummingbird feeders, the most commonly question asked is; “Should I use glass or plastic test tubes?” Is there a difference in attracting hummingbirds? Does one material last longer than the other and is one easier to clean?
The most obviously difference in test tube hummingbird feeders is that glass will break easier than plastic. If you drop a glass test tube versus a plastic tube, it will probably shatter. However, a plastic tube scratches very easily. Under normal outside elements such as sun and rain, a plastic tube will turn a dingy yellow, whereas glass test tubes are more resilient to weather conditions.
Cleaning the two different tubes can also pose a challenge. The sugar/water hummingbird nectar solution turns rapidly into a sticky, molasses-type composite. Removing this sticky nectar is more difficult with plastic test tubes than glass. Many people use specifically designed brushes or pipe cleaners in order to get inside test tubes to clean them. These same brushes with stiff bristles are needed to get to the bottom of the test tube hummingbird feeders but tend to scratch the softer, plastic test tubes. Glass tubes are clinically developed products that can withstand the constant cleaning necessary for all hummingbird feeders.
Even the red caps on the ends of test tube hummingbird feeders must be taken into consideration when purchasing your gifts. Red caps that fit inside the rim of test tubes are easy to install, but harder to remove than red caps that are designed to go on the outside of the test tube ends. After the nectar solution grips onto the inside surface of test tube hummingbird feeders, it also forms a glue-like bonding on the red caps. If you purchase only the red caps that fit on the outside of the test tubes, you do not have that sticky, bonding problem. Simply run warm water over any stubborn test tubes and the properly designed red caps come right off the test tube hummingbird feeders.
The most overlooked part of any test tube hummingbird feeder is the copper. Many crafters, or anyone wishing to make their own feeder, use the wrong thickness. Copper is extremely flexible which makes it prone to weaknesses in weather conditions. If you use the thinner copper wire to hold the test tubes in place, you will discover your test tubes on the ground in a very short time frame.
Enjoy your birds!
Wild Bird Depot is located on Rt 11 in Gilford, NH. Steve White is a contributing author in major publications, a guest lecturer at major conventions in Atlanta and St. Louis as well as the host of WEZS 1350AM radio show “Bird Calls” with Lakes Region Newsday @ 8:30AM. Wild Bird Depot has donated over $5,000 to local rehabilitators and local nature centers since 1996. Be sure to check out our blog “Bird Droppings” via our website www.wildbirddepot.com. Like us on Facebook for great contests and prizes.