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Handheld hummingbird feeding is amazing and magical to experience; however, it’s important to note that it requires patience, some skills, and even a little luck. But with a lot of perseverance and some helpful tips, they’ll be feeding out of the palm of your hand in no time!


You can start hand feeding with just about any hummingbird feeder, but there are handheld hummingbird feeders designed just for this purpose. These feeders are specially designed to fit comfortably in your hand. The small, lightweight construction makes it easier to hold so your hand won’t fatigue. After all, you don’t want to scare the hummingbirds off with too much movement!


It may seem obvious, but when you set out to start hand feeding you want to make sure there are hummingbirds around. Take note of the times during the day and the time of year when your feathered friends are out feeding. By paying attention to peak feeding times you can ensure that you’re outside when they are and, therefore, you’ll be more likely to attract them.

Gif of hummingbirds feeding from a handheld feeder


Once you know what time of day you’re likely to have the most luck, it’s time to start feeding. But not so fast! It's important to go in stages. Follow these steps to get started:

  1. INTRODUCE THE FEEDER– Before you include yourself in the equation, you want to let them get accustomed to the new feeder first. Fill the feeder with nectar and place it outside on a flat surface to let hummingbirds get used to it. Placing it near existing feeders or flowers helps since they already know to look for food there.
  2. INTRODUCE YOURSELF– Once hummingbirds have started using the feeder regularly, introduce yourself to the area during popular feeding times. Start slowly by sitting or standing somewhere nearby to get them comfortable with your presence. Try to stay still and avoid sudden moves so you don’t startle them while they’re still learning to trust you there. Take a step or two closer to the feeder each day.
  3. HOLD THE FEEDER– When the hummingbirds are familiar with the feeder and you’re able to stand very close to them while they feed, it’s time to try holding the feeder. Make sure to hold the feeder in your hand close to the original location. Hummingbirds remember locations as much as the feeder itself. Be very still and a hummingbird may stop by for a sip after a while. They may even use your finger as a perch!


In addition to following the steps above, there are plenty of things you can do to make your handheld feeder more attractive to hummingbirds. Here are a few suggestions:

  • WEAR RED– As hummingbird lovers know, these beauties love bright colors. Try wearing red or even floral patterns to attract them to you. This can be as big as a shirt or hat, or as small as your jewelry or nail polish – anything to catch their eye!
  • STEADY YOUR HAND– Try bracing your hand or arm on a table or other nearby objects that can offer support. Since you may be waiting for a while, this can help prevent your hand from becoming unsteady.
  • REMOVE OTHER FEEDERS– For the best results, remove other feeders in the area so hummingbirds focus their activity on the feeder in your hand rather than the other ones nearby. Reluctant birds will be more likely to give the hand feeder a try if there aren’t alternatives nearby.
  • BE PATIENT– If you strike out on your first attempt at holding the feeder, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost. Try again daily until you succeed. The experience is worth the wait!
  • KEEP IT CLEAN– Just like with any other feeder, it’s important to keep your handheld hummingbird feeder clean. Use a mild soap and water solution to clean it after each use.