What is borosilicate glass and why is it a good medium for blown glass Hummingbird feeders?

Borosilicate glass (or “boro”) was first developed by German glassmaker Otto Schott in the 1890s as a glass for industrial uses. With boron trioxide included in the recipe, the glass is more resistant to thermal shock than many other glasses. We like using boro to make our hummingbird feeders because they can then be cleaned with heat; your feeder can be boiled or steamed clean – sterilized! Borosilicate glass is durable, microwave and dishwasher safe, though we do not recommend putting your bird feeder in the microwave or dishwasher.

Borosilicate is used extensively in artistic lampworking. Common items made with boro include pipes and cannabis smoking paraphernalia, goblets, paper weights, pendants, and figurines. Industrial uses for boro include chemical laboratory equipment, cookware, high-quality beverage glassware, lighting, aquarium heaters, guitar slides, certain kinds of windows, implantable medical devices, devices used in space exploration including the insulation tiles on the Space Shuttle, evacuated-tube solar thermal technology, immobilization and disposal of radioactive wastes.

How can I clean this feeder?

Made of heat resistant borosilicate glass, your feeder can be boiled or steamed clean – sterilized! Submerge the glass portion of your feeder in a pot of water arranging it so that boiling bubbles will rise to the bottle’s opening and escape. Or you can lay the glass portion in a pan, unsubmerged, in an inch or so of water. You can even place the glass on your vegetable steamer. Regardless of your mode, place a lid over the pan and bring to a full boil for 10 minutes to completely sterilize the glass. We recommend doing this weekly. If there are stubborn pieces of mold and funk inside the bottle, swish a mixture of vinegar, water, and uncooked rice around inside the bottle to scrape off the grime. Handwash the base parts with a brush using warm soapy water.

Do these feeders ship safely?

Yes. Shipping is no problem. All shipments are delivered double boxed. The first $100 of package value is automatic with USPS Priority or Priority Express Mail; additional insurance is available for package values above $100 at very reasonable rates. Insurance can be purchased for all purchases going USPS Retail Ground. In the unlikely event of damage during shipping, we will file a claim on your behalf and make sure your replacement is delivered safely; we want you to be 100% satisfied with the product and delivery!

What is your return policy?

If for some reason you are not happy with the product, you can return it for credit; no cash refunds. We guarantee the functionality of these feeders.

Can this feeder be repaired if it breaks? 

Well, that depends on where and how the feeder is cracked. If any of the areas highlighted in yellow crack or break, there is a good chance the feeder can be reworked in the flame and repaired. If the container portion (highlighted in red) of the feeder cracks or breaks, it cannot be repaired.

Will my feeder look exactly like the one I ordered from the website?

All of our feeders made by hand. Each one is a unique, one-of-kind creation. Certain elements will be consistent with images portrayed on the site, and certain elements will vary. For example, if you ordered a HBF0000HBF-FT-2010 Cobalt Ladybug, the website image is:

(Cobalt FT Ladybug)

If purchased, you would receive a cobalt and clear feeder in the same shape as shown; cobalt on the top and clear glass on the bottom. There will be a ladybug with stems, leaves, and a flower. However, the placement of the ladybug might be different, like this:

The placement and color of the leaves, stems, and flower might be different, such as: ..

The bead on the cable hanger will most likely be different; perhaps blue instead of green:

Some of the other decorative elements could be different; instead of decorative dots at the bulge…

…your feeder may have decorative elements further down the clear neck like this:

…or like this:

We want you to be 100% satisfied with the feeder. So if there are certain aspects, placements, colors, or ideas that you absolutely must have, that must match the pictures from the website, please make a note those non-negotiables when placing the order and be prepared to allow us the time to make the glass. Allow 2 to 4 weeks for these special deliveries.

How much do these feeders hold?

These feeders hold about 1 cup of nectar. Here at our place in Eugene, Oregon, during the height of the season – May, June, and into early July – the birds drain our entire feeder in a day, which is fine with us; filling the feeder daily helps with keeping the nectar fresh. In the winter (the Annas are the single specie that does not migrate from our area), they might only consume several ounces in a week.

Do these feeders leak or drip?

Absolutely not! These feeders are guaranteed not to leak or drip. In fact, this feature was the central idea when launching of our company. After earning to blow glass to make hummingbird feeders, after thousands of pieces were sold into the market, all of which were functional but messy, and after fielding scores of calls from disappointed customers, we decided to figure it out. The plastic widget housed in the base is a proprietary element we designed, modified and refined after a decade of production and use.

Will the birds perch while feeding, or will they hover?

Yes…they will do both. Oftentimes an individual bird will hover for a moment while feeding, and then settle down to feed while perching. Sometimes the birds will sit at the feeder and not feed at all – just to rest and hang out.

What is a good nectar recipe?

Four parts water to one-part regular, refined table sugar. The resulting liquid will be a 20% sugar solution, matching closely the +-20% sucrose content of nectar found in flowers. Boil the water to make your mixture as opposed to loading and heating the entire batch in the microwave. Don’t use honey or brown sugar or any dyes. A clear solution will work just fine as there is enough color in the glass and base to attract the birds.

Where is the best place to hang this feeder?

Place your feeder in the shade. Insect pollinators tend to do their work in direct sunlight, and hummingbirds prefer the shade. Shaded areas will also keep the nectar from getting hotter than the ambient temperature, a situation which might lead to a leaky feeder.

What is a Murrini

Murrinis are decorative elements that can be added to all sorts of artistic glass, whether that be functional works like vases and goblets, or purely decorative objects such as paperweights. Murrinis can also be stand-alone works of art themselves. The technique itself goes back almost 5000 years, used by Syrian, Egyptian and Roman glass workers. The Venetian artists of Murano have used murrinis in their work for the last 500 years, referring to their applications as “Millefiori,” translated from Italian literally as “a thousand flowers.” Yes, there are examples of Venetian glass with 1000 flower murrinis included. We put murrinis inside clear marbles and attach them as a decorative element to some of our feeders. The marbles have a magnifying effect on the interior art. Here are some examples of the murrinis we use:

Is there any way to keep the bees from raiding the nectar?

Honey bees will only raid nectar if they can fit through the feeding portals, or if the nectar is close enough to the portal that they can reach it. The feeding ports on our feeders are small enough to keep the bees out, and the surface of the nectar puddle is far enough away from the port that the bees cannot reach it. These feeders are honey bee proof. HOWEVER…we have seen yellow jackets and other stingy yellow “beeish” looking insects raid our feeders in the height of summer, say, July and August. Here in Eugene, Oregon that is when the weather gets very hot and dry, the insects get very aggressive and squeeze their way past the portal into the nectar. We’ve added a fix – a modification to the base cowling involving metal flowers affixed to the portals, making the openings smaller, keeping everything but hummingbirds out.

How do you keep ants away?

You can keep ants out of your feeder by using a sticky, non-drying formula, such as petroleum jelly, on the cable that suspends your feeder. Smear a barrier of an inch or two along the hanger. As long as the ants cannot cross the sticky barrier your feeder will stay ant free. Nursery suppliers sell specific products for this problem, but Vaseline will do the trick.