Hummingbirds enjoy convenient perches to guard their favorite feeding spots, and what perch could be more convenient than a hummingbird-sized swing? You can easily make a hummingbird swing to accommodate these flying jewels, and with the right design, construction, and details, your swing can help attract even more hummingbirds to your yard.
What You Need
You can make a simple swing for hummingbirds with basic materials you probably already have around the house, or you can opt for special craft items to make a more elaborate or detailed swing. The basic components you need are:
- Perch: A small piece of balsa wood or similar craft wood, a twig or any other fairly straight item will work, even an unsharpened pencil. Avoid plastic materials that won't provide suitable traction for hummingbird feet, and be sure the perch is roughly the same diameter as a pencil for the most comfort for perching hummers.
- Thick Wire: Strong floral or copper wire will form the arch of the swing. The wire's exact gauge does not matter, but it should be strong enough to hold its shape well but thin enough that it can be easily molded into the appropriate form.
- Thin Wire: Thinner, more pliable wire is great for weaving decorative accents onto your swing and will help provide more stability to the swing's structure. Avoid the very thinnest wires that will break easily, but choose a wire that is easy to twist and coil into fun shapes.
- Decorative Accents: Beads, ribbons, small silk flowers, dangling crystals, and other colorful accents are great options for decorating a hummingbird swing. Red and pink hues will be most attractive to hummingbirds, but any colorful or sparkly accent will help catch these birds' notice and attract them to the yard.
In addition to these items, you will also need wire snips or cutters, pliers, and a file or sandpaper to build your swing.
Making a Hummingbird Swing
Once you have gathered all your tools and materials, it's easy to build a swing for hummingbirds.
- Cut the perch to 5-6 inches long. A much shorter perch will not be long enough for hummingbirds to fly onto easily, but a slightly longer perch can still be suitable.
- If the perch material is very slick, use the file or sandpaper to gently scuff the perch's surface. This will provide better traction for hummingbirds' tiny talons to perch safely.
- Cut the thick wire to a length of 18-20 inches. Use the file or sandpaper to dull any sharp edges on the cut ends of the wire.
- Wrap the thick wire around one end of the perch, using the pliers for a good grip and to ensure a sturdy, tight fit. Coil the wire several times around the very end of the perch for security, and use the pliers to pinch the end closed and tight against the perch.
- Bend the thick wire in an arch to the other side of the perch, and repeat the end wrapping to complete the swing's arch. Be sure this second end is also tightly fitting so the perch does not come loose or slide around.
- Use the thinner wire to add loops, coils, and other accents around the swing's arch, stringing decorative beads or crystals along the way. Hummingbirds may also perch on the shoulders of the swing, and these coils will provide traction for them to do so, as well as add stability to the swing's arch. Include a twisted loop at the top of the swing for easy hanging. Do not, however, add any coils or extra material around the full length of the perch.
- After you are satisfied with the swing's design, gently mold and press the wire into its finished shape, removing any warps or bends from the construction. Be sure the top loop is wide enough to hang the swing safely.
Hummingbird Swing Tips
Once you've built your hummingbird swing, it's time to make the most of it and enjoy the hummingbirds that discover this creative and practical perch.
- If the swing is crooked, do not worry. Hummingbirds will still use a quirky, off-center swing as long as the perch is reasonably level, and you can try reshaping the wire to help balance the structure and even out the shape. Adding an extra bead or another accent can also help balance the swing's weight for more even hanging.
- Hang the swing in a sunny, eye-catching spot near a popular feeding area with nectar-rich flowers or suitable hummingbird feeders. It may take hummingbirds a few days to discover the swing, but they will quickly begin using it as a favorite perch.
- Consider making several hummingbird swings for very popular feeding areas, positioning the swings in different locations for different birds to use. This will give many hummingbirds the opportunity to enjoy the swings and will reduce competition between more aggressive hummingbirds.
- Clean the swing often by wiping it down with a damp rag to remove any feces, pollen, nectar, dirt, or other debris. Hummingbirds will wipe their bills on the perch, which can pass bacteria between different birds that use the swing. Keeping it clean will minimize the risk of contaminating multiple birds.
A hummingbird swing is a quick, easy project to make, and as soon as you hang one for hummingbirds to use, they'll quickly take advantage of such a perfect perch.