If you want to know how to attract hummingbirds to your yard, year after year, follow these proven garden tips and feeding suggestions.
7 Tips to Create a Hummingbird-Friendly Yard
You might believe that it takes a lot of work on your part to attract hummingbirds to your yard. That could be further from the truth.
In fact, with just a few additions to your already thriving garden, you’ll find that it’s very easy to draw them in with very little effort on your part.
Best of all, when you create a hummingbird-friendly environment, you are also encouraging even more birds AND butterflies AND honey bees to your yard.
Ready to get started?
Here are my favorite tried and true ways how to encourage hummingbirds to come to your garden, year after year.
1. Include Hummingbird-Friendly Plants
Hummingbirds are drawn to basically the same plants and foodstuff as the butterflies and bees—which means for gardeners—more bang for your buck, so to speak.
Begin by planting nectar-rich plants like Beebalm, Honeysuckle, Trumpet vine, Cardinal flower, Common Sage, Lupine, Columbine, Morning Glories, and Rhododendron, just to name a few.
Remember that planting native plants is better than hybrid ones, simply because this is what your local hummingbirds are naturally attracted to.
You’ll want to group your plants together in sections of your garden plot to be pleasing esthetically but also great for encouraging hummingbirds to nosh longer. It’s usually best to plant in odd lots, meaning in 3’s, 5’s, 7’s or 9’s.
2. Avoid Chemicals
Herbicides and pesticides are a no-no for promoting a healthy hummingbird garden.
Try to use good organic practices whenever possible and avoid chemical applications, as these can be detrimental not only to the hummingbird population but also bees and butterflies.
3. Give Hummingbirds a Place to Roost
Hummingbirds don’t rest often, but when they do, they need a place to make their nests and take a rest for a little bit. So if you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, be sure to offer them ample perches.
Choose shrubs and trees that offer cover from other prey, as well as protection from weather. Thick undercover will go a long way to promoting a healthy habitat for hummingbirds of all ages.
Some favorite trees and shrubs that are best for hummingbirds are oak, birch, poplar and hornbeam.
4. Provide a Water Source
Even though you might provide a feeder filled with sugar nectar, hummingbirds, like butterflies and bees, still need a source for fresh water.
If you can, opt for a fountain that gently dribbles water out for instant hummingbird satisfaction.
5. Give Them Sugar Nectar
Hummingbirds eat all day long. They eat half of their body weight with a mix of nectar and bugs just to keep alive.
However, hummingbirds differ from butterflies and bees in that they are not usually satisfied with just beautiful nectar-rich flowers. They also crave homemade hummingbird food that is made simply with water and sugar.
***Start with this recipe to make your own Homemade Hummingbird Nectar.***
What to do if sugar water gets moldy?
Should you find mold anywhere on or in the hummingbird feeder container, you’ll need to wash it thoroughly with hot water and dish detergent. You can also use a 1:10 ratio (bleach to water) solution to follow as a rinse and rinse it once again with cool tap water. Then, you’re good to go.
Is red hummingbird food bad for them?
Red dye #40 has not been proven to be bad for hummingbirds. However, the real question is should you add any dye to your hummingbird food? The answer is: No. In reality, nectar found in plants is colorless, and besides, hummingbirds have a great sense of smell when it comes to knowing where nectar is, so all you have to do is provide fresh, clean nectar sans coloring.
How often should you change hummingbird food in summer?
When the weather is cooler, you should change the nectar every couple of days, but once the temps start climbing into the 70’s+ every day or when the feeder becomes empty, whichever comes sooner.
6. Offer Fresh Fruit
But you don’t have to limit yourself to just nectar water when feeding your hummingbirds. You can also attract hummingbirds with fresh fruit.
Try hanging an open plate feeder with fresh bananas, cut peaches, plums etc. This will not only attract hummingbirds but fruit flies, which are a treat and a great source of protein for hummingbirds of all ages.
Be sure to clean your hummingbird feeders (nectar-filled or fruit plates) before refilling. This will ensure that no bacteria will contaminate the new liquid.
7. Choose the Best Outdoor Feeders
Remember that hummingbirds are migratory birds, so you’ll only need to feed them from late spring to fall. This is true for those folks living in the midwest and most northern states. Other climes like California and Arizona can play host to hummingbirds also during the winter.
Regardless of where you live, if you really want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, you’ll definitely want to have one (or more) hummingbird feeders in your outdoor garden.
Be sure to choose one that can be easily cleaned and disenfected. This is because foodstuff like nectar and fruit can become overrun with bacteria and mold that can infect (and even kill) hummingbirds.
You will also want to make note of the following for best results:
•To encourage friendly eating habits, you will want to hang your feeders with enough distance to keep the “bullies” at bay. Hummingbirds are aggressive eaters and some of them are more voracious than others.
•Your feeder should be at least five feet off the ground and for multiple feeders space them at least 10 feet minimally between each.
•You might also want to consider placing your feeders close to cover, too, to help hummingbirds avoid predators.
Thus, with proper care and diligence, you’ll find that these feeders will become a source of great activity with your favorite feathered friends.
Here are the most common styles of outdoor hummingbird feeders:
More Interesting Hummingbird FAQ’s
Is it okay feeding hummingbirds by hand?
It’s possible to feed a hummingbird by hand. You just have to be patient. Check out these 5 Steps to Feeding Hummingbirds by Hand.
Can a hummingbird hurt you?
The answer is: Yes! Besides being territorial, hummingbirds can get aggressive, as mentioned above. They do this to ensure getting the best food source to keep their metabolism going. Even so, humans are many times larger than hummingbirds, so most likely they’ll stay far away from you if you respect them.
Do hummingbirds die when they stop flying?
This is just a myth. In fact, hummingbirds do rest at night (sometimes upside down), which is called Torpor. Basically, their heart and body temperatures drop very low to conserve energy. When they wake up, it’s like they’ve been hibernating. Then, it’s up-and-at-em for them to find more sources of insects and nectar.
What are hummingbirds afraid of?
Bees, wasps and ants might ward off hummingbirds, but hummingbirds are fairly aggressive themselves, so really, they’re not afraid of much.
Why do hummingbirds stop coming to feeders?
The real culprits for why hummingbirds fail to come to your feeder are possibly changing or unhealthy habitats, seasonal anomalies and spoiled food sources (think dirty hummingbird feeders). These can and do contribute to hummingbird decline in certain areas.
What insects do hummingbirds eat?
Insects are not only a great source of energy for hummingbirds besides nectar, but also keep their muscles and other internal organs working at their peak. In fact, these frenetic flyers need to eat insects like ants, beetles, mosquitoes, spiders and wasps (and more) on a daily basis.
Hope this information gets you inspired to host your very own hummingbirds this summer. Enjoy!
For more information on gardening for a variety birds, butterflies and hummingbirds, be sure to check out Wisconsin Homemaker’s Garden Section.