During your search for information on how to attract hummingbirds, you’re bound to come across thousands of pieces of advice that range from obvious suggestions to pretty out-there techniques. To simplify things, we’ve boiled down all of this advice to the 7 best ways to attract hummingbirds.
Before we get to how to bring hummingbirds to your yard, let’s go over why you want them there in the first place.
Sure, they’re beautiful birds and fun to watch, but they serve even more essential functions! Hummingbirds provide the vital service of pollination. In fact, several varieties of trees, plants, and flowers would not survive if it weren’t for being pollinated by hummingbirds.
Now, here’s how to turn your yard into a haven for these critically important animals.
Tip #1: Hang a Hummingbird Feeder
The number one way to attract hummingbirds is by hanging a hummingbird feeder that’s well-stocked with nectar. This mix of sucrose and water is their primary food source, along with the nectar they get from plants.
To make your own hummingbird food, combine 4 parts water with 1 part sugar, and mix until the sugar dissolves.
There are so many different hummingbird feeders to choose from — you can take a look at some of your options here.
Tip #2: Keep Your Hummingbird Feeders Clean and Well-Stocked
The nectar in your feeder should be changed at least every 3-4 days, and even more often during hot weather. Once it starts to get moldy, this can be dangerous for the birds.
Hummingbirds love a reliable food source, so if your feeder is consistently well-stocked, they’re more likely to return. A hummingbird’s tongue works like a small pump that quickly pulls in nectar. As tiny as these creatures are, you’ll be surprised at how quickly they can go through nectar.
Tip #3: Keep Hummingbird Feeders Free of Bees, Wasps, and Ants
We all know how much bees, wasps, and ants love anything sweet and sticky. That makes hummingbird feeders stocked with nectar a prime location for them to hang out. But luckily, bee, wasp, and ant-proof feeders exist so you won’t have this problem. Take a look at this feeder, for example, that has a moat to stop ants in their tracks.
Tip #4: Space Out Your Feeders
If you’ve spent time watching hummingbirds, you know just how territorial they can be. Dominant hummingbirds are often spotted confronting and charging “intruders” to keep them away from the feeder, flowers, or plants where they eat.
It’s important to space out feeders to minimize bullying behavior from hummingbirds. Ideally, one feeder won’t be visible from another so the hummingbirds won’t feel threatened by nearby birds. When hummingbirds have less competition for food, they’re more likely to return to this spot for regular feeding.
Hummingbirds also like when there’s a place to rest near where they eat. Their preferred sites for doing so are shaded areas like bushes and shrubs. If you can hang your feeders near rest areas, they’re more likely to return.
Tip #5: Utilize the Color Red
Hummingbirds love the color red. But adding red dye to their nectar is not the best way to utilize their favorite color — in fact, this is actually discouraged! Instead, use a red feeder and plant plenty of red flowers and plants that attract hummingbirds.
Not only do hummingbirds have a heightened sensitivity to shades of red, but they also associate this color with abundant food sources – that’s because there are so many red plants and flowers with an ample supply of nectar for them to eat. It didn’t take long for hummingbirds to make this connection!
Tip #6: Plant Flowers and Plants that Attract Hummingbirds
Now that we know hummingbirds are attracted to red plants and flowers let’s get specific about which seeds you should be planting for the best results. Not all of them are red, but if you have these plants and flowers in your garden, it’s sure to become a hummingbird oasis right before your eyes.
Flowers that Attract Hummingbirds:
- Trumpet vine: These are so beloved by hummingbirds that they’re also referred to as “hummingbird vine.” It tends to take between 1 and 2 years before you’ll see the bright blooms from trumpet vines — but they do grow quickly, and often up to 40 feet high.
- Bee balm: Bee balms are also referred to as bergamot, horsemint, and monarda. They usually bloom between July and September and can grow to be between 3 and 4 feet tall.
- Red cardinal flowers: Conveniently, this flower is native to 48 of the United States as well as much of eastern Canada. Red cardinals like some shade and moisture, and they tend to bloom in mid to late summer.
- Lupine: There are so many different colors and variations of this flower, so there’s an option that will suit every garden. They have a perennial life cycle and typically bloom between May and July.
When you plant flowers for hummingbirds, remember to do your research about which species are native to your area. Not only will these plants have a better chance of surviving in your garden, but other pollinators are drawn to them as well. Spiders and other small insects also like these plants, and these serve as another vital food source for hummingbirds.
There are also several types of plants that attract hummingbirds AND butterflies. If you’d like to make your garden even more lively, try planting lavender, milkweed, butterfly bush, yarrow, and catmint.
Tip #7: Keep Your Feeders Up as Long as Possible
Hanging the feeders as early in the spring as you can and keeping them up into fall is another way to encourage hummingbirds to return to your yard year after year. After a long migration, hummingbirds will appreciate the food source you offer them. And don’t take them down too early either — hummingbirds often don’t migrate until late fall, so keep your feeders up until you’re sure they’re gone.
When you implement any of these tips, it’s also important to remember to be patient. The hummingbirds will arrive, though it may take time. But the good news is, hummingbirds have excellent memories! That means once they come, they’re likely to return year after year if you maintain a great environment for them.
If you choose a bird feeder that not only attracts hummingbirds but is beautiful at the same time, it’s a win-win! Here are some options you won’t want to miss.
Now that you’ve got these 7 top tips for attracting hummingbirds in your back pocket, you’re well on your way to having a hummingbird hotspot right at your feet!