Hummingbirds are small, beautiful, and truly amazing creatures that are a joy to have visit in your backyard garden.
To attract these feathered gems, you need to know what to do to give you the best chances to attract them. Here are some surefire tips to ensure these hovering visitors pay a visit.
1. Use Red Everywhere
Hummingbirds do not have a keen sense of smell so they use their sight, and their favorite color happens to be red.
Consider planting bright red blooms that have a tubular shape. These birds are almost always curious when they see something red.
Go for annuals and perennials that have different blooming periods as well. This ensures that the hummers have a stable supply of flowers between early spring and fall.
There are also some plants that bloom during winter, giving hummingbirds a food supply all year round.
In addition, since hummingbirds look for flowers by sight, consider planting flowers that are scentless. Unwanted visitors like insects find their nectar source by smelling.
Here are a few hummingbird feeders that feature red accents and have worked great for many of our previous customers:
- Small Sphere Hummingbird Feeder with Red Glass Lid
- Hanging Glass Hummingbird Feeder with Red Perch
- Copper Bee & Wasp Proof Feeder.
2. Be Sure to Have Fresh, Clear Nectar in your Feeders
Welcome your flying visitors with fresh clear nectar (i.e. sugar water) in the feeder. Simply mix one-part sugar to four parts of boiling water to make one.
Also, do not use honey or artificial sweetener as this can result in fungal infection. Some people add red dye to it, but that is completely unnecessary and not recommended.
Thoroughly rinse your feeder without soap before refilling it. Also, deep clean it once a month using a mild, diluted bleach or white vinegar and a good hummingbird feeder brush.
Keep the nectar mixture out of the sun to prevent the fermentation process, which results in molds, bacteria, and fungi.
Replace the mixture at least once every three or four days as well, especially in hot weather. And if it begins to look cloudy, make sure you clean your feeder and replace the mixture right away.
3. Don't Use Insecticides or Chemicals Anywhere Near
Hummingbirds do not survive on eating nectar alone. They also feed themselves, including their young, a diet composed of small insects like spider, mosquitoes, and gnats as their source of protein.
Some even eat fruits such as melons or bananas. So, using insecticides can obviously do harm to your visiting hummingbirds.
4. Provide plenty of FRESH water
All living things need water to survive, and running water is a hummingbird’s haven. Consider placing a hummingbird birdbath in your garden to allow the hummers to take a bath. You can also add some sprinklers, which for sure will be enjoyable for them to fly through.
A mister, which is a small-hosed connection for your regular garden hose, is recommended. It produces fine spray or mist into the air.
5. "Deadhead" your Flowers
This may be deemed as an old gardener’s trick, but it sure is an effective one.
Remove old blossoms after they have wilted and get rid of seed heads from blooming plants. This is like tricking plants that their work is not finished yet, so they respond by producing flowers and seed heads.
Hummingbirds always want fresh flowers full of nectar.
6. Send Brightly Colored Signals
Place bright red or orange plastic ribbons, which are sold in hardware stores, to catch the attention of hummingbirds flying by at a distance.
Cut the ribbon into small pieces and tie them around bushes, trees, railings, or anywhere close to flowers or feeders. The bright color will attract the birds and invite them into your yard.
Our favorite way to attract hummers is by using a beautiful set of windchimes like this one.
7. Create Snag Perches
After flapping their wings at a rate of 80 beats per second, it is understandable why hummingbirds need to perch. It gives them time to rest, preen, and hunt.
Typically, male hummingbirds prefer the end of an exposed branch, possibly to give them a point of advantage against predators and potential preys.
You can make your own hummingbird snag by simply sticking a dead branch into the ground so it stands vertically or alternatively use a copper hummingbird swing.
Also, hummingbirds create their double-lined, cup-shaped nests in trees and shrubs to nest. They are not like other birds that utilize birdhouses or nesting boxes.
You can provide some nesting materials for them such as fine cotton, some strings, and animal fur.
8. Keep your Garden Attractive
Hummingbirds are creatures of habit and tend to be loyal to their feeding sites. A hummer that feeds in your garden will likely return the following year.
Experts say hummingbirds have a highly developed sense of spatial memory, allowing them to find their way back to their best feeding spots. So, once you build a rapport with them, you know they will go back for sure.
Two of our favorite items to hang in our hummingbird garden are the beautiful hummingbird suncatchers and the red drip hummingbird feeder.
However, they will not totally depend on your yard. Even if you provide them with enough supply of food and water the entire year, they will still migrate when they are ready. That is their instinct.
9. Keep the Ants Away
Ants are constant pests to hummingbirds and they can cause significant waste of nectar.
Not to mention the fact that they can actually get your hummingbirds very sick.
Ants are attracted to the nectar (i.e. sugar water) and unless you have a good copper ant moat, like the Skinny Ant moat, you'll always have issues and the hummingbirds will stay away.
There are many cheap red plastic ant moat alternatives, however you want to stay away from those as they may contain dangerous BPA and they crack over time, vs copper which is safe and lasts a lifetime.
10. Keep the Bees & Wasps Away
Bees and Wasps are dangerous to hummingbirds and hummers will stay away from any feeders with bees/wasps/yellowjackets around them.
These type feeders are specifically designed with very small nectar access holes that are very hard for bees/wasps to be able to access but still very easy for hummingbirds to access with their small beaks.
If you implement just a few of these helpful tips in your backyard, you'll be sure to get more hummingbirds to visit... Every single year!