How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard: 10 Tips & 3 Things to Avoid
Hummingbirds are birds native to the Americas and comprise the biological family Trochilidae. While you may think of hummingbirds as tiny but beautiful flying jewels, did you know that there are more than 300 species of hummingbirds spread throughout all tropical and subtropical areas of Central and South America.
These stunning little birds have been attracting an increasing number of birdwatchers from all over the world who flock to see them during their mating season. Although hummingbirds are not picky eaters, they have different preferences when it comes to what they like to eat.
This is because hummingbirds are actually classified as omnivores, which means that their diet consists of both plants and insects. In fact, there are more than 300 different species of hummingbird and some of them consume twice their weight in nectar each day. For instance, male Anna’s Hummingbirds can weigh as little as 0.7 grams while consuming half a gram of nectar per day!
Keep reading for interesting and proven tips to attract these tiny and lovely hummingbirds into your yard and also things to avoid!
i. Add bright red ribbon to your backyard
Hummingbirds have beautiful, flashy, and colorful plumage. The smelling sense of these birds is not very good, so they depend on their vision for finding food and a mate. Thus, the birds can be attracted by using colors.
You can mimic nature by adding bright colors in your garden, which attract hummingbirds. Due to the structure of their eyes, hummingbirds like red to a yellow range of colors. You can tie a red or orange ribbon is a pole or tree to catch the eyes of hummingbirds.
Try to tie the ribbon near the feeder or flowers. You can use surveyors tape for this purpose because the tapes have a variety of bright colors, are durable, and are easily available. Tying the ribbon to a pole like a fence will attract hummingbirds in your garden.
When the birds see the bright colors and whimsical movement while flying, they lure you to take a closer look and find your feeders placed in the flowering garden. Finding feeders and flowers will give them a perfect reason for staying in your yard.
ii. Tempt with homemade nectar
Surprisingly, the metabolism rate of hummingbirds is very high but still, they require food every 15 minutes to fuel their body. Hummingbirds need nectar feeders as they are nice and also very critical for their survival.
You can also purchase suitable nectar, but it is very easy to make a nectar solution at home. Homemade nectar is healthier than the purchased nectars that contain red dye. The birds do not need red dye, and it is still controversial whether either the dye is harmful or not.
You can simply make the nectar by adding four parts of hot water and one part of sugar. Regularly stir the mixture until the sugar is completely dissolved. Cooldown the nectar to room temperature.
Don’t add any extra additives such as sweeteners or honey in the nectar. The sugar is completely dissolved in hot water but you should use boiled water to make the nectar long-lasting if you store it in the fridge.
iii. Install a perching spot
If you beat your wings at the rate of 80 beats per second, you will also need a break. Perching is liked by all hummingbirds, especially by males so that they can take a break and also survey their territory. The birds find perching sites when they are not feeding for taking rest and preening.
The perching spots should be in the open and obvious for territorial birds. While others find perching spots in protected areas that are buffered from any cooler overnight temperatures. The best location for placing your feeder is near trees and shrubs, which provide them a perching spot and also a natural food source.
You can make supplemental perches by adding branches or small twigs to a brush pile. A stringing clothesline or slender pole, thin vines, trellises, wires, and multiple shrubberies can also be used for this task. Accessories like miniature swings are also used to make instant perches by some people.
A hummingbird snag can also be created by sticking a dead branch into the ground vertically. The snag should be placed about 50 feet from the feeder, but it can be viewed so that you can observe that if hummingbirds are using the perch for resting and taking a break.
iv. Add hummingbird specific feeders
The metabolism of hummingbirds is one of the fastest among all birds. They get quick energy from the nectar made of sugar and water and fuel them to search insects and flowers for feeding. Hummingbirds can be easily attracted by the nectar feeders and the way is one of the most common methods for this task.
You can find the nectar feeders in the market in a wide range such as glass bulbs, inverted tubes, and saucer dishes. Some additional features are also installed in some feeders such as wasp, hornet, and ant guards that help the birds.
Prefer a red-colored feeder because it will attract the hummingbirds towards it. A perfect hummingbird feeder should have the ability to clean it. You should clean the feeder regularly for avoiding bacterial, fungal, and other harmful infections and infectious organisms.
v. Encourage nesting in your yard
Often hummingbirds build their nests near nectar sources and other food sources. You can encourage these birds to make a nest in your garden by providing them with various options. Usually, small deciduous trees or dense shrubs are preferred by hummingbirds to build nests and for raising their family.
Often, the birds use delicate materials such as lichens and spider webs to build their nests and prefer small horizontal surfaces to make a nest. But you cannot use a birdhouse to attract hummingbirds in your yard because unlike other birds, they don’t prefer a birdhouse or nesting box.
The nest of a hummingbird is cup-shaped and usually, it is built in trees or shrubs. They also use wires, clotheslines, and poles to make the nest.
So, you can provide them with safe and deciduous plants in your yard to attract them to make a nest in your garden. You can also help them by providing nesting materials such as cotton, animal fur, and other materials.
vi. Nurture beneficial insects in the yard
Most persons know the birds for their sweet tooth or tongue but they also eat a large number of insects such as spiders. They get most of the protein from insects, which is critical for their survival. During nesting season, the young hummingbirds require protein for their proper growth.
So, if you are trying to attract the birds in your yard, avoid the use of pesticides and insecticides and provide them a food source. You should also add some attractive flowering plants in your garden that provide nectar.
Spiders are very useful for attracting hummingbirds because they make cobwebs that act as a natural trap for other insects, which provide a food source for hummingbirds. Spiders also provide them with essential protein. You can also consider making a natural fruit fly trap by hiding rotting banana peels in your garden.
vii. The location of the feeder is the key
The location of the feeder is a very important factor in attracting hummingbirds. Like other birds, hummingbirds also prefer the location. Experienced birders know that if they move the feeder only a few feet, it can drastically affect the popularity of the feeder among hummingbirds.
The eyesight of hummingbirds is very good and helps them to find a food source naturally. But if you help them a little, it will be appreciated. Place your feeder in such a location where hummingbirds visit frequently and use other tips such as tying red ribbons or tapes to attract them towards the feeder.
You can follow some other tips such as keeping the feeder out of direct sunlight, so that the nectar remains cool for a long time, placing it in a shaded place, and filling the feeder regularly with fresh food.
The feeder should be hung in a high place where it cannot be destroyed by any pet or predatory animal, also place it away from windows to protect your feeder from collisions. The hummingbird feeder should be placed away from other feeding stations because hummingbirds do not like to feed around other larger birds.
You can also hang their feeders close to windows so that you get more opportunities to enjoy these small, fascinating feathered creatures.
viii. Create a ‘hummingbird waterfall’
Hummingbirds also love to bathe but they cannot be seen bathing in a traditional birdbath. Generally, a moving water source or much shallower source is preferred by hummingbirds, so that they can sprinkle their delicate feathers.
Birders use various water sources such as sprinklers, fountains, waterfalls, misters, and drippers to provide them with a unique and moving bird bath for bathing and preening. Hummingbirds especially like misters so you can use pebbles or stones to create shallow areas where hummingbirds can perch.
It is essential to keep the water sources clean to ensure the health of the birds. You can place the birdbath near flowers, which attract more birds to your yard.
ix. Lure hummingbirds with the right plants
Just for their survival, hummingbirds require food every 10 to 15 seconds only to maintain their metabolic rate. This means the birds have to visit around 1000 to 2000 flowers per day to accomplish their need.
So, if you want hummingbirds in your garden, you should add a lot of flowering plants, vines, shrubs, and trees to your yard. You can plant bee balm, honeysuckle, cardinal flower, sage, and Mandeville in your garden to attract these birds in your yard.
You can find the list of flowering plants suitable for your region online and also you can utilize local resources. The birds get more nectar from native plants as compared to hybrid and exotic species, which is also healthier.
While choosing species, make sure that the plants have different blooming periods so that they always get a regular supply of flowers for nectar. You can also encourage your neighbors to develop a hummingbird-friendly garden and grow plants in hanging baskets.
x. Keep your feeders clean inside and outside
Birds get attracted easily towards fresh nectar because if the nectar is left out for a long time, it started to become sour. You should fill your feeder regularly with fresh nectar and change it every 3-4 days.
During the summer or humid season, change the water more frequently. Regularly clean your feeder which helps to keep away the debris, fungus, bees, and ants from the feeder. The feeder should be deep cleaned once a month.
While cleaning use a weak vinegar solution and soak the feeder in it. Rinse the feeder very well before refilling it with sugar nectar. Cleaned feeders appear more attractive and sparkle and hungry hummingbirds get attracted towards it.
This also helps in avoiding various infections and other organisms such as bees and ants away from the feeder.
3 Things to Avoid
Adding appealing elements to your yard isn’t the only thing you can do to attract Hummingbirds to your yard. There are also a few things you can avoid to make your property safer, ensuring many return visits by your Hummingbirds friends.
i. Don’t fill your garden with artificial trees
While it’s tempting to fill your backyard with an artificial trees, don’t do it. Real trees and shrubs can provide food and shelter for Hummingbirds as well as other birds. If you want to plant something that looks like a tree, consider getting a live (not plastic) one; they might cost more but they also attract more birds in need of some place to perch.
The same is true for your garden. Plant real plants instead of fake ones—and make sure they get plenty of water so birds can sip from them and shelter among their leaves.
ii. Don’t use pesticides
Any kind of chemical pesticide can hurt Hummingbirds and other birds, even if you’re not spraying it on them. Pesticides linger in soil and other areas where they can be picked up by insects that are eaten by birds.
On top of being unhealthy for birds, many kinds of pesticides are also bad for humans and pets. Instead of using pesticides to keep your garden bug-free, try planting organic fruits and vegetables or using some biodegradable bug spray instead.
iii. Don’t let feeders get empty
Hummingbirds often flock to feeders in search of a tasty meal, but if you leave them empty, they will go elsewhere. If you have time during winter, or if you have a heated birdbath or wading pool nearby, make sure to keep these items full as well— Hummingbirds need their water just as much as they need food.
Remember that a quality nectar is crucial for Hummingbirds; if you choose to purchase your nectar from an online retailer instead of at your local hardware store, look for one with good quality.