How To Attract Hummingbirds [15 Tips.. That Actually Work!]

how to attract hummingbirds

Hummingbirds are such delightful little birds that it’s no wonder that more and more people want to attract them into their yard. You could sit and watch their antics for hours, but, how do you attract them into your garden?

There are plenty of ways to attract hummingbirds. Obviously, having one or more hummingbird feeders is essential but there are plenty of other things that you can do to ensure that these tiny hummers visit you every year.

Here are 15 tips that you can use to attract hummingbirds into your yard.

1. Add Some Red Decorations

Did you know that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red? They have exceptional vision and they’re very partial to red and yellow colors. So, if you want to attract some little hummers, you should add some red decorations around your yard.

You could tie a bright red ribbon around the trunk of a tree, hang some red wind chimes from your verandah or put your favorite flowers in a red pot. Make sure that some of the flowers are red too.

All these splashes of color will attract the eye of the hummingbird as it’s flying overhead and its curiosity will most likely have it swooping down to see the source of the color.

Note: You can also add orange or yellow splashes of color as hummingbirds like these as well.

2. Put Up One Or Two Hummingbird Feeders

It goes without saying, that if you want to attract hummingbirds and keep them coming back, you need to have some lovely nectar for them to feed on while they’re visiting.

And, the good thing is, that most hummingbird feeders are also red and yellow. When filling your feeder with nectar, you can either use the commercially available ready-made mix or you can make your own.

To make your own just mix 4 parts of hot water (boiled) with 1 part sugar. Stir well to ensure that all the sugar is dissolved. Then, let it cool to room temperature before filling your feeder. This mixture should last for about a week if you store it in your refrigerator.

3. Make Sure You Keep Your Hummingbird Feeders Clean

Dirty feeders and nectar that’s gone bad can be harmful to the little birds, so make sure that you change the nectar often and give the feeders a good clean. The best time to do this is in the evening while the hummers are asleep.

The mixture should be changed at least every three to four days or more regularly if the weather is hot. If you notice that the mixture has gone a little cloudy, it’s a good indication that it needs changing.

When you clean your feeders, use a mixture of white vinegar and water rather than dish soap as the soap can leave some residue in the feeders. Make sure you scrub the little feeder holes too as mold can grow on these.

4. Place Feeders Where Hummingbirds Can Easily Find Them

There’s no point having feeders out if the little hummers can’t find them easily. You want to ensure that your feeders are easy to spot from above as the birds are flying overhead.

Having them on a pole in the middle of your lawn is ideal. Since most hummingbird feeders are red or have some red embellishments, these should be easy to spot as the hummers fly above your garden.

Once a hummingbird has found your feeder and knows that’s there’s always fresh nectar available, it’s bound to hang around and this might even attract one or two nesting females. Quite often the female hummingbirds will come back to nest in the same area year after year.

5. Paint Your Feeders With Nail Polish

If your feeders have become a little faded from being out in the sunlight every day, you can give them a new lease of life by painting them with bright red nail polish. Make sure you wash the feeders well first and then dry them so the nail polish will adhere properly.

Once you’ve painted each feeder, let the polish dry completely before refilling the feeders and putting them back outside. Not only will they be much brighter but the gloss will shine in the sunlight and attract more hummingbirds.

6. Plant Lots Of Nectar-Containing Flowers

Apart from the nectar that you put in your feeders, hummingbirds also love to consume the nectar that’s abundant in many different flowers. Therefore, if you have a gorgeous flower garden that’s always in bloom, you’re bound to have a lot of hummingbirds visiting your garden.

Make sure that some of your flowers are red, orange and yellow in color. Also select tubular varieties as these are likely to contain more nectar and are easy for the little birds to feed from.

Some common varieties include:

Common Flower Varieties
  • Honeysuckle
  • Trumpet creeper
  • Daylilies
  • Columbine
  • Red Lobelia
  • Penstemon
  • Bee Balm
  • Hibiscus
  • Peony
  • Coral Bells
  • Garden Phlox
  • Oriental Poppy
  • Fuchsia
  • Red Hot Poker

When selecting the variety of flowers that you want to grow, make sure that you choose different varieties that will bloom at different times. This ensures that you’ll always have nectar-rich flowers in your garden that the hummingbirds will love.

7. Remember To Deadhead Your Flowers For Continuous Blooms

To get a continuous display of blooms, you should deadhead your flowers as soon as they’ve finished showing all their glory. Cutting off the spent blooms will encourage the plant to produce many more because the flowers weren’t allow to go to seed.

You see, the plant’s ultimate purpose is to reproduce so the life cycle goes from seed to producing more seeds for the following crop. When you interrupt this cycle, the plant will continue to produce more flowers in an effort to finally reproduce.

8. Create Some Handy Perches For The Hummingbirds

As you know hummingbirds perch rather than land on something solid. That’s because their feet aren’t designed for walking but they’re perfectly structured for perching on small branches.

In between feeds, hummingbirds like to perch on the edge of a long, thin branch to oversee their territory and have a little break from beating their wings continuously.

Ideally, a suitable perch should be around ten to fifty feet away from your feeders. This allows the hummingbirds to have a little rest before diving down to the feeder again for some more delicious nectar.

Obviously a nearby tree or shrub would be ideal but you can also make supplemental perches by stringing some clothes line between two trees or even between two poles that you’ve stuck in the ground. Just make sure that the perches are high enough for the hummers to feel safe.

Some people also like to make a snag perch which is a dead branch stuck into the ground and which stands vertically.

9. Encourage Hummingbirds To Nest In Your Yard

A good way to encourage hummingbirds to nest in your yard is to have small deciduous trees or tall, dense shrubs. Make sure that you keep the shrubs well pruned to encourage lots of dense growth. Hummingbirds like to hide their tiny nests away among the shrubbery to keep them away from predators.

You could also ensure that there are plenty of nesting materials available in your yard such as twigs, leaves, animal fur and spider webs.

10. Attract Beneficial Insects To Your Yard

Although you know that hummingbirds love to feast on sweet nectar, did you know that the little birds also like to eat insects? Insects provide the hummers with the protein that they need to retain their strength throughout the day. Mother hummingbirds also feed their young primarily on insects to help them grow quickly.

Therefore, avoid using pesticides in your garden and let nature take care of any unwanted bugs for you. Plant lots of insect attracting flowers and even vegetables and fruit. The little hummingbirds will provide natural pest control so that the problematic insects don’t get out of hand.

11. Don’t Clear Away Spider Webs

Spider webs are particularly attractive to hummingbirds. Not only do the sticky webs capture lots of tiny insects but the spiders can make a tasty treat too. In addition, female hummingbirds use the webs when building their nests to strengthen them.

So, next time you see a spider web in your garden, leave it there. The hummingbirds will thank your for it.

12. Install A Shallow Birdbath

As well as nectar, hummingbirds also drink water. Plus, they love to splash and bathe in it. But, traditional bird baths are too deep for the little hummers. Instead, consider installing either a very shallow bird bath or one that has a solar fountain.

If you’re putting in a shallow bird bath, make sure it has a rim that the birds can easily perch on to take a drink or splash themselves with water.

On the other hand, a bird bath that has a solar fountain will encourage the little birds to swoop and fly through the droplet of water. This allows them to clean their beaks and their feathers which often get covered in nectar and pollen from the flowers that they visit.

Hummingbirds also love misters and sprinklers and are especially attracted to splashing water. You can place a mister or sprinkler near a shrub that has large leaves so that the water will form droplets on the leaves. Then watch carefully as the birds swoop down and wet their feathers with the droplets of water.

13. Consider Adding A Small Pond With A Waterfall

Another way to encourage hummingbirds to your yard with water is to put in a small pond with a waterfall at one end. You can recycle the water by using a solar-powered pump that pumps the water from the pond and up over the waterfall. This then flows back into the pond in a complete cycle.

Make sure that you have some large rocks near the waterfall that will get wet with the cascading water. Then, take a seat nearby and watch the hummingbirds bathing themselves on the wet rocks.

14. Have More Than One Feeder To Avoid Competition

As you probably know, hummingbirds can be very territorial little creatures and will often scare other hummers away from their feeders. The males can be extremely aggressive when they’re protecting their food source.

To eliminate squabbles and to have many hummers visiting your garden. Make sure that you have more than one feeder and place each one out of sight of the other.

A single hummingbird can only protect a feeder that he can see and not multiple ones that are out of his eyesight. The ideal situation is to place each feeder around fifteen feet away from the other.

15. Make Sure You Place Your Feeders In The Same Spot Every Year

Hummingbirds have quite large brains for the size of their body and they can, indeed, remember where your feeders were located the previous year. Therefore, they’ll come back to the same spot to see whether their previous food source is still there.

So, you should make sure that you place your feeders in the same spot year after year. This way, you might have the same little hummers coming to visit for a number of years.

Final Thoughts

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden is quite easy when your know how. To help you out, we’ve included 15 top tips of things that you can do to attract these little beauties year after year.

Make sure you have proper hummingbirds feeders, plenty of nectar-rich flowers and a suitable water source like a shallow bird bath or even a pond with a waterfall.

Also remember not to use pesticides and leave those spider webs alone for the hummingbirds to find. If you have any other suggestions of things that you’ve done to attract hummers to your yard, we’d love to hear them. Feel free to post your suggestions in the comments below.

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