How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard
Hummingbirds are fun to watch, help control insect populations, and are excellent pollinators as they visit hundreds – or even more than 1,000 – flowers every day. You do not have to be an avid birdwatcher to enjoy their vibrant plumage or watching them dart around your yard between colorful blooms.
Hummingbirds are like any other wildlife you would like to attract to your yard. If you want to see more of them flitting about your garden, you need to create a welcoming environment with food, water, and shelter that meets their needs. While this is necessary to attract any kind of wildlife, hummingbirds are rather particular, which makes means you need to make more specific choices to meet their preferences.
Use these 11 tips to help you create a hummingbird-friendly backyard.
1. Add a hummingbird feeder to your backyard.
One of the easiest and quickest ways to begin attracting hummingbirds to your yard is to add hummingbird feeders. Make sure it is easy to find and easy to access. Red is a good choice, since red is particularly attractive to hummingbirds and they can easily see it as they are flying by. Keep in mind that hummingbirds do not share well, so you may need to put two or three feeders out so that other birds have a chance to use them as well.
When choosing a location, be sure you are not putting birds in harm’s way. For example, keep them out of areas that are easily accessible by your cats or dogs. If your primary desire is to see them flitting about in the yard, you might consider a feeder that attaches to the window.
2. Keep your hummingbird feeders full with homemade sugar water.
There is no need to purchase commercial nectar for your hummingbird feeder. You can easily make your own sugar water by mixing one part sugar with four parts water, boiling it to remove impurities, allowing it to fully cool off, and then filling your feeder. You do not need to add food coloring. The red color is not necessary, and it is not known whether or not it is actually harmful to the birds.
Make sure that you keep your feeders consistently filled. If hummingbirds know they can rely on finding sugar water in your yard, they will visit more often.
3. Keep your hummingbird feeders clean.
Sugar water can get cloudy and moldy, so keep an eye on this and replace it if you notice it starting to look off. Even if you do not notice your sugar water getting cloudy, you will want to change it at least twice a week.
If you are buying new feeders, look for ones that are easy to clean. This is not absolutely necessary, but it will make your life easier. When you need to clean your feeders, use a vinegar-water mix and avoid using bleach.
4. Keep your hummingbird feeders bright.
Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colors, particularly red, so when your feeder starts to fade, paint it in a bright hue to keep grabbing their attention. If you cannot paint it or just do not have time, you can also tie a bright red or orange ribbon around your feeder or around the pole or branch on which your feeder hangs.
5. Tie red ribbons around trees or shrubs.
If you do not want feeders in your yard or do not want to have to remember to clean them and fill them, you can also attract hummingbirds by tying red, orange, or yellow ribbons around trees and shrubs in your yard. This will help get them to your yard, but you will still need appealing flowers or a water source to keep them coming around.
6. Provide a water source.
Hummingbirds do not like the stagnant water in bird baths, so add a small fountain or mister to help attract hummingbirds looking for a spot to freshen up.
7. Let the hummingbirds handle your spider webs.
If you are tired of clearing the spider webs off of your eaves and fascia, you now have a great excuse to stop doing it. Hummingbirds use spider webs to find protein and to build nests, so you can leave the spider webs alone as part of your plan to attract hummingbirds to your yard.
8. Provide safe, appealing nesting spots.
Aside from leaving spider webs up for hummingbirds to use as nesting materials, you can also encourage backyard nesting by providing safe, sheltered spots for them to build nests. Hummingbirds are not fans of birdhouses, so only include birdhouses in your backyard design if you also want to attract other birds to nest in your yard. To attract hummingbirds, plant small, native trees and shrubs.
9. Add perches they can use as rest stops.
Hummingbird wings beat at nearly 80 beats per second. That is enough to tire anyone out. Provide spots for hummingbirds to take a breather by adding perches around your yard. If you have branchy trees or shrubs, you may not need to add extra perches, but, if you need more, you can always add trellises or even a clothesline for additional perching space.
10. Allow beneficial insects to flourish in your yard.
Stop using pesticides, leave spiders alone, and plant native plants that are appealing to pollinators to bring them to your yard. All of this will help foster insect populations to provide necessary food to hummingbirds, which are heavy feeders.
11. Plant colorful, native species in your garden.
Native plants thrive with little maintenance, have lower water requirements, and support beneficial insects. When you choose native plants with brightly colored blooms, they can also serve the purpose of attracting hummingbirds to your yard.
Plants with tubular flowers that produce a lot of nectar are best. Red, orange, or yellow flowers are also a good idea. Additionally, consider planting a mixture of early and late bloomers to keep attracting hummingbirds throughout the year.
Some plants to consider include cardinal flower, bee balm, scarlet sage, hummingbird sage, honeysuckle, and Gregg sage.