There are quite a few things you’ll want to consider when first learning how to attract hummingbirds to your home. When will they be arriving? What kinds of plant life do they prefer? The questions aren’t endless, and the answers are easy.
What are the migratory habits for hummingbirds in my region? In Florida they can show up as early as January, however, in the Northern Great Lakes region you may not see your first hummingbird until May.
It’s important to know when to expect them so you can have your feeder and floral displays ready for their arrival. Put your feeder out at least 5 to 10 days before you expect your hummingbirds to arrive.
Remember, it’s okay to be a little early. You want the hummingbirds to notice your feeder on their way into town and stop for a drink. With any luck your new little visitor will enjoy your home and become a regular guest.
Flowers and Plant Life
What kinds of flowers do hummingbirds like? They tend to prefer those that are tubular and brightly colored. Hummingbirds don’t have the greatest sense of smell, so they rely on their vision to find food.
Nature provides them nectar rich flowers that are vibrant with colors like red, purple, and orange to make it easy for them to find food. Some favorites of the hummingbird include begonias, cannas, columbines, daylilies, gladiolas, morning glories, nasturtiums and petunias.
Check with your local nursery to find out what will grow best in your area.
It’s important to spread your flowers and plants out so that your hummingbirds can fly and soar between them. They also like to have a place to perch with a wide open view for keeping a lookout.
Vines are a great addition to provide some hiding spots for these sweet little birds. A favorite is the red sweet potato vine.
How do I get the hummingbirds to notice my feeder? The answer to this one is simple. Red, Red, and more Red! The best thing you can do for yourself when considering how to attract hummingbirds to your feeder is adding lots of red.
Most feeders nowadays come with a portion of them colored red, but it doesn’t hurt to add a little extra. Ribbon tends to work best for this. It swirls and twists alluringly in gentle summer breezes. A thick, bright, red ribbon tied into a beautiful bow atop any feeder is sure to attract lots of hummingbirds.
Once you’ve gotten a hummingbird to notice your feeder you may see fewer other hummers. That’s because male hummingbirds are territorial. If you want more to visit, you can add more feeders to your yard.
Try placing them outside of windows all around your house for more to see them. It’s a good idea to try and keep them out of view of each other. Territorial males have been known to chase other hummingbirds away from a feeder they consider to be theirs.
They will charge at any hummer they consider to be an intruder. They have even been known to pin an invading hummingbird down and peck at their feathers.
How often should I clean my feeder? The simple answer is every 3 to 4 days, but there is much more to cleaning a feeder than just when to do it. Hummingbirds are delicate creatures.
If detergent were to become mixed with the nectar it could make them very sick. For this reason it is recommended you rinse your feeder with piping hot water. If you ever see any mold (little black dots) just use a brush and hot water to thoroughly scrub the feeder.
You’ll only want to fill your feeder about halfway full of nectar since they probably won’t have time to drink more than that before the feeder needs to be cleaned. If you live in a hotter climate you may have to clean your feeder even more often to avoid mold.
What is the best way to make nectar that will attract the most hummingbirds to my feeder? This may not be the best way, but it is the most highly recommended. All you have to do is mix 1 part sugar to 4 parts water.
Bring the mixture to a steady boil. Remove your nectar from heat and cool before filling your feeder. Leftover nectar may be stored in the refrigerator for your hummingbird’s next feeding.
You should never use honey or artificial sweeteners when preparing your nectar. It doesn’t take very long for honey to ferment. The fermented honey can cause sores to form in the mouths of little hummingbirds making it hard for them to eat and deterring them from continuing to visit your feeder.
Artificial sweeteners, like Splenda or Sweet ‘N Low, offer no nutritional value and therefore should be avoided when preparing nectar. It’s also not a good idea to add red food coloring.
It’s true that red is an attractive to hummingbirds, however, we do not currently know if food coloring is dangerous for birds to eat.
Why don’t hummingbirds use my bird bath? Hummingbirds love to zip through water to take their baths on the fly. They can be seen flitting in and out of sprinklers before shaking the droplets of water from their feathers.
If you’d like to see your visiting hummingbirds take advantage of an existing bird bath you can add a gentle fountain for them to fly through. No bird bath, no problem. They enjoy getting themselves clean in lawn sprinklers as much as kids love to play in them on a hot summer day.
How do I get a hummingbird to nest in my yard for the season? Having a good source of food for them is a start. A feeder and a variety of flowers they love will hopefully get them to your yard.
They prefer to nest away from their food source. They like tall trees and vines. They have even been known to build their nests on thin wires. The nests themselves are tiny and will usually be made of plant fibers and other fluffy materials they can find.
Do all of these things and you’ll have your friends asking you how to attract hummingbirds to their yards too!