12 Tips on How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard (2021)

Tori Rhodes
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Add bright red ribbon to your backyard

Feeder to draw hummingbirds' attention.

Tempt with homemade nectar

Move over sugar and artificial nectar. Red or black plastic-honeycomb-shaped feeders filled with nectar from easy-to-make homemade recipes are the best ways to attract hummingbirds.

It also often happens that hummingbirds just want to drink whatever and the feeder is not a necessity. This means that you need to spend a lot of time on the window or hanging around the table to provide a nectar source.

Then what you really need is a hummingbird feeder that is easy to refill and is available at all times.

I use a red plastic bottle shaped like a towel holder. I fill these feeders with a store-bought nectar/ water mix and a homemade sugar water mix. I then refill them with water every few days and refill the sugary nectar with fresh mix every few weeks. This makes keeping your hummingbird feeder filled easily to maintain.

Install a perching spot

Hummingbirds love to perch nearby when they’re feeding. Installing a perching spot near a window with a steady supply of nectar-producing plants, such as bee balm, is an easy way to attract these beautiful creatures.

Place a shallow bowl of clean water nearby for drinking, as well.

Cut fresh flowers from the yard, filling a cut-glass or recycled bottle, to make a hand-crafted bouquet and a hanging basket, to keep the plants well-watered.

Replace with fresh flowers and water every few days.

Make your own nectar-rich solution with one part sugar to four parts water.

Inspect plants regularly for feeding damage and replace with fresh plants as needed.

Be sure to use rail hooks or another method that does not permanently damage the branches.

Extend the life of your hummingbird feeders by applying weatherproofing agents such as paraffin wax or beeswax, which will also help keep the water from freezing in sub-freezing temperatures.

Make a homemade bee solution by mixing one part sugar to four parts water.

Bees are attracted to the sugar solution, and it is the only solution strong enough to keep bees away from your hummingbird feeders.

Add hummingbird specific feeders

These are relatively inexpensive and getting one is by far the easiest way for you to get started. It is also said that they are one of the best ways to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

The types of hummingbird feeders include the glass feeders, plastic and the feeders with metallic nectar (sugar water). Hummingbird feeders come in a variety of shapes and sizes including the glass feeders, hummingbird bird feeders, plastic feeders, and ones with two parts.

Add other feeders: A lot of times, a hummingbird specific feeder may not call out hummingbirds. Therefore, it is important to have other feeders to attract these cute creatures. Some of these include, the sunflower bird feeder, nectar feeders and others that use their natural nectars.

Keep the nectar fresh: Replace the nectar when it breaks down. For example, if the sugar gets changed, do not add the same nectar again or the hummingbird will be attracted, but the sugar will not be broken down.

Soak old mix for 24 hours and then throw it out.

Add red coloring: Red coloring is important when attracting hummingbirds. This comes into play when the hummingbird feeds and also around the hummingbird feeder.

Encourage nesting in your yard

Communities with several active hummingbird feeders near gardens are a breeding ground for many more, and the birds will *almost always* return to their nesting areas, so leaving your feeder out is a good call even if they don’t use it during the coldest parts of winter.

When planting to attract the hummers, choose native plants. You can buy the seeds at any nursery or online. Some examples include penstemon, salvias, monarda (bee balm), columbine, clematis, cardinal flower, trumpet vine and, of course, hummingbird favorites like salvia, honeysuckle, fuschia, columbine, red-yielding currant, and butterfly weed. For more information on hummingbird-friendly plants, visit the website of the North American Butterfly Association.

Type in the horticulture zone of your area and choose plants that are native to your area.

To get an idea of where to plant your hummingbird plant, visit a National Park and take a look at the variety of plants the Park has. It’s wise to plant your plants close to the National Park, as you never know when a hummingbird will visit just when they see their favorite.

Older plants also attract hummingbirds.

Nurture beneficial insects in the yard

That all seems well and good, but you might not even be sure what kinds of insects need to be nurtured.

Some birds – and particularly smaller birds – will use insects as their primary food source. Some examples are sparrows, wrens and chickadees.

If you want to attract these kinds of birds to your yard, then it is critical to attract their insect food sources. This initially may involve a bit of reading up on the best kinds of flowers to plant in your yard, then in addition to the other garden-related activities, you will need to look for them and plant them for the birds.

Once you do, you will be likely to see a lot more up-close-and-personal activity of creatures like bluebirds, butterflies, grasshoppers, etc., in your yard, which in turn will attract the kinds of birds that feed on those insects.

Hummingbirds are especially attracted to plants that have red or pink blossoms. This indicates that hummingbirds will likely be able to see the blossoms from afar, and as a result will be drawn to them.

These plants include the common red and pink impatiens, as well as trumpet vine and trumpet honeysuckle shrubs.

The location of the feeder is the key

To keeping hummingbirds coming to a feeder in your yard. The best place for a feeder is one that will attract hummers and keep them coming back, so choose a site carefully.

The feeder doesn’t need to be located in the middle of a yard or garden. That’s not where the birds spend most of their time. But it should be in a sunny location that is fairly sheltered. A rain-laden windy day can be too harsh for hummingbirds, so select a site protected from those conditions when possible. Keep the feeder away from cold winds that may chill the birds’ feathers.

Choose an area with at least a little bit of natural cover so hummingbirds have a place to escape to if they’re feeling too exposed, such as a trellis or fence. It’s nice to have native plants nearby if possible, because they add color to the yard while also providing a protected and colorful place for the birds to rest.

Create a ‘hummingbird waterfall’

To be honest, I have no idea how I came up with this. But simply water the base of the flowers with a lovely or run it under a slow stream from the hot and cold taps.

The sound will create a hummingbird friendly garden.

They say that hummingbirds are attracted to the sound of water, so slow-running water may help attract hummingbirds to your yard. If you have a fish pond, run the hose into it. Even a small feature waterfall can have the same effect.

Hummingbirds are also attracted to bright objects. A hummingbird feeder filled with red nectar or red food coloring may also draw hummingbirds to your yard. If you have a yellow house, they may be attracted to a red feeder.

However, be aware that the coloring may have an effect in the flavor and the amount of nectar the birds consume.

Create a Birdbath

As a rule, hummingbirds visit hummingbird feeders only to drink and rest. Hearing or seeing a hummingbird is the best way to enjoy them but a birdbath can be a wonderful substitute. Adding a dish or even a small kiddie pool to your yard will enable hummingbirds to bathe. Just like a feeder, the sound of flowing water will attract them.

Lure hummingbirds with the right plants

If you’ve ever seen a gorgeous hummingbird hovering in front of a brightly colored red flower, you’ve witnessed a perfect example of “bully” plant strategy at work. A hummingbird’s favorite way to gain access to the nectar is to wait until another flower, a so-called “sucker,” lands on it. Then, the hummingbird will attempt to chase the flower away and claim the flower for itself.

The red flowers like to attract butterflies, bees and other insects that pollinate them. But when a hummingbird shows up, these flowers switch their focus to intimidation. And through the process, they gain permanent access to the nectar of these bright, spreading-out flowers. Hummingbirds teach us that refusing to budge when another flower is on you can pay off handsomely.

Yellow Bells

Hummingbirds like bright colors, so start your garden with a few red plants like Cardinal flower or Bee weed. A perennial flower offers more of the bright colors too, instead of pricy annuals.

The common Yarrow, Arnica, and Butterfly weed are also brilliant choices. But look to natives like the yellow Bells for a natural and long-lasting addition.

Keep your feeders clean inside and outside

Keeping your feeders clean is the easiest and most effective way to keep your birds healthy and safe. These little birds can get sick very easily and cleaning a feeder is an easy and quick way to prevent the spread of possible diseases.

Also, a clean feeder can help birds see better and feel more comfortable. So make it a habit to check your feeder’s cleanliness at least once a week and thoroughly clean them once every three weeks.

While cleaning it, remember to use a cleaning solution for the outside of the bottles. Rinse them well and drain them upside down so the inside dries.

In addition, don’t forget the birds that live in your yard. Clean their nesting areas with a small bottle brush and a hose.

Keep the spider webs

The first step is to take down all of those things that the birds love to build nests on. Sounds crazy, but hummingbirds are really attracted to decorations, especially those that have shiny ornaments like mirrors, and decorate their nest with anything nearby, including pretty shells.

The bird will collect things like plants, twigs, bulky egg cartons, and leaf litter. Everything is collected and formed into a ball and stuck to the inside of the cage. Then a smaller nest will be built on top of the ball with soft grass, creating a protective layer for the eggs.

This is all done by the female hummingbird during her incubation cycle. These types of nasties will get tangled in the chute that directs the nectar from the feeder down to the bird.

It also makes it even more difficult to clean the feeder’s internal parts and thoroughly sanitize it. It can even become a haven for bacteria and mold to grow.

Your hummingbird’s diet and lifestyle is easily influenced by what you stick to the outside of the cage. They love all sorts of insects and spiders, so make sure you put up a plant that will encourage them to munch on those.

Some hummingbird experts suggest putting up a perch for the birds to sit on. They are experts at being vigilant of the area for insects.

Trick the bullies

Take the same tactics that work on pigeons and sparrows, such as fake plastic hawks, balloons or kites tied to trees above your feeder. This will keep the bigger birds away and let the hummingbirds feed in peace.