How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Hummingbird feeders always attract a crowd of eager hummingbirds.

It’s always a special thrill to see a hummingbird gracing your yard – a thrill and joy that we bird lovers never tire of.  In fact, every time I see a hummingbird, it’s as though I’m seeing my first one ever.

It’s little wonder that one of the first questions serious bird lovers and bird watchers have is, “How do I attract hummingbirds to my yard?!

There are a great number of hummingbird feeders on the market and many are so beautiful, bird lovers eagerly hang several around their yard.

We have a bright, colorful hummingbird feeder at one of our bird feeding stations.  I actually wish that it were hanging in a different spot, but one of the first rules of feeding hummingbirds (and attracting them again and again) is this:  Don’t move the feeder around!  The little beauties expect their feeder to be exactly where they left it – not just day after day, but year after year.

It’s a sure bet that I won’t be moving ours any time soon.

The reason I’m tempted to relocate this hummingbird feeder has to do with a magnificent flower (in the form of a hanging plant) – the beautiful Mandevilla.  I’d love to hang our Mandevilla in the spot currently adorned by the hummingbird feeder.

Hummingbirds love red, tubular flowers. They drink the nectar and dine on insects.

You see, this particular bird feeding station is set up in perfect view from a window by my computer desk.  It’s also in full view of the windows I look out while fixing supper.  Our hummingbirds like this bird feeder – but they LOVE the Mandevilla!

However, from where the magnificent Mandevilla hangs, you can only see it (and the hummingbirds who adore it) while you’re outside. I guess I was wanting more of a front row seat for the party. However, as any bird watcher and bird lover worth their salt knows – in the end, it’s not about the watcher, it’s about the watched.

The birds’ happiness, safety, and convenience win out over my entertainment. The feeder stays where it is.
The lovely Mandevilla (with its beautiful tubular red flowers) brings us right to the first order of business when it comes to attracting hummingbirds:

Fill Your Yard with Flowers Hummingbirds Love

Hummingbirds are most attracted to red, tubular flowers but they will (make no mistake about it) visit other colored flowers as well.  We have gorgeous purple petunias that hummingbirds seem to love.  Just last evening I watched as a hummingbird dove right into the midst of 8 butterflies – all seeking sweetness from the same purple petunia…. nevermind the fact that the flower bed’s filled with flowers and nevremind the fact that there were about 6 other petunia plants just like this one.  The hummingbird and butterflies were convinced this was the best flower of the bunch.

Who am I to question, maybe it was!

For the best results – and to attract gorgeous butterflies to your yard along with hummingbirds (and finches, orioles, cardinals…), plant a wide variety of flowers of all colors.  You’d also be wise to hang several hanging baskets of flowering hummingbird favorites.

Not only do we have several flower beds to lure our colorful friends, we have many potted flowers, potted plants, and hanging baskets as well.  Variety, variety, variety!

Mandevilla – hummingbirds love this flower!

Below are some of the plants and flowers that Hummingbirds love:

ANNUALS

Flowering tobacco

Fuchsia

Geranium

Gladiolus (my own personal favorite flower)

Impatiens

Lantana

Nasturtium

Petunia

Pinks, Sweet William

Sage

Spiderflower

PERENNIALS

Bee balm

Columbine

Coralbells

Day lily

Hollyhock

Larkspur

Lily

Lupine

Phlox

VINES

Trumpet honeysuckle

Trumpet vine

SHRUBS

Azalea

Beauty bush

Butterfly bush

Japanese honeysuckle

Rose mallow

Scarlet bush

Hummingbird Feeders

As I mentioned earlier, there are many wonderful hummingbird feeders on the market and no serious bird watcher will be caught without at least one in their yard (note to husband, we need a second one for the back yard!)

The best time to put out a hummingbird feeder is early spring – but I’ve put hummingbird feeders out as late as August with great success.  Then again, the little visitors were already familiar with the flowers on our menu.

You’ll want to clean your hummingbird feeders regularly, though. This is very, very important.  Hummingbirds could actually be harmed by funky, old sugar water.

Hummingbird Drink (Nectar syrup) Recipe

Mix 1 part white sugar with 4 parts water and boil for 1 to 2 minutes.  Boiling will retard fermentation.  Cool the mixture completely – test it with your fingertip.  For those completely unfamiliar with the kitchen, 1 part to 4 parts simply means if you’re using 4 cups water, use 1 cup sugar…  2 cups water, 1 cup sugar..

After the mixture is completely cool, fill your container(s).

If your hummingbird feeder already has red on it (and most do), you really don’t have to worry about adding red food coloring.   However, it won’t hurt your little guests if you do.

I prefer to provide our hummingbird guests with as many flowers as possible AND an ever-available feeder. Even when the yard is filled with beautiful, open, inviting flowers, our hummingbirds will still visit their hummingbird feeder eagerly.

Attracting hummingbirds is like attracting any sort of bird (or butterfly).  You have to think like they do!  What they’re drawn to is red.  What they love is sweetness – sweet nectar or sugar water.  They also love the insects they find inside tubular flowers.  But there’s very little you can do about that.

A word of caution:  Please be very careful what sprays, potions you use on or around flowers and plants.  We use absolutely nothing on any of our flowers, vegetables, and plants.  Why take chances on harming an innocent bird or animal that’s honoring you by being a guest?

Best of luck in your bird watching endeavors and I hope your yard will soon be filled with hummingbirds!

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Comments

  1. Elissa Steidley says

    Giving hummingbirds sugar water is dangerous to their health. You should only feed them proper nutritional hummingbird nectar

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