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How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Feeder

I have been fascinated with hummingbirds since a very young age. Where I grew up, there were never any hummingbirds around. I always wanted to know how to attract hummingbirds to our feeders. As you will see, sometimes it takes more than just hanging up a feeder to attract hummingbirds.

Just watching hummingbirds fly around sipping nectar from flowers and feeders is entertaining. When hummingbirds visit our garden it is always a treat. Some yards in my area are loaded with them and some yards will never even be visited by these little birds.

hummingbird on feeder
How to attract Hummimgbirds

Where I live now, I can usually see at least a half dozen of them every year. And it’s all because I have created a habitat with many of their needs.

Kind of on accident but over the years I have taken note of a few characteristics of the yards where I have seen many hummingbirds.

Listed below are some of the very basic needs of hummingbirds to attract them. A hummingbird will remember a great location and come back to it every year and most the time, bring along some friends!


As with most migratory birds, the resting spots they come to must absolutely have a water source. If you don’t live near a pond or creek, try any type of manmade water source. Fountains, misters, or birdbaths are all frequently used by hummingbirds.


I haven’t read a lot about their actual migratory habits but I do know while they are here, they are going to build a nest! Hummingbirds build their nests from small fibrous materials such as feathers, moss, whispy daffodil seeds, lichen, and spider silk. You can even buy hummingbird nesting material online that comes in a globe or a cage to hang out for them to use.

close up photo of hummingbird
Photo by Frank Cone on


Hummingbirds need protein believe it or not. They will eat all kinds of small insects including many that are pests in the garden. Gnats, fruit flies, aphids, ants, mites, and mosquitos are all on the menu!


Refrain from using pesticides as hummingbirds are very susceptible to them. Pesticide poisoned insects or flowers with tainted nectar can quickly kill tiny hummingbirds.


Hummingbirds like to hide in the bushes from predators. They need cover to build their nests. The cover also provides nestng material and breeding grounds for the insects they will eat.

Hummingbird on feeder


Hummingbirds amazingly have a poor sense of smell so it is said that a lot of their attraction is from color. They are attracted to reds and orange mostly, so it is realistic to have red plants and even red furniture to lure them to the area.

Most hummingbird feeders sold in stores are red also. But as a note: it is good practice to not use hummingbird “juice” that has a red dye in it.

Red furniture or any type of lawn ornament is also a big help. I have also read that tying a red ribbon around a tree or bush that is visible from the air will make them fly down and check out your area!


Keep the feeders clean. No one likes to eat from a molded feeder! A dirty feeder can carry disease and make hummingbirds sick.


A perfect mix for feeding them is 1 to 4. That is 1 cup of sugar, to 4 cups of water. Most commercial brands come in concentrate or premixed but you will need to alter the strength of the mix during different times of the season!

hummingbird perched on bird feeder
Photo by Frank Cone on


If you’ve had hummingbirds before , you will know they are extremely territorial. There is always a bully around that will chase other hummingbirds out of the area and ruin your reputation for having a hummingbird friendly yard!

Setup more than one feeder in your garden and make sure to place them far apart. Like seriously more than fifty feet apart! I have had one hummingbird fly back and forth to feeders near each other, keeping everyone else away!

tiny hummingbird flying above blue flower
Photo by Skyler Ewing on


The hummingbirds that visit my place always seem to prefer flowers over the feeder. You will see them feeding from the flowers more often and its a lot more joyful to watch their movement instead of just sitting on a perch at your feeder.

Make sure to plant lots of blooming annuals and perennials that will keep flowers throughout the season. It is especially important to have flowers bloom in the fall just before they leave so they can fuel up before their migration times.

This is also very helpful for any late migrating birds coming through and also to keep regular pollinators going late in the season.


I notice in my yard, the hummingbirds prefer flute shaped flowers. They always seem smaller to me and I don’t see how they could be getting anything from them but this is almost always the case.

Flute shaped blooms are flowers like Salvia, Cuphea, Gladiola, and varieties of honeysuckle.

Click through to learn some of the Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds.

keep hummingbirds coming back

Follow a few or all of these easy guidelines and I’m sure you will attract a hummingbird or two!

keep hummingbirds coming back

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. JRiley

    Thanks for the great tips. I have just recently started birding and had my first hummer visit my feeder a week ago. She came several times everyday for a week and then didn’t return. I’m hoping she was fueling up for her trip and I didn’t do something to chase her away. Hope she remembers my yard for next year! Again, thanks for sharing.

    1. ErickDStyron

      Hope she returns! There is a pair here right now that my kids love spotting everyday. The neighbors didn’t fill there feeder this week , so it’s a constant territorial battle guarding their feeder =)

  2. Sandy Carra

    Thanks for the useful information, I will be getting my special shepherd pole tomorrow and use the information you gave to use. I got my love for humming birds and. Butterflies and flowers. I know she will be watching and helping from above. I’ve had my pond for over 15 years and we had a blast with that.

  3. Thanks your information was very useful we are living in Tobago now and have a wonderful variety of hummingbirds here but was looking for tips to keep them coming back to our garden area.

    1. ErickDStyron

      Best of luck! I think even the babies that are born here return sometimes. They always find our place somehow

  4. Ruth Hurt

    What shape feeders are best? Got my shepherd’s hooks. Now got to get flowers. I live in an apartment with a 4’x25′ area for planting. So far only have got tomato, peas and green beans planted. Will these have bugs hummers will eat?

    1. ErickDStyron

      Most types in the stores work well but in my experience I would steer away from the really ornate glass ones with metal bases and flowers that are copper. The red ones with yellow flowers do well here.

    2. ErickDStyron

      those crops will easily attract many small bugs that they will feast on

  5. Shelby

    You stated we needed to change the sugar water strength during different times of the season? Could you explain plz? I’ve never heard of that. Ty!

    1. ErickDStyron

      in Alabama, they leave around October and there aren’t as many flowers in bloom that they feed on so sweetening their feeders gives them extra energy to store for their migration. I’ll do like 1 to 3 but it’s fine to keep the same ratio. There are not many homes around me with flowers so i try to help every little bit i can

  6. Vanda

    I am having problems with small wasps at my feeders. How can I remedy this? Thank you!

    1. ErickDStyron

      crazy enough, there are these little things called nectar guard tips you can put on your feeder, other than that, you can try to relocate them, and keep them clean from dripping. the guards work fine for me

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