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.
When I was very young, I remember seeing a small winged creature flitting about, flower to flower in the late evening. It’s speed and ability to hover amazed me, so not knowing any better, I set out to catch it to get a closer look!
I patiently waited evening after evening for my chance to snag this thing. When my chance arose, I threw a sheet over the entire 4 o’clock bush, and just knew I had caught myself a hummingbird!
Well, when I lifted the sheet, it was no hummingbird at all! Looking back, I am so glad it wasn’t, because I probably would have killed it had I managed to net the thing. It was a giant Sphinx Moth!
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.
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.
INSECTS AND SPIDERS
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.
LOTS OF RED
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.
PERFECT FEEDER MIX
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!
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!
FLOWERS OF COURSE
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.
TYPES OF FLOWERS
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.
Follow a few or all of these easy guidelines and I’m sure you will attract a hummingbird or two!