Make a hummingbird-friendly yard and choose the perfect hummingbird feeder with these seven tips!
1. Make Sure Feeders Are Always Stocked with Nectar
Hummingbirds have ferocious nectar needs and need to feed five to eight times every hour, so keeping your hummingbird feeders well supplied with energy-packed nectar is a great way to help these little gems—especially in early spring when natural flower nectar and insects are difficult to find. Homemade nectar will keep in a refrigerator for up to two weeks.
See also: How Does Hummingbird Banding Work?
2. Offer Multiple Nectar Feeders to Appease Feisty Hummingbirds
Offer multiple nectar feeders in separate areas of your yard so that one territorial hummingbird can’t dominate the only feeder. The more feeders you put out, the more hummers you can attract! If you have only a few hummingbirds, use several small-capacity nectar feeders. If you have two or more hummingbird feeders, hang them 6 to 15 feet apart so that a single aggressive hummer can’t control access to every feeder.
3. Choose Feeders Designed with Hummingbirds in Mind
There are many hummingbird feeders on the market, but not all nectar feeders are created equal. Look for these features:
- Easy to clean: Bacteria can build up quickly, so nectar feeders need to be cleaned at least every five days—more often in warm weather.
- Pest protection: Feeders with protected ports and ant moats keep nectar solely for hummingbird enjoyment and reduce contamination risk from ants and bees infiltrating the nectar.
- The right capacity: Choose feeders with capacities that match your local hummingbird population. That way, hummers empty and enjoy your feeders while the nectar is delightfully fresh.
4. Focus on the Placement of Your Hummingbird Feeders
Hummingbirds spend most of their lives perching. If possible, place your nectar feeder on or near a bush or tree. You can also place hummingbird feeders where you will have a clear view of the hummers, even on an easily accessible second-story window. With hanging, window and pole-mounting options, you can position hummingbird feeders almost anywhere. We’ve even heard of hummingbirds visiting a penthouse garden in New York City!
See also: Where to Hang Your Hummingbird Feeders
5. Make Your Feeders More Visible
Make it easy for hummingbirds to find your nectar feeders by placing them near hanging potted flowers. You can also tie a red ribbon around the nectar feeder’s hanging rod to get their attention. Offering nectar feeders in early spring—before migrating hummingbirds are even expected—helps early bird arrivals and encourages these hummingbirds to stay in your area.
6. Help Hummingbirds Feel at Home with a Pollinator Garden
Set up a pollinator garden by planting flowers that provide natural food sources for hungry hummingbirds. Hummers do not live on nectar alone; tiny insects satisfy their protein needs. They catch them on the fly, in flowers and on spider webs. Leaving spider webs in place is another great way to help hummers, as spider silk is a common material in hummingbird nest construction. It’s always a good idea to avoid pesticide use in your gardening, as even trace amounts can be devastating for tiny hummer bodies. Embrace the wild side of your yard!
These hummingbird-favorite flowers make for beautiful pollinator gardens:
- American Columbine
- Bee Balm
- Butterfly Milkweed
- Coral Bean
- Lemon Bottlebrush
- Mimosa Tree
- Evening Primrose
- Red Buckeye
- Red Salvia
- Tiger Lily
- Trumpet Honeysuckle
- Trumpet Vine
- Red Impatiens
7. Keep Nectar Fresh for Hummingbird Health
If you place a nectar feeder in full sun for your viewing enjoyment, just remember to check the condition of the nectar more often. As with all bird feeders, it’s crucial for the health of the birds that you keep your hummingbird feeders clean. Use a hummingbird feeder brush and nectar port brush with a cleaning solution that won’t harm the hummers. You will need to clean your hummingbird feeder at least every five days, and more often in warm weather, as nectar easily spoils in the sun and heat.