The humble hummingbird is one of nature’s more beautiful creatures. These diminutive but powerful winged wonders can be found all over North America and Europe. There are even some species that thrive within our borders here in the U.S., such as ruby-throated hummingbirds (Archytasius gryllus), which live on both coasts.
But perhaps what makes these feathered beauties so special is their ability to fly backwards — this allows them to beat their wings 180 degrees without having to take off from the ground again. That means they’re capable of covering long distances quickly, making it possible for them to travel thousands of miles per year between breeding sites.
In addition to being able to fly backward, hummingbirds also flap their wings up and down while flying forward. This unique style of flight helps them stay airborne by preventing air currents from pulling their lightweight bodies downward. It’s called “diaphragmatic aerodynamics.”
And because hummingbirds don’t possess vocal cords like other songbirds do, they use sound signals instead during courtship displays. A male hummer will produce his own distinctive note when he sees another bird of his gender near him. Conversely, if a female hears a male singing her praises, she may return his affection by imitating his voice. As a result, males and females often sing at each other when trying to win the heart of potential mates.
Like many other animals, hummingbirds experience seasonal changes in appearance and behavior based on temperature fluctuations throughout the year. For example, during cooler months, hummingbirds tend to eat less nectar due to lower energy needs. But once spring arrives, they begin increasing their consumption of sugar water.
So whether you’re interested in attracting hummingbirds to your yard, garden or balcony, keep reading below to learn about best ways how to attract hummingbirds .
- 1. Choose Nesting Place Appropriately
- 2. Create An Abundance of Nectar Feeds
- 3. Plant Native Plants for Your Garden or Yard
- 4. Get Rid of Ants in And Around The House, Especially In Summertime
- 5. Make Sure You Have Plenty Of Water During Droughts conditions
- 6. Keep Lawn Fertilizer Away From Hummingbird Food Sources
- 7. Use Bird Control Products Sparingly If Anywhere At All
- 8. Don’t Mess With Their Territory!
- 9. Hummer nests need lots of room to spread their wings (and take off)
- 10. A shallow bowl will make it easier to refill
- 11. If your hummer nest is in an area that gets direct sunlight, keep its size small
- 12. For shade or partially shaded areas, choose a larger container
- 13. When choosing a shape, consider how easily it’ll be to clean
- 14. Four things you should look for when selecting a hummingbird feeder:
- 19. Know When Not To Interfere with Hummingbirds’ Mating Rituals
- 20. 4 Ways to Attract Hummingbirds to Your balcony
- 21. You can use these four methods to attract hummingbirds to your hand
1. Choose Nesting Place Appropriately
It goes without saying that hummingbirds need clean water sources located close to flowering plants with plenty of pollen and nectar available. However, not every type of plant works well for them. Certain types of flowers, especially those belonging to the mint family, have been shown to attract large numbers of hummers.
Other favorite choices include goldenrod, milkweed, black-oil sunflower and purple coneflower.
If you choose to build nests out of mud or grasses, then select the right location. Hummingbirds prefer nest locations that receive lots of sunlight during the day. Avoid building your home next to trees with branches hanging low enough to touch the top of the structure. Also avoid placing your nesting spot under tall shrubs since the shade could cause overheating.
2. Create An Abundance of Nectar Feeds
One way to help ensure that hummingbirds find your backyard oasis useful is to create ample supplies of sugary liquid known as nectar. Some people recommend using artificial sweeteners rather than natural ones such as cane sugar. Artificial sweetener products contain phosphoric acid, sodium dihydrogen phosphate, calcium hydroxide and/or potassium hydroxide. Since hummingbirds get much of their energy from drinking nectar, any source of excess sugar should prove beneficial.
You can purchase commercial nectar mixes online or buy bags of pure honey (some varieties are labeled “bee friendly”) and dilute according to package instructions. Or you can try taking advantage of naturally occurring local sugars present in fruits, berries and tree sap. Just remember to store unused nectars properly after opening to prevent spoilage.
3. Plant Native Plants for Your Garden or Yard
Not only does planting native flora improve habitat diversity, it also provides vital resources for pollinators including bats, butterflies, moths, bees and beetles along with dozens of smaller insect species. Many hummingbirds enjoy feasting on insects just like we humans would. So creating diverse habitats filled with native vegetation will definitely increase the number of hummingbirds visiting your property.
Also consider installing a rainwater catchment system designed specifically to collect and purify surplus rainwater into usable potable water. Rain barrels can easily fit onto gutters and spouts on house roofs. Most models come complete with built-in filters and pumps that remove contaminants before sending purified H20 straight inside your residence where it can be used for watering landscaping beds, gardens and outdoor fountains.
An added bonus of having rainwater running through your lawn? Well, aside from eliminating the need to hose down your driveway or sidewalk afterward, it might reduce runoff pollution and provide cleaner groundwater supplies.
4. Get Rid of Ants in And Around The House, Especially In Summertime
Ant colonies can be quite destructive when left unchecked. Although ants aren’t harmful to us, they sometimes feast upon foodstuffs stored nearby. That includes anything from dried grains and flour to candy bars and soda crackers. While ant infestations rarely pose a serious health threat, they certainly spread disease among members of their colony.
To stop ants in their tracks, first locate their entry points around your dwelling. Then seal cracks and openings with caulk. Next, spray non toxic pest control solutions directly onto problem areas. Finally, apply granular pesticide treatments intended for killing ants outside structures and garages. Never allow children or pets to approach treated surfaces until everything has had sufficient time to dry.
5. Make Sure You Have Plenty Of Water During Droughts conditions
Droughts happen. Fortunately, there are several methods you can employ to save yourself from severe thirst. One is to install small ponds containing shallow basins made of gravel, sand or rocks. Another option involves filling planter boxes with soil and adding drainage holes to let water drain away. Yet still others involve setting traps baited with citrus fruit rinds and crushed corn cobs.
When constructing new pools, be aware that mosquitoes love stagnant waters with standing water longer than three days. Therefore, it’s best to have screens installed over pool openings. Mosquitoes can enter homes via screened doors and windows.
Another good idea is to fill decorative containers with water, allowing the water level to drop slightly below the rim. Afterward, put the container(s) outdoors where hummingbirds can drink from them. Once they’ve finished draining the bowl, refill the container(s). Repeat process multiple times throughout the summer.
6. Keep Lawn Fertilizer Away From Hummingbird Food Sources
While fertilizers help green things grow, they can become dangerous nuisances when improperly applied. Too much fertilizer can kill certain types of plants and turn healthy grassy spots brown. Birds also dislike the strong chemicals contained in many pesticides and herbicides.
Instead of relying solely on chemical additives, mix organic matter into your soil by incorporating compost, manure or peat moss. Add lime and sulfur to neutralize overly acidic levels. Lastly, add fish emulsion to counteract nutrient deficiencies. By doing so, you’ll indirectly enhance the quality of the environment surrounding a hummingbird sanctuary.
7. Use Bird Control Products Sparingly If Anywhere At All
Bird control products such as sprays and powders are commonly sold at hardware stores and pet shops. Unfortunately, these items are mostly ineffective against larger wildlife pests such as squirrels, raccoons and deer. On top of that, some manufacturers advertise their products as safe alternatives to poisons. However, it’s important to recognize that these substances are potentially hazardous to cats, dogs and other domestic animals. If ingested, they can trigger vomiting, diarrhea and breathing problems. Even worse, they can harm developing fetuses in pregnant mothers.
On a positive note, you won’t encounter similar issues regarding indoor bird droppings. Simply follow manufacturer guidelines carefully and dispose of empty cartridges safely.
8. Don’t Mess With Their Territory!
Birds have established territories where individuals defend parts of that space exclusively. Because hummingbirds spend nearly half their lives feeding, bathing and sleeping, it stands to reason that territorial conflicts occur frequently. In fact, research shows that approximately 80 percent of all collisions involving hummingbirds happen because two birds disagree about access to territory.
By respecting hummingbirds’ personal boundaries, you’ll minimize the possibility of these situations arising. Remember that birds occupy key ecological roles worldwide. Consequently, protecting their turf becomes paramount.
9. Hummer nests need lots of room to spread their wings (and take off)
For starters, hummingbirds don’t actually “live” inside their nests. Instead, they lay eggs and then leave the nest to feed while the young hatch and stay there until they’re ready to fly away.
So before you buy a hummingbird feeder, think about whether you really need one. Because hummingbirds only visit feeders during daylight hours, they tend to hang out near lights. But since they eat very quickly, they often won’t linger too long. That means having plenty of space available to accommodate takeoff/landing needs and quick eating sessions.
They’re little, they’re fast — and they’re beautiful! The smallest bird in North America, the hummingbird’s diminutive size belies amazing speed. In less than two minutes, one might circle around a yard 200 times — not to mention its incredible agility when zipping through flowers or flying from perch to perch.
Hummingbirds have long fascinated humans, but why? They’re so much smaller than any other native North American bird. Their intricate coloring, which ranges from vibrant green and blue to orangey reds and purples (or combinations thereof), adds another layer of interest. And if you’ve ever seen one up close, you know that their eyes sparkle as brightly as diamonds.
10. A shallow bowl will make it easier to refill
If you decide to go ahead and purchase a hummingbird feeder, you may also want to invest in a shallow dish instead of a tall vase for ease of filling. It takes just seconds for a hummingbird to grab hold of a drop of nectar, so keeping the amount low will help reduce spillage.
11. If your hummer nest is in an area that gets direct sunlight, keep its size small
Sunlight has a big impact on hummingbird behavior. First, it helps them warm up their bodies so they can get rid of excess heat. Second, it keeps temperatures higher, which encourages them to feed longer. So if you place your feeder in full sun, try using a smaller bowl.
12. For shade or partially shaded areas, choose a larger container
Since most hummingbirds spend their days doing what we’d call “low level flight,” it doesn’t usually matter where exactly you put your hummingbird feeder. However, if you place it in an area that receives partial shade, such as behind a tree or under a porch overhang, you may want to opt for a bigger container. A larger bowl will allow more light into the bowl and will encourage greater activity.
13. When choosing a shape, consider how easily it’ll be to clean
You may want something like this.This type of hummingbird feeder lets you mix different types of nectars together. Plus, cleaning it isn’t a huge hassle because all you have to do is rinse the sugar crystals out of the bowl.
Hummingbirds love to feast on sugary juices called nectar. Nectar comes from various plant species, including mint, clovers, aloe vera, honeysuckle and blackberry blossoms. Of course, hummingbirds prefer the sweet stuff best, so you’ll want to use a variety of sources to ensure visitors never run dry.
14. Four things you should look for when selecting a hummingbird feeder:
The best choice depends on where you live.
Birds are attracted to bright colors, so choose a design that works with your landscaping.
15. Choose a material that resists mildew growth
Consider the height of the feeder. Tall ones can tower above shrubs and trees, making it harder for hummingbirds to access the nectar. Also, taller feeders are more likely to topple over in high winds.
Check the manufacturer’s warranty. Most warranties cover malfunctions caused by faulty materials or workmanship.
Hang your feeder high enough to discourage squirrels and other animals from snacking on the sugar supply.
16. How do you fill it?
It’s important to remember that hummingbirds are highly territorial, and they’re quite picky about the food they ingest. As such, they won’t happily drink from containers filled with spoiled, dirty or contaminated liquid.
Hummingbirds prefer pure nectar, which is basically honeydew syrup. Honeydew juice is produced naturally by certain kinds of melons, but you can also collect it yourself by slicing open cantaloupe or muskmelon rinds. Simply pour the sticky substance into a jar and let it sit until the juice separates from the pulp. Then strain out the pulp and squeeze out the juice to remove impurities.
You now have pure, uncontaminated nectar. To prevent bacteria from spoiling it, store it in a tightly covered jar in the refrigerator and watch for signs of mold development.
Nectar varies widely in sweetness depending upon the source. Although the USDA recommends a 5 percent concentration of sucrose, commercial beekeepers typically add 10 percent fructose to improve quality. For maximum appeal, though, stick to straight nectar.
17. When is feeding time?
Feeders shouldn’t be left unattended and should be checked regularly for leaks. Make sure the lid fits snugly and that it stays closed. The container should be cleaned after every three weeks of operation. Remember to replace empty jars immediately to help minimize bacterial contamination.
18. And finally…
Don’t expect your hummingbird feeder to draw in hummingbirds year round. Hummingbird migration patterns vary according to location, and weather conditions can affect the number of visitors that show up. Your best bet is to check the local paper to learn how many hummingbirds flock to your part of the country each season.
While hummingbirds’ diets consist mostly of nectar, they sometimes supplement meals with insects, spiders and pollen. This diet allows them to survive hotter summers, when nectar becomes scarce. Hummingbird droppings contain traces of calcium and phosphorus, which help regulate eggshell formation.
19. Know When Not To Interfere with Hummingbirds’ Mating Rituals
Most male hummingbirds perform elaborate mating dances to attract females. However, interfering with these rituals can cause distress for both sexes involved. For instance, if you notice a pair getting too intimate, step back quietly and give them room to finish their business. Likewise, if you witness a young fledgling attempting to leave its mother prematurely, encourage it to wait patiently until it fully develops feathers and wings.
Hummingbirds typically mate for life, although occasionally males will attempt to court different partners. Females usually lay eggs annually, providing ample opportunity for reproduction.
20. 4 Ways to Attract Hummingbirds to Your balcony
Hummingbirds, including red-throated hummingbirds, are attracted to balconies that have the following four things.
A tubular flowers
Tubular flowers in bright red or orange attract hummingbirds. Listed below is a list of hummingbird-friendly container plants. If you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden, avoid using hybrid flowers because they typically lack nectar.
Water with sugar as an additive.
Purchase or make nectar for hummingbird feeders. Bring 1 part sugar to a boil, and then let it cool to make your own homemade nectar (for example, 4 cups water and 1 cup sugar). Instead of using red food coloring, attach a hummingbird feeder with red or orange tape or ribbon, or purchase a red feeder. Hummingbird feeders should be cleaned and refilled with sugar water on a weekly basis.
Streams of water.
Insert a sprinkler or sprayer into your water basin, as hummingbirds enjoy flying in and out of the basin to spray water.
Perched on a ledge.
If you spend a lot of time outside, hummingbirds are unlikely to visit your balcony garden. Hummingbirds may rest on a tree branch or a clothesline if the habitat is suitable.
Avoid using pesticides on flowers that attract hummingbirds, as they shouldn’t be ingested. Pesticides may also kill small insects that hummingbirds rely on for their protein requirements.
21. You can use these four methods to attract hummingbirds to your hand
For hummingbirds to feel comfortable feeding from your hands, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Here are a few tips to make the process a little easier:
1.The color red is a must-have.
A hat or shirt with a red or floral print will help attract birds’ attention.
In order to attract birds to your feeder, even the tiniest red accents, like a red bead bracelet or red nail polish, can help.
2.Simple Feeders are the best option.
Choose a feeder with a single feeding port for simplicity’s sake. A feeder that allows you to position it so that the birds land on your hand or provide you with a good view while you’re feeding them is a huge help.
3.When there is more competition, success is more likely.
Make a trial run of hand-feeding hummingbirds later in the season, when there are more birds at your feeders. Birds are more likely to land on your hand or visit a hand-held feeder when there is more competition for food.
4.Multiple feeders should be avoided whenever possible.
Hummingbird activity should be concentrated closer to the feeder you are currently holding by removing multiple feeders and any nearby spent red flowers. A more reluctant bird may be encouraged to try out a hand-held feeder because there are fewer options for alternative feeding locations. This is only a short-term solution. Assuming that your garden is visited frequently by hummingbirds, restricting their access to a wide variety of food sources would be a mistake.