Few things make me smile wider than seeing tiny, fragile little hummingbirds visiting my garden. I consider it a mark of pride, that the garden I’ve planted and maintained works for such delightful birds. Attracting them isn’t always easy though – ask anyone who’s tried and failed at bringing them in. In this article, we’re going to explore how to attract hummingbirds to your garden using an all-of-the-above approach, employing all known tactics for attracting hummingbirds. Some will seem a bit silly but trust the process. If you do these things, you will have hummingbirds in your garden! As long as hummingbirds actually live in your area, that is. Let’s dive right in.
How to attract hummingbirds to your garden
Attracting hummingbirds to your garden is a pretty straightforward process. By creating a habitat that hummingbirds will enjoy calling home, you’ll attract so many to your property. But keep in mind, if any one of these pieces of the puzzle is missing, these beautiful little birds may skip your yard all together. A seasoned gardener will tell you that everything is connected, and the 15 items on this list are definitely connected.
Plant native flowers for local hummingbirds
Flowers are one of the food sources for hummingbirds. If you want to attract them, you’ll want to have plenty of flowers in your yard. But do your research and plant as many native flowers as you can. Native flowers are more likely to provide a complete, natural diet for the hummingbirds in your area. Non-native flowers may not do much for birds that have adapted over thousands and thousands of years to the plants that live in your specific area.
Plant a constantly blooming garden
When researching flowers to plant, consider when they flower. Try to plant flowers that bloom consistently throughout the warmer months. Plant early blooming spring flowers, flowers that bloom from spring into summer, and then early to late fall flowers as well. Keeping a constant natural food source is a vital part of attracting hummingbirds to your garden.
Maintain your flowers
A little active gardening will go a long way. Research each of the flowers that you plant and find the best way to grow them. Often times, removing old flowers, a practice sometimes called ‘dead heading,’ can inspire more rigorous flowering. More flowers will lead to more hummingbirds, so do what you can to get the most out of their blooming periods!
Decorate with orange things
Making your yard attractive to hummingbirds can be as simple as placing more orange decorations in your garden and planting more orange flowers. Hummingbirds are known to be attracted to the color orange, so having a yard with orange things that will catch their attention is a pretty important part of attracting them to your yard. Don’t hesitate to go wild with the orange stuff! Have fun with it.
Place a feeder for the hummingbirds
When native flowers aren’t immediately available, hummingbirds will readily feed from special hummingbird feeders placed around your property. This isn’t the best or most complete diet and should only be a small part of your overall strategy for attracting them. Don’t throw up a special bird feeder for the hummingbirds in your area and expect that to be the only thing that’ll draw them in and keep them in.
Then add some more hummingbird feeders
So you’ve added a hummingbird feeder. Great! Before long, you should see hummingbirds visiting and enjoying the nectar you put out for them. But every once in a while, you’ll attract a mean hummingbird. Sometimes one will be unusually aggressive and chase everyone away. The solution? Place a few more feeders! And after that, maybe one or two more. This will ensure a diverse food source for your little yard birds.
Don’t spray pesticides
There are two reasons that you shouldn’t spray pesticides. The first being that you can unintentionally harm birds, including hummingbirds, with them. You definitely won’t have any hummingbirds on your property if you accidentally kill them! The other consideration here is that hummingbirds eat pest insects! They don’t just drink sugar water from feeders and nectar from flowers. Allow your garden to be a biome in balance, don’t spray pesticides.
Make plenty of perches
Hummingbirds are known for being birds on the go, but believe it or not, they do like to perch and take a load off. Their favorite places to perch for a moment are in trees and dense shrubs. Adding more trees and shrubs to your property will give these birds more places to perch and relax for a while. You can’t have too many perches! Perch up your garden!
Provide a water source
Hummingbirds both bathe and drink water from sources provided by you. A standard bird bath that has a place for them to perch will do the trick. You can also add a mister to your property. Just keep in mind that the water use on misters can run pretty high. We recommend setting to a timer and misting during hot parts of the day if you do go the misting route.
Provide nesting materials hummingbirds will use
Hummingbirds make nests out of a wide variety of items, like mud, sticks, twigs, grass clippings, and even spider webs. So before you go knocking down an unsightly old spider web, consider leaving it so that your local birds can use the webs to make a nest. It might seem yucky to you to raise your babies wrapped up in spider webs but hey, it works for the hummingbirds. Just go with it.
Provide a nesting site
Hummingbirds won’t use a nest box. Instead, they opt to make their nests on branches and other places that they can easily perch one of their tiny nests. Plant trees and shrubs that are tall and dense, providing lots of viable nesting locations. If you notice a tree or bush that hummingbirds seem to favor as a nesting site, place hummingbird feeders nearby. When sitting on their eggs, they appreciate having an easy food source that’s close by for them to access.
Be very careful when pruning trees and shrubs
Hummingbird nests are extremely small and blend in well with their surroundings. Frankly, they can be easy to miss. If you value having hummingbirds gracing your garden, be extra cautious when pruning trees and shrubs. Check into the nesting period for your local hummingbird species and try to plan your pruning around when they nest. Pruning outside of their nesting period will reduce the likelihood that you accidentally damage a nest, break eggs, or kill babies.
Attract small insects for your hummingbirds
Hummingbirds don’t just drink nectar. They also eat small insects, like spiders, flies, and other little bugs. A good way to attract hummingbirds is to attract fruit flies. We recommend hanging a basket away from entrances to your home and placing a few pieces of old fruit in it. This will help bring in fruit flies and other small insects that these cute little birds will enjoy dining on.
Keep a compost heap
Similar to the above tip, keeping a compost heap will attract all sorts of good insects to your property. They will eat away at the rotting material in the compost heap and reproduce. Your local hummingbirds will love the chance to gobble up some of these little insects.
Want to attract more wildlife to your garden? Check out some of our other guides: