Learn how to attract hummingbirds to your home by creating an attractive garden and providing sources of food and water. Hummingbirds delight bird watchers with their high energy, hovering and of course, the hum of tiny wings beating more than 50 times each minute. In North America, most people are familiar with the Ruby-throated hummingbird, a migratory species with a range that includes nearly every state and province.
Although other species of hummingbirds also appear in North America, especially west of the Rocky Mountains, most people will have the greatest success appealing to the curious nature of Ruby-throated hummingbirds. These hummingbirds generally live and migrate alone as opposed to in flocks, so while they do tend to winter closer to Central America and return north in the early months of the year, you won't see them in flocks.
Males tend to head north first, followed several days by later females. All together the migration progress can take up to three or more months to complete, which means that hummingbirds begin appearing in several spots all at once. Consult migratory maps for your area to see when they're most likely to return. Then, get planting: migration patterns are sometimes determined by where the flowers hummingbirds like best are already in bloom.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are curious by nature and almost always act on that curiosity. Create a garden that invites hummingbirds to visit by planting a variety of annuals, perennials and vines that provide them with a source of food. Avoid the use of pesticides and herbicides. They're not only toxic if hummingbirds ingest them, but they kill the insects hummingbirds rely on for protein in addition to the pests you're trying to control.
Some choices to consider for your garden include:
How to Attract Hummingbirds with Feeders
Most people aren't aware that a hummingbird's diet consists largely of protein in the form of small insects and that the nectar from flowers-or sugar solution in a hummingbird feeder-provides them the quick bursts of energy they need to feed.
The hummingbird feeders you find at your local gardening supply shop or in mail-order catalogues are usually made from ceramic, plastic or glass. When you're choosing a feeder for your yard, look for designs that are easy to assemble and even easier to clean. You may find that you prefer a basin-type feeder over a bottle-shaped feeder for that reason. The fact is that hummingbirds don't care what it looks like so long as it provides them with a fresh, clean source of food.
Choosing a Location for Your Feeder
If you've never tried to attract hummingbirds before, position your feeder near your hummingbird garden or other clusters of flowering plants and shrubs. This way, new visitors to your yard will be instinctively drawn to the garden and more likely to discover the sugar solution you've set out. Once you have one hummingbird that's using your feeder, any others who show up and see this will follow its example.
Making Your Own Feeding Solutions
While you can purchase commercially made hummingbird feeding solutions, it's a better idea to make your own. Commercial solutions often contain artificial or other colorings that aren't necessary or necessarily good for hummingbirds. It's true that hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, but there are other ways to catch their eye without coloring their food.
To make you own feeding solution, start with pure white cane sugar, if you can find it. Don't use honey, fruit, brown sugar or gelatin mixes in your hummingbird feeder. These substances all either ferment when they mix with water or contain other harmful additives that can make hummingbirds sick or worse.
Work with a ratio of 4 parts water to 1 part cane sugar. You can boil the water first if you like, but it's not necessary. Mix the water and sugar together to form the syrup and fill your feeder. Store any unused syrup, covered in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Homemade hummingbird feeders serve a dual purpose: delivering much needed nutrition to hummingbirds and filling your yard with birdsong.
Knowing how to make hummingbird nectar is essential if you want to attract these fascinating birds to your landscape.
Feeding hummingbirds is easy to do, and the reward far outweighs the costs.
Where do hummingbirds live? It depends on the type of bird and the time of year.