Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Garden
Watching hummingbirds in your garden is one of the loveliest experiences. Hummingbirds may be small, but they are known for being rare and difficult to attract to your garden. While they can be a bit tricky, all you have to do is know what hummingbirds like. Once you do, attracting hummingbirds to your garden is quite simple.
What Do Hummingbirds Eat?
Despite what you might assume, hummingbirds eat a lot. They have to eat all the time. Hummingbirds have one of the highest metabolisms out of all animals, so they need to eat every 10 to 15 minutes.
A single bird drinks nectar from thousands of flowers. So, to attract hummingbirds to your garden, you need to make your yard a buffet of flowers.
Hummingbirds have two sources of food: insects and nectar. Most backyards are full of insects, but what about nectar? Nectar comes from two sources – flowers or homemade nectar. Everyone can recognize the hummingbird feeders you can purchase in the stores. You fill the feeder with either store-bought or homemade nectar.
If you decide to opt for a nectar feeder in your garden, make sure you place it appropriately. Hummingbirds don’t want a hidden feeder because they want to watch for predators. It is best to have multiple feeders on display because hummingbirds are territorial. It isn’t uncommon for them to fight over flowers and feeders.
How to Attract More Insects to Your Garden
Attracting insects to your garden is one of the keys to more hummingbird visits. One of those ways is by leaving ripe fruit or veggies in your garden on a plate or basket. Flies and insects love over-ripe fruit, and the hummingbirds will follow the trail of insects.
Make sure you aren’t using pesticides on your property. Pesticides can spread throughout your yard, even if you use them just in one area. They don’t just kill the bad bugs; they kill the good bugs as well.
Plant early blooming flowers to your garden as well to attract hoverflies and lacewings. Try growing herbs like thyme and oregano because beetles love to hide in them. Tall flowers are perfect for hovering insects. Adding flowers and plants that insects love is a surefire way to attract them to your yard.
How to Make Nectar at Home
Buying nectar at the store is easy, but you might find yourself going through quite a bit. It’s easier and cheaper to make it at home.
- Combine four parts water and one part sugar.
- Boil this mixture for two minutes to dissolve all of the sugar and to remove all bacteria.
- Then, remove the mixture from the heat and let the nectar cool.
- Transfer to the feeder.
You can make extra nectar ahead of time and store it in the freezer. Make sure you don’t use honey or artificial sweeteners. Doing so will cause the batch to spoil fast, and sweeteners are unhealthy for birds.
Don’t add red food coloring to your homemade nectar. Red attracts hummingbirds, along with any bright colors, but most feeders are red. That is enough to attract hummingbirds. Red food coloring are chemicals that are bad for the birds.
Remember that hummingbird feeders require additional attention. Sugar will attract bacteria, so change out the nectar every two to three days. Keeping the feeder in a shady location keeps the nectar fresh for longer.
To clean your hummingbird feeder, rinse it out with white vinegar. Scrub it each time you change the nectar, and you need to scrub the inside of the spout where the birds dip their beak. Regular cleanings reduce wasps and bees coming near the feeder as well.
A Hummingbird’s Favorite Flowers
In the eyes of a hummingbird, all flowers are not created equal!
The best picks are flowers with bright, vivid colors and tube-shaped heads. Hummingbirds have a unique beak, so the flowers need to be easy for them to feed.
A few favorite flowers to include in your garden are:
- Butterfly bush
- Bee Balm
- Trumpet Vine
- Morning Glory
- Red Hot Poker
Do Hummingbirds Like Birdbaths?
Unlike other birds, hummingbirds don’t like birdbaths, but they are a heavy drinker. A hummingbird drinks up to eight times his body weight in water daily, which includes the nectar they drink daily.
Hummingbirds don’t bathe like a type bird; you won’t find them splashing around. They will soak in a shallow pool. Fill up a regular birdbath with a layer of marbles or stones because it is more welcoming.
They prefer moving water, so try to include the sound of dripping or sprinkling. Hummingbirds can hear water sounds from long distances. A device like a bubbler or a sprinkler attracts hummingbirds to your birdbath.
Should You Add Birdhouses?
It is hard to imagine a hummingbird needing a birdhouse because they are busy all the time. Providing places for your visiting hummingbirds encourages them to rest and relax, and they are more likely to return over and over again.
A typical birdhouse isn’t the best choice for hummingbirds because they prefer open areas for their nests. Instead of an average birdhouse, try leaving out a platform along with nesting materials, such as straw and twigs.
Another popular choice is to place safe places for perching throughout your garden. Hummingbirds love trees and shrubs, but you might find a hummingbird on a clothesline, or anywhere that is appealing. Giving several choices is ideal. Make sure your yard has trees and bushes, all in a variety of sizes and shapes.
How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden
Remember all these tricks to attract hummingbirds to your garden. Provide the two sources of food – insects, and nectar. Add brightly colored flowers and attractive places for the birds to stop, like a shallow bath or birdhouses.
It might take time for hummingbirds to visit because they are creatures of habit. Once they discover the oasis you created for them, they will continue to return and will bring their friends as well!