You’ve made the nectar, hung the hummingbird feeder in the perfect spot, and now it’s time to sit back and enjoy watching all of the little birds come enjoy your lawn and garden. You wait and wait, and wait some more, but still nothing. You’ve done everything you know to do, but there are actually a few other tricks that you can use to attract hummingbirds to your location. Here we’ll explore a few tips on how to captivate hummingbirds, so you will be a spot they visit for years to come.
#1: Mind the ants and bees. When ants get together, they can gang up and create big problems for hummingbirds. While bees won’t harm the hummingbirds necessarily, they will create a huge nuisance and hummers would rather find food elsewhere than have to deal with them. You’ll want to combat these natural pests, while also protecting them. Remember bees pollinate flowers too!
One of the main reasons hummingbirds love the color red is because bees aren’t drawn to it. Focus on the red and move your hummingbird feeder a few feet from its current location if bees become a problem. The little hummers will easily locate the feeder again, but bees will be none the wiser. You can also put a small amount of old nectar on the ground in a shallow container, and gradually move it daily away from the feeder. Bees will follow the old nectar to whatever spot you are relocating them to. For ants, make sure you get a hummingbird feeder with an ant moat and hang your feeder with fishing line. Ants can’t crawl down it as easily. Moving the feeder will also help deter the ants.
#2: Create a natural habitat. Hummingbirds go where the natural nectar is. While they love the nectar you provide in your feeder, they also love flowers. Plant flowers like Cardinals for their red color, Salvia, Hollyhock (which will also bring beautiful butterflies to your oasis), Delphinium, and more. Have a blooming schedule, so you can have a long summer of natural habitat for the hummers to feed on. If for any reason, your feeder empties before you have time to refill it, or you go out of town, you’ll still be able to continue to provide food for your hummingbird community through the flowers. Being a reliable source of nectar is important to keeping hummers coming to your feeders on a daily basis.
#3: Add more red to your lawn. Tie red and orange cloth to the trees in your area and above your feeder. If you want to use red nectar, be sure you don’t make it yourself by adding dye. There are options to purchase that use natural ingredients, however, clear nectar will generally be the best choice. Incorporate red flowers and lawn ornaments into your landscape, and soon you’ll see the curious hummingbirds checking out the nooks and crannies around your lawn and garden.
#4: Take care of your feeders. When you just let feeders sit and don’t clean and change the nectar out on a regular basis, the hummingbirds in your area will soon sense the spoilage and find fresher food. When the weather is extremely hot, you should change the nectar out every other day, if not everyday. As the weather cools down, you can change it a little less, but keep a close eye on the hummingbird activity.
You can use water and a small amount of bleach for cleaning, or you can use a water and vinegar mixture. Be sure that you read the cleaning direction thoroughly on the feeders you purchase. While some say you can put them in the dishwasher, you may want to rinse them again with hot water, so there is no soap residue left in the feeding tube.
#5: Pay attention to your nectar recipe. In order to protect hummingbirds, you need to follow the proper nectar recipes and not get too fancy. Don’t add artificial sweeteners, honey, sugar in the raw, or any thing else that complicated the recipe. Honey will cause spoilage to happen much faster and the other sugars are too complex for the bird’s liver to break down. You just need to boil 4 cups water and then stir in 1 cup of refined white table sugar, let cool and add to the feeder after you have emptied any old nectar and cleaned it.
When you keep the nectar fresh, you’ll start seeing some pretty regular visitors throughout the day. If you’re in doubt, purchase the nectar online. You have pre-measured packets, powder you add to water without boiling, and even nectar ready to pour. Don’t overcomplicate this process because you have tons of options!
#6: Leave the spiders alone. While hummingbirds can get caught in a spider’s web, and this can be a very deadly situation for them, you should not remove the spiders from the landscape you are trying to attract hummers. Hummingbirds actually like to eat spiders if they can get to them first. Plus, hummers use spiders silk to make their nests because it keeps the nest strong, while also allowing it to expand as the baby birds grow.
#7: Add more feeders. Hummingbirds are very territorial and sometime one hummer will protect a feeder and chase off others that try to use it. Add more feeders to your porch, garden, and lawn, so you have plenty of nectar for everyone. Spread them out so the hummingbirds don’t feel threatened by being so close to one another. You can also invest in a hummingbird feeder that has large feeding flowers that offer the hummers a little privacy when they are eating. Sometimes not seeing others feeding beside them will help them let their guard down a little bit.
#8: Have patience. Depending on your region, it might take a little time to get noticed by hummingbirds, but if you follow the tips above, you will start to see them come by. In fact, it will probably take less time than you think. Soon, you’ll be feeding the little hummingbirds out of the palm of your hand!