Attracting Hummingbirds to your Back Yard

May 2, 2010

Locate your hummingbird feeder in the same spot year after year, as returning hummers will come back to last year’s exact location, expecting to find the feeder there. To help ensure attracting them, it’s best to meet their expectations!


They may not spot your feeder relocated to the other end of your yard.

It’s best to place your feeder near tubular flowers, red or orange in color. Flowers with these characteristics attract insects, which, along with nectar, are vital in the hummingbird diet. Hummers consume insects and derive protein from them. A bush or tree near your feeder provides welcome perching.

If possible, each spring install your feeder before insects arrive and before flowers bloom. This wins hummers to your food source before they are established solely on nature’s bounty.

Hang your feeder in a partially shaded area, direct sun can cause the sugar and water nectar mixture to separate and leak from your feeder.

A feeder should be cleaned thoroughly once a week in warm water and white vinegar to remove residue. A stiff bottle brush or hand-mop is useful. Soap or detergent are not recommended, especially if you have a vacuum type feeder which relies on capillary action (which soap interferes with). We recommend fresh nectar weekly; old solutions can ferment or produce a mold harmful to hummers. Hummers are fussy and will not come to feeders that have been neglected. They are quickly discouraged when they find feeders empty.

Hummers are very territorial and will fight at a feeder. When this happens it is best to set up another feeder in another spot to stop the fighting. Locate it about six feet from the other feeder.

Do not use any pesticides on flowers from which hummingbirds feed.

Making Your Own Nectar

Use 4 parts water and 1 part sugar. Boil this solution for two or three minutes on your stovetop, not in your microwave. Boiling helps retard fermentation and renders the syrup to the proper consistency. Store the solution in a closed container in the refrigerator. Do not substitute honey for sugar in this recipe. Honey can cause a fatal fungus disease in hummingbirds.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

C Reynolds From Mn March 13, 2011 at 8:37 pm

We have an owl that just kind of moved into the lilac bush next to our house. We have been able to get some great photos of him, but we are not sure what kind of owl he is, we think he might be a Barred Owl, but not sure. How can I upload a photo to have some help identifying what kind of owl it is?

Duncraft March 28, 2011 at 11:00 am

Hi C. Reynolds! Sorry we missed this comment. Why don’t you upload it to our Facebook Fan page? You’ll get lots of responses there from people who’d love to help you ID your owl! Here’s the link:

June March 30, 2011 at 4:26 pm

You say to put our feeders near flowers so that we can attract the hummers. However, we do not have any flowers when they return anymore than we have bugs. All of your other suggestions do work. Providing nesting materials for these tiny gems can also help.

Cheryl April 3, 2011 at 11:29 am

We had over 100 Hummers last year ! They have just started returning and we have four, so far ! Looking forward the seeing the rest of them, soon ! They are such a joy in our lives !

Chris April 4, 2011 at 9:46 am

Is your recipe 4to1 for hummers give them all the nutrition they need or do they need a supplement or do they get that from available flowers?

Saniyah Belt February 28, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Really informative post.Really looking forward to read more. Many obliged.

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