Tips to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Tips to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard



Tips to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Every daylight savings when we spring forward, I get excited. Really excited. Although Denver has a short Hummingbird season compared our our friends down south (I see you Arizona...) daylight savings automatically triggers my Hummy-senses and I pull out all the things from storage. Every spring I'm thinking about how to attact hummingbirds to my yard.  

Joy Salvia Attract Hummingbird to Your YardEven though I'm known for my Bald Eagle photography, my personal Instagram account becomes flooded with my Hummingbird pictures each summer. I have found higher engagement with those posts than my Bald Eagles, which... I get. Hummingbirds are cute, considered hard to photograph and have oodles of personality. Because I have so many photographs, I'm often asked how I attract them to my yard. So, here are my tips to attract Hummingbirds to your yard:


  1. Plant flowers that are rich in nectar and trumpet shaped, such Salvia (Joy, pictured above, is a serious crowd pleaser), Black & Blue Salvia, Coronado Red Hyssop, and Hummingbird Mint (be sure to check these for your planting zones).
  2. Use multiple hummingbird feeders filled with our sugar mixture (see below) in addition to your plants. These little sugar savages like the combo.
  3. Provide perches for the Hummingbirds to rest and observe their surroundings. I took great delight in pointing out a Hummingbird perched on a swing to my husband after he told me it would never work.
  4. Place the feeders and flowers in open areas that are visible to the hummingbirds and away from windows to prevent collisions.
  5. Keep the feeders clean and fresh to prevent mold and bacteria growth.
  6. Put a bubble water fountain in your yard. I use the Alpine Corporation 35" Tall Outdoor 3-Tiered Pedestal Water Fountain and Birdbath and it works like a charm.

Plant Selection for Hummingbird Garden

Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

Making Hummingbird nectar at home is safe and easy - and saves money, too! I like to make a large batch to keep in the fridge for the week. I fill up my feeders every day and before adding the day’s nectar, I rinse my feeders with hot water to clean them.

    1. Nectar is a 4:1 ratio: 1 cup water + ¼ cup white sugar (I make 8 cups water + 2 cups sugar)
    2. Bring water to a boil, remove from heat and add sugar.
    3. Stir with clean metal spoon until sugar is completely dissolved. I love my wooden cooking spoons, but I believe metal is the best here, as nothing can inadvertently contaminate the nectar.
    4. Cool completely then store extra in glass container for week. I do this in my 8-cup Pyrex measuring cup. Be sure to let the nectar come to room temperature before adding to your feeders.

It's very important to note that more sugar is not better. This is a precise mixture and the Hummingbirds know if it's off. If there is too much -or not enough - sugar, they'll stop visiting your feeders.

Which Hummingbird Feeder is Best to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard? 

I have been through my fair share of feeders throughout the years and hands down the Aspects Mini HummBlossom Hummingbird Feeder, 4 oz is the best (as seen in the video above). I have three of them throughout my yard, and since you will be filling them daily, they are the perfect size. Additionally, in the past when I used these with a larger feeder, the Hummers still went to this one 90% of the time. I don't know what it is, but trust me, this is the best. 

How Often do I change Hummingbird Nectar in My Feeder?

Hummingbird in FlowersI recommend changing the Hummingbird nectar every day (others will say every 2-3 days in hot weather, and every 4-5 days in cooler weather). Changing often helps prevent the growth of harmful bacteria and mold and keeps the nectar fresh for the Hummingbirds. I change mine every day regardless of temperature because in my experience, the Hummingbirds stick around when the nectar is constantly fresh and bug free. Last summer, the male Broad-tailed Hummingbird that took ownership of my yard would perch and watch me change the nectar - like, hurry up hooman. These are smart little birds with amazing memories. If they know they are getting fresh food daily, they'll stick around. And more than that, they will come back to your yard year after year.

What insects are drawn to sugar water

Insects that are commonly attracted to sugar water include ants, bees, wasps, and some species of flies. Don't doubt that ants and wasps will climb INTO the Hummingbird feeders (bees are either too fat or too smart to do this). Worst, once they get in there, they can't seem to get out. Hummingbirds will begin to reject your feeders if they have insects inside, and for good reason. I have seen a video on Instagram showing a poor Hummingbird having its tongue grasped by an ant that was inside the feeder. The Hummingbird began a desperate attempt to free itself, which looked painful, as the ant did not let go. Wasps are the biggest threat to Hummingbirds at feeders, as they will become aggressive and Hummingbirds are afraid of them (and, honestly, who isn't?!). In the past, I have put out a bowl of sugar water for the insects in an attempt to keep them from the feeders. It works but I can tell you...ants don't swim. I might have put a stick in the bowl as a lifeline. 

Disease from Hummingbird Feeders

Plant That Attracts HummingbirdsThere are some diseases that can be transmitted through Hummingbird feeders, such as Hummers Candidiasis. It is important to regularly clean and sterilize the feeders to prevent the spread of disease. Rinse them with hot water each time you add new nectar. Don't use soap or chemicals for this - enough hot water will do the trick so long as you are cleaning them regularly. 


4 Tips for Cleaning Hummingbird Feeders

  1. Clean your Hummingbird feeder every time you add new nectar to prevent the growth of mold and bacteria.
  2. Use hot water and a bottle brush to scrub the feeder thoroughly, including all parts and crevices.
  3. Avoid using soap or detergent, which can leave residue that could be harmful to hummingbirds.
  4. Wipe the feeder dry with a clean cloth to remove all traces of dirt and debris.

Harmful Red Dye in Hummingbird Nectar

Tips to Attract Hummingbirds to Your YardNow that I've shown you how easy it is to make your own nectar, let me further persuade you. The red dye in commercial Hummingbird nectar can be harmful to Hummingbirds, and even deadly when consumed too often. A Hummingbird needs to eat about every 15 minutes to keep its metabolism functioning properly. Since nectar is the largest contributor to a Hummingbird's diet (they do eat insects, too) the consumption of dye in commercial food can be significant. I'm personally begging you to avoid using commercial nectar that contains red dye and opt for natural alternatives instead, like the homemade nectar I just told you about! If you love these little birds like I do, why would you feed them something that can kill them?

Now That Hummingbirds are in My Yard, How Do I Photograph Them?

In my next post, I'll talk about photographing Hummingbirds. It's easier than you think! That said, when planting your Hummingbird garden, placing your planters, hanging your feeders and deciding where to put that bubble fountain, consider yourself. Consider the light, where you need to be to have it behind you, and build around that if possible. Each summer I break out my bird blind, which I have lovingly dubbed The Hummer Hut, and put it to the side of my hummingbird garden, as shown here. Although Hummingbirds can be very, very people tolerant, a bird blind doesn't hurt and it keeps you out of the sun. I have been known to spend hours inside mine (I even camped in it once at Goblin Valley State Park....but that's another story). Pack your Hummer Vibes tote with a thermos full of coffee, fruit and whatever else tickles your fancy and spend full a day with these delightful creatures!

Photographing Hummingbirds Inside a Bird Blind

Check the next Blog post for camera settings, tips and more! 


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