How To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard (15 Helpful Tips)


The vibrant and iridescent colors of hummingbird wings can brighten up any yard. So how do you make your yard a place hummingbirds want to be?

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, offer them food, water, and shelter. Multiple feeders specifically for hummingbirds can prevent territory fights and low resources. You can also plant flowers that produce a lot of nectar and bushes for nesting spots.

Create a safe environment with plenty of resources and attractive colors and you’ll have many hummingbirds coming for a visit.

15 Tips To Attract Hummingbirds To Your Backyard

1. Know Your Local Species

There are 15 species of hummingbirds that live in the United States.

Use the below guide to determine which types of hummingbirds live in your area, and when you can see them.

AreaTime of YearMigrating/Breeding/ResidentCommon Species
Midwest to East CoastSpring-SummerBreeding/MigratingRuby-Throated Hummingbird
Texas to Alabama along the Gulf of MexicoYear-Round (uncommon)Uncommon residentBuff-Bellied Hummingbird
West of Texas to WashingtonSpring-Early FallBreeding/MigratingBlack-Chinned Hummingbird
Midwest to West Coast, Pacific NorthwestJuly-May migration, May-July breedingMigrating (Midwest-West Coast), Breeding (Pacific Northwest)Rufous Hummingbird
California to Northwest RockiesSpring (coastal)-Early Fall (mountains)BreedingCalliope Hummingbird
Highland meadows in the Rocky MountainsEarly March-Early AugustBreedingBroad-Tailed Hummingbird
West Coast, ArizonaYear-RoundResidentAnna’s Hummingbird
Southern California and ArizonaLate Winter-SummerMigrationAllen’s Hummingbird
Southern California, Southwest ArizonaYear-Round, Spring breedingResident (Breeding range extends further north and east)Costa’s Hummingbird
Southeast ArizonaMid to Late SummerBreedingViolet-Crowned Hummingbird
Southern Arizona and New MexicoSpring-SummerBreedingRivoli’s, Blue-Throated Mountain Gem, Broad-Billed
Southern Arizona and New Mexico, Southwest TexasSpring-SummerBreedingLucifer Hummingbird
SouthwestSummer-Winter (uncommon)Breeding/Resident (uncommon)White-Eared Hummingbird

2. Plant Nectar-Rich Flowers

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The majority of a hummingbird’s diet is nectar, the sugary liquid that certain flowers produce. So, if you want to attract hummingbirds to your yard, you have to provide food.

Natural nectar is best, so fill your yard with flowers that hummingbirds love.

These include beebalm, horsemint, honeysuckle, and sage. But you should also try to grow plants that are native to your area. This helps support natural ecosystems and reduces the risk of harmful, invasive species. 

3. Add Artificial Hummingbird Feeders

Natural plants are a great choice for any yard but give your hummingbird’s food supply a boost with artificial feeders.

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Artificial feeders are handy if you don’t have room for many flowers (or you just don’t have a green thumb). They’re easy to fill with store-bought or homemade nectar, and you can move them around your yard with ease.

4. Hang Your Feeders Early

Hummingbirds need to know the best sources of food and water as soon as they arrive in an area. That way they don’t waste energy looking for them or get stuck with low-quality sources.

Make sure you put out your feeders and water as early in the hummingbird season as you can. This will increase your chances of being a first choice for the hummingbirds, meaning you’ll see even more of them.

5. Choose The Right Kind Of Feeder

Hummingbirds aren’t the only animals that enjoy nectar.

Sometimes, bees will swarm on nectar feeders if there aren’t enough flowers for them in other areas. These bees can prevent hummingbirds from accessing the feeders.

Try using a saucer-style feeder that keeps the nectar far away from the edge. Bees and other insects won’t be able to reach the nectar. But hummingbirds can use their long beaks to reach the nectar just fine.

If you already have a regular feeder, you can also add bee guards. These will put space between the nectar and the access port so the bees can’t reach it.

6. Hang Multiple Feeders

Another way to ensure your hummingbirds have enough food even with competition is hanging multiple feeders. Your beautiful visitors can then have their choice of food.

Certain hummingbird species, such as Rufous and Anna’s hummingbirds, are bullies at feeders. By having multiple feeders, you’re giving less aggressive hummingbirds the opportunity to eat in peace.

7. Don’t Forget The Water

Hummingbirds are famous for their love of nectar, but they have to drink and bathe, too. Therefore, it’s important to provide them with clean water to drink and in which to wash themselves.

Try using a fixture with moving water that mimics natural streams and ponds. Hummingbirds don’t like standing bird baths as much as other birds.

8. Choose The Right Spots For Food And Water

If you really want to attract hummingbirds, choose your placement of feeders and water fixtures with care.

Hummingbirds like having their food and water sources near good nesting spots. Place your yard fixtures near shrubs and low trees so they have easy access.

See also  Do Birds Use Birdhouses In Winter? [How To See Birds All Year Long]

For artificial feeders, try keeping them out of direct sunlight. The light and heat can spoil the nectar faster, forcing you to change it more often.

If hummingbirds think your yard has bad food, they’ll learn not to visit.

9. Change The Nectar Feeders Frequently

Nectar is just sugar and water, whether you make it yourself or buy it from the store.

If you have a lot of hummingbirds visiting your yard, you want to keep an eye on the nectar levels. You don’t want to run out and have the hummingbirds go to a more abundant source.

Even if your hummingbirds don’t eat all of the nectar, it’s still important to change it every few days. This prevents bacteria from developing, which can be harmful to your feathery friends.

On the topic of bacteria, do not use honey in your homemade nectar mixtures. Bacteria develop much easier in honey.

And if the mix isn’t right, it can be dangerous, too. The honey can be too thick for the small birds to eat and even stick to their feathers.

Instead, use one part sugar to four parts water and mix well.

10. Keep Everything Clean

Keeping your nectar free of spoilage is important, but so is keeping your water and plants clean. You should clean your water fixtures about every two weeks. If you see algae growth, clean it right away so it doesn’t continue.

Clean your feeders every two to four weeks in addition to changing the food every two or three days.

You should even keep your plants nice and tidy. Trim away any deadheads and unruly branches so the hummingbirds have good spots to rest.

11. Spread The Color Red

Colorful backyards are not only a pleasant sight for you, but also for hummingbirds. They love the color red, so fill your backyard with it wherever you can.

Red flowers like petunias are an obvious choice, but you can also buy red hummingbird feeders.

12. Don’t Use Pesticides

Put the pesticides away and welcome insects to your yard.

Hummingbirds need protein in addition to the sugary energy that nectar provides. They get this protein by eating small insects, so allowing certain bugs to flourish in your yard helps hummingbirds.

Plus, pesticides can harm your plants and other animals, including hummingbirds. If you really have a pest problem, use natural deterrents rather than harsh chemicals.

You may want to avoid attracting praying mantises, though. Some species will attack hummingbirds!

13. Safeguard Your Windows

To attract the most hummingbirds, you want to provide a safe environment for them. After all, they’re not likely to return to a spot that puts them in danger, even if there is food.

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One of the best ways to keep hummingbirds safe is by modifying your windows.

Window panes can reflect your open backyard and the sky, which can trick hummingbirds into flying into them. This can stun, injure, or even kill the small birds.

Use coverings with a frosted tint and keep attractive objects (like feeders) away from your windows.

14. Keep Pets Out Of The Yard

A single outdoor cat can kill up to 100 birds a year. Keep your hummingbirds safe by keeping your cats indoors or giving them an outdoor enclosure.

Curious dogs may also snap at small hummingbirds, so keep them inside or out of the yard as well.

15. Provide Nesting Areas

Hummingbirds like to sleep and build nests in thick shrubs and short deciduous trees. By planting these types of plants in your yard, you’re creating a perfect habitat for hummingbirds.

Plant them in areas where you can hang your feeders or place water fixtures. Having food and shelter all in one place is a great way to attract more hummingbirds to your yard.

In Summary

The best ways to attract hummingbirds to your yard are to provide food, water, shelter, and safety. Artificial feeders and flowers provide food, and moving water sources provide a place to drink and bathe.

Use shrubbery to provide nesting spots, keep your yard clear of pets as much as possible, and cover your windows.

Follow the other tips in this guide to ensure you have a backyard that hummingbirds will love.

Get Our FREE Bird Feeder Cheat Sheet
Want more birds in your backyard? Get simple tips on attracting feathered friends and maximizing your bird feeding setup. Our free cheat sheet has got you covered!
Download The FREE Cheat Sheet

James Goodman

James is a native Texan with a love for birding and outdoor adventures. When he's not birdwatching, you can find him hiking, camping or playing the piano.

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