If you’re a nature lover, there’s nothing quite like the sight of a ruby-throated hummingbird flitting around your garden. These tiny buzzing birds are a common sight east of the Mississippi River and frequent visitors to residential gardens.
How can you attract these tiny, beautiful creatures to your yard? Fortunately, there are a few simple steps you can take to attract ruby-throated hummingbirds and provide a safe, welcoming place for them to feed and nest.
Just follow these 8 tips.
1. Set Up A Hummingbird Feeder
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are nectar lovers, therefore you can attract them to your yard by providing a supplemental source of nectar in the form of a hummingbird feeder.
Hang the feeder in a quiet place away from the hustle and bustle of your family’s activities.
You can purchase special hummingbird feeder mixes or make your own by boiling four parts water with one part sugar.
Skip the red food coloring. The ruby-throated hummingbirds will still be able to locate the sugar water and the artificial dyes can pose a health risk to the tiny birds.
Clean and refill your hummingbird feeders often. In the hot sun, the sugar water can quickly ferment and become toxic to the ruby-throated hummingbirds.
2. Attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds With Nectar-Rich Plants
Fill your flower gardens with nectar-rich plants. The ruby-throated hummingbirds will be attracted to your yard by these natural sources of nectar.
Plants like honeysuckle, bee balm, columbine, sweet Williams, blue sage, cardinal flowers, and butterfly milkweed.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds are attracted to tubular flowers and flowers that are red or orange in color. The trumpet vine is one of their favorites, as are red petunias, canna lilies, salvia, and hibiscus.
Plant similar colored flowers together to further attract the hummingbirds.
3. Keep Them Away From Chemicals
In addition to nectar, ruby-throated hummingbirds eat small insects.
If you want to keep the little hummers around your yard, skip the harsh chemical insecticides and pesticides. These products remove an important food source from your yard and can potentially hurt the ruby-throated hummingbirds.
You should also steer clear of chemical fertilizers. If you need to control the pests in your garden and feed your flowers, use all-natural, organic methods instead.
4. Give Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds A Place To Drink
Although ruby-throated hummingbirds satisfy most of their hydration needs by drinking nectar, they still need access to fresh water.
Try adding a shallow bird bath to your garden or setting up a water mister. The birds can drink and play in the water.
5. Recreate The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird’s Native Habitat
To attract ruby-throated hummingbirds to your yard, make your landscaping a recreation of their native habitat. You can do this by eliminating all non-native plants and replacing them with native ones.
Ruby-throated hummingbirds have evolved to seek out these native plants and the native plants have evolved to use the hummingbirds as pollinators.
Nature has devised a system that works well, but invasive, non-native plants can throw a wrench into it.
6. Create Height And Structure For Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds
When designing your outdoor space, remember that ruby-throated hummingbirds need perches and shelter at varying heights.
Plant small trees or shrubs, especially flowering ones like pink azaleas, redbud, tulip tree, and coralberry.
Shrubs and bushes will provide the ruby-throated hummingbirds with plenty of nesting sites, as well as resting spots.
7. Provide Them With Nesting Material
When the ruby-throated hummingbirds make their nests, they line them with the down from milkweed or thistle. If you have these plants growing nearby, the hummingbirds are more likely to nest in your yard.
In addition to shrubs and bushes, ruby-throated hummingbirds will build their nests in pine, oak, maple, birch, and poplar trees. If you have these trees in your yard, they will be attractive to the birds.
8. Take Care When Doing Garden Maintenance
Ruby-throated hummingbirds seem to prefer well-maintained gardens, but take care when doing garden maintenance.
Don’t be too eager to destroy spiderwebs, especially during nesting season. The ruby-throated hummingbirds use spider webs to weave their nests.
Inspect shrubs and trees before you start trimming. Ruby-throated hummingbirds often make their nests in the thickest part of the branches at the top of the shrubs.
Look at crotches where thin branches grow from the main branches.
Attracting ruby-throated hummingbirds to your garden doesn’t have to be difficult. By providing a source of nectar, creating shelter, eliminating pesticides and insecticides, and offering a water source, you’ll be able to create a safe, welcoming environment for these beautiful birds.