Several species of hummingbirds live across the United States, so no matter where you are, they're likely in your area. All you need to do is provide them with a pleasant place to hang out and feed on some tasty nectar. Create a garden that caters to the needs of hummingbirds, attracting them to your yard so you can watch these fascinating, little and fast-moving birds frolicking outside your windows.
Hummingbirds feed on the sweet nectar produced by the flowers of some types of plants. Many of these plants actually evolved to produce nectar in tubular-shaped flowers to attract hummingbirds because the birds help to pollinate them. Include a variety of flowering plants with nectar-producing, tubular flowers in your garden to lure hummingbirds to it. Choose local, non-invasive species of plants with red, pink or orange blossoms. Hummingbirds are attracted to these bright colors, especially red, so you can further tempt the birds to come into your garden by tying red ribbons around your trees or shrubs.
Place a few hummingbird feeders throughout your garden to provide a consistent food source for them, even when your plants aren't flowering. Hang the feeders from trees or on the stands that come with many of these feeders. Mix a solution consisting of one part sugar and four parts boiling water, to produce some tasty nectar for the birds. Let the mixture cool to room temperature and fill your hummingbird feeders. Clean out the feeders twice a week with vinegar and rinse them with hot water. The sugar solution can spoil and mold if left out for too long. Only use sugar, not honey which is toxic to hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds love a good bath because they are fastidious creatures that will bathe several times a day if given a pleasant place to do so. Provide the little guys with a mister hanging from a tree or placed amid your shrubs. The mist waters your plants and cools your yard, while providing a pleasant bathing area for the hummingbirds. These devices connect to your garden hose to create a fine spray of water that is delicate enough for hummingbirds to bathe in when they fly through the fine mist. You can find misters in garden supply or hardware stores.
When trying to attract hummingbirds to your yard, don't use any pesticides on your plants. Not only are they toxic to hummingbirds, but they will also kill off another of their potential food sources that could lure them to your garden -- bugs. In addition to nectar, hummingbirds also eat various insects, including mosquitoes, gnats, spiders and aphids. These garden pests provide hummingbirds with the protein, fat and nitrogen they need in their diets to survive. Leave any spider webs you find in your garden alone, because hummingbirds use these webs to form their nests and feed on the insects they find inside them.
- Hummingbirds.net: Attracting Hummingbirds
- Mother Nature Network: How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard
- Operation RubyThroat: Hummingbird Feeding Hints
- Alabama Cooperative Extension System: How to Attract Hummingbirds
- Bird Watcher's Digest: Top 10 Things You Can Do to Attract Hummingbirds
- Bird Watcher's Digest: Hummingbird Gardening Tips for Your Region
- Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences: Attracting Hummingbirds
- Hilton Pond Center for Piedmont Natural History: Hummingbird Nutrition: Nectar is Sweet but Insufficient
Based in Las Vegas, Susan Paretts has been writing since 1998. She writes about many subjects including pets, finances, crafts, food, home improvement, shopping and going green. Her articles, short stories and reviews have appeared on City National Bank's website and on The Noseprint. Paretts holds a Master of Professional Writing from the University of Southern California.