How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

How to attract hummingbirds to your yard to eat aphids, mosquitoes and other insect pests.

Besides being beautiful, hummingbirds eat mosquitoes and other other insects that we consider pests in our yards and gardens. They are also important pollinators along with bees and butterflies. 

Read on to learn how to attract hummingbirds to our backyards, using plants, habitat and other simple and quick ideas.

How to attract hummingbirds to your yard and garden

Evidently I've only lived on the fringe of hummingbird habitat in the past. 

Before moving to Oak Hill, I'd sometimes put out a feeder and hope for the best. I rarely saw more than a couple in an entire summer, even though our neighbors had dozens. 

One neighbor told me she'd carry the feeders indoors to refill them, and would be attacked by the little birds as she came back out the door in their hurry to get to the nectar.

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I've occasionally seen a few here in Oklahoma. Sometimes one would fly over my head down at the horse barn or in the front yard, the thrumming of their wings alerting me to their presence. 

Even though I'd put out a feeder I never attracted more of the little jewels to our yard.

But one summer was different...

Even though I hadn't purposefully tried to attract them, by making changes in our yard I had provided them with a habitat that was perfect for them.

Before the hummingbirds migrated south for the winter, I had four feeders and I counted more than twelve little birds at one time (I lost count at twelve).

For years afterwards, hummingbirds returned to our home, built their nests in our fruit trees and raised their babies. And we enjoyed they all!

Why attract hummingbirds to your yard

As well as being a great source of entertainment for humans, hummingbirds eat aphids, gnats, mosquitoes and other insects, and are excellent pollinators along with bees and butterflies.

Plants that attract hummingbirds

Brightly-colored tubular flowers are the hummingbirds' favorite blooms, and they prefer the color red. Herbs such as bee balm, lavender and comfrey attract hummingbirds. Flowers such as hollyhocks, petunias, daylilies, hibiscus and peonies are also favorites.

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, plant flowers they like, provide plenty of places for them to perch and rest, and if possible provide a source of moving water such as a sprinkler that puts out just a mist of water or a dripping water feature.

Why did we have so many last year? What was different? 

I pondered the question for awhile, and decided that I had more flowers in my yard last year than I've had before. Hubby gave me several more rose bushes for Mother's Day, and I'd planted more flower seeds and herbs in pots. 

The fruit trees have grown immensely and provide shelter and resting places near the feeders.

Not only did the hummingbirds sip from the feeders, I often saw them sipping from the roses and other flowers.

What kind of hummingbird feeder is best

Personally I prefer glass feeders, but plastic ones are less expensive. The last feeder I bought was plastic because that's all the store still had in stock. Some of the plastic ones on the store shelves had already split or were crushed, so I know I'll have to replace this one sooner rather than later.

Amazon even has a cute copper swing (affiliate link) for hummingbirds to perch on, but I think it would be relatively easy to make one myself. Several times I saw a hummer perched on our swingset's trapeze bar.

Homemade hummingbird nectar is easy to make.

How to care for hummingbird feeders

Hang feeders in the shade and wash them weekly to prevent bacteria from growing that would harm the hummers. 

How to clean a hummingbird feeder

How to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

How to make hummingbird nectar

You can make nectar from scratch to avoid preservatives and dyes. Don't add food coloring to the solution; it isn't necessary. Buying a feeder made of red glass like this one (affiliate link) would be a better idea.

To make hummingbird nectar combine four parts water and one part white sugar in a saucepan. (If you need more information, see my post on measuring by parts.)

Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let the solution cool to room temperature before filling the feeders. 

Refrigerate any leftover liquid. 

Ants, bees and wasps

If you notice ants raiding your feeder, an ant trap (affiliate link) will probably eliminate the problem. My current hummingbird feeders have an indented top which can be filled with water to help deter ants. 

Here are seven additional ways to keep insects such as bees and wasps out of your hummingbird feeders from Birds and Blooms.

When to hang your hummingbird feeders

Hang your feeders before the hummingbirds arrive in your area so that the first arrivals will have plenty of nectar, and leave them up for two weeks after you see the last hummer in the fall so stragglers will have a food source on their long southward journey. 

Journey North has a hummingbird migration map where you can track their progress and know when to expect them in your area.

Hummingbird photography

Hummingbirds are usually so focused on the feeders that it's relatively easy to get close enough to take photos. 

In the cool of the evening when the feeders were in the shade, I'd sit in a lawn chair nearby and wait for them to decide I was no threat. With a zoom lens I could click away to my heart's content.

The images below are affiliate links. You can read my full disclosure here. 

How to attract hummingbirds to your yard.


My hope is to inspire you, and to encourage your homesteading plans and your dreams of a simple, self-reliant, God-dependent life. You can follow me at:
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