How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard

When I first moved in with my husband our little yard was pretty bare except for a dead willow tree and a few oddly place plants. We eventually turned it into a garden. He built a bunch of raised beds while I filled them up and took care of the plants which were mostly herbs and vegetables.


I bought two hummingbird feeders and made my own nectar. Nothing. Not a single hummer. I realized all I had planted was stuff for us to eat and yes they had flowers but not hummingbird flowers.


I got a Fuschia and hung it near the feeder. Within a few days, I spotted a hummingbird and it discovered the feeder pretty quickly. I continued to add to my garden and now I have lost count of my hummingbirds. Most of them are anna's hummingbirds. I have learned there a few key things to have in your yard to attract hummingbirds to your yard:


  1. Flowers

  2. Hummingbird Feeders

  3. Water

  4. Bugs

  5. Shiny Things



Flowers

Flowers are super important and provide nectar, a large part of their diet. Not just any flower will do but there is a wide variety to choose from. Hummingbirds love brightly colored flowers, especially red ones. If you buy them from a nursery they are usually labeled as hummingbird friendly or something along those lines. As a bonus, these flowers usually attract bees and butterflies as well. Choosing plants native to your climate is a safe bet. They are easy for the hummer to recognize and will do just fine in your yard.


I live in the PNW. I did not do a science experiment or anything but these are flowers I have in my yard that seem to be a big hit and bloom at different times:


  • Fuschia (nice to hang near feeders, continue blooms, don't do well in winter outdoors)

  • Blueberries ( Early spring, I don't know if they get much out of them but they always seem to poke around them a lot)

  • Pineapple sage ( Get's pretty big and tall with red flowers mine bloomed late summer waiting to see if it survived the winter)

Lupines and Fox Glove are popular but I don't have a ton of space are toxic to other animals so if you have pets keep that in mind with which flowers you choose.


Of course, you can have other flowers in your yard that hummers might not be able to get much nectar from them but they seem to appreciate and poke at them.


Hummingbird Feeders

It doesn't really matter what kind you get as long as you like to look at it and it comes apart easily to clean. I prefer glass. I have one that has a plastic base and one that is metal with silicone flowers that are removable. The plastic one is easier to clean. I do like the silicone as I can boil them for sanitization. Some have little perches and others don't. I like the perches, the hummers seem to enjoy resting right in front of their food source. My plastic base does not have perches but they are still able to sit it is just a tad slippery. You can buy commercial nectar or make your own. I make my own: here






Water

Yes, hummingbirds need some fresh clean water. My birdbath is a little too deep but I have lots of misters and sprinklers as other sources. They appreciate being able to clean themselves or just cool down during the summer.

Bugs

Bugs are also part of a hummingbird's diet. Spider webs are also what hummingbirds use in their nests! I have a compost bin in my garden. It has a few tiny flies similar to fruit flies. Not sure exactly what they are but they are good enough for hummers to eat. I watched a female hummer snag about 12 after taking a drink from the feeder. This is why I don't use pesticides in our garden. Between the hummingbirds and ladybugs, I don't have too much of a problem.


Shiny Things

I have a few red brightly colored metal flowers near one of my feeders. They have checked it out but it is more there for looks when there are no flowers (winter) to attract them to the actual feeder. Some hummingbirds are starting to stay throughout the winter, especially anna's hummingbird. I wouldn't put too many shiny things in your backyard, you do not want to blind the little winged jewels or yourself. One or two things should be fine.


Good luck in attracting the little guys to your yard. Hope that helps!

A male anna's hummingbird with brilliant iridescent reddish-pink feathers covering his pretty little head with a grey feathers on his belly
One of my regulars