How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden
Hummingbirds are easily distinguishable from other bird species due to their small size and the unique humming sound they make when flapping their wings. In addition to being fun to watch as they deftly move from flower to flower in your yard, these tiny creatures provide a number of important benefits. In particular, their stature allows them to pollinate flowers that other birds cannot reach.
Creating a Hummingbird-Friendly Yard
One great way to get hummingbirds to stop by for a visit is to create a yard or garden filled with their favorite things. Hummingbirds love many different varieties of trees, shrubs and vines, including azalea, lantana, coral honeysuckle and morning glory, as these provide ideal nesting and shelter. They also are attracted to colorful perennial and annual flowers, such as cardinal flower, yucca, fuchsia and impatiens.
As with most birds, hummingbirds have no sense of smell, but they do have keen eyesight. Bright red dish-style nectar feeders are a sure way to draw the attention of a hummingbird as it soars over your yard in search of food. Finding out the date of the typical springtime return of the hummingbird in your area and hanging the feeders five to 10 days in advance is a an excellent way to put out the welcome mat!
Keep It Clean
Hummingbirds are fanatical about cleanliness. A dirty, neglected feeder is a sure way to get any self-respecting hummingbird to fly the coop. Wash the feeders frequently to limit the spread of mold and bacteria. Place relatively small amounts of nectar in their feeders to avoid spoilage. A source of misting water, such as a sprinkler, attracts hummingbirds and provides them with an easy way to take a quick shower, which they like to do several times a day!
Because hummingbirds are so concerned about their hygiene, they’re constantly on the lookout for convenient places to perch and preen. Clotheslines, thin vines, trellises and wires all offer ideal places for hummingbirds to cool their heels and attend to their business. Their territorial nature makes them prefer perches that are out in the open so they can quickly spot other birds that try to invade their turf.
Don’t Bother with Birdhouses
Don’t expect to attract hummingbirds by placing birdhouses or nesting boxes on your property. Hummingbirds prefer to make their own accommodations by building cup-shaped nests in trees and shrubs. However, they won’t mind a bit if you place lint, string and even animal fur in their preferred nesting spots, which they will put to good use during nest construction.
Keeping Hummingbirds In and Pests Out
While flowers, nectar and water are excellent hummingbird attractants, they may also serve as an open invitation to other animals looking for food. From my extensive gardening experience, I’ve discovered Critter Ridder® by Havahart® is a highly effective animal repellent. It’s made from all-natural ingredients that won’t harm the environment or your family pets.
Now that you know the best ways to attract hummingbirds, enjoy watching these fascinating and beneficial creatures as they take up residence in your yard and garden!
Image: Danny Perez