How to attract hummingbirds to
feeding station is complete without feeders for hummingbirds.
In the wild,
hummingbirds have two major sources of food:
flower nectar and small insects such as gnats and spiders, which
provide protein. They pick their insects from flowers or grab
them out of the air as they dart around
looking for nectar. Hummingbirds are said to consume up to
half it's weight in flower nectar every day and readily use
nectar feeders. Since ninety percent of their time is devoted
to finding nectar, you really should have one or more of these
specially designed feeders in your yard.
Where is the best place to locate
The best spot for a feeder is in or above a flower bed.
Flowers can provide an important nutritional supplement to the
feeder solution. Feeders are best placed in the shade or in
occasional dappled sunlight. (Nectar spoils quickly in full
sunlight.) As hummingbirds are wary of predators, you will
have increased activity if adequate shelter is nearby. Shelter can be a pine tree or dense bush,
anywhere the hummingbirds feel safe hiding.
Which type of feeder is best for
There are two
basic feeder styles, saucer and vacuum.
A saucer feeder is a basin covered with a lid and several
feeding ports. Saucer feeders are less
leak-proof. With fewer
parts, this type of feeder is very durable and easy to clean.
Saucer feeders tend to hold less fluid and in situations where many
hummingbirds are feeding can empty quickly.
saucer style feeder
Vacuum: Vacuum style feeders
come in a wide range of capacities, materials and designs.
They are very versatile and easily hung from a tree, pole, or under
the eaves of the house.
Some vacuum style feeders have very large capacities and can easily
feed large populations of hummers with each fill. A little
minor dripping is often noticed by the owner but doesn't seem to
bother the birds. There are special brushes available to
facilitate easy cleaning within the ports and "bottle" reservoir.
Often times ants are attracted to the sweet nectar and actually
climb inside the feeding ports. This problem can be remedied
by installing an ant guard. Two types are available; moat type
which requires filling with water or insecticide type which repels
the ants through out the season. Some feeders have built in
ant moats ready to go right out of the box.
Bee guards are made to keep the bees from being able to crawl inside
the feeding ports. In warm summer weather they become a
necessity to keep the ports open and available to the feeding
When should I put up and take
down my feeder?
Put up your
feeders by mid-April. By starting early you will often attract
the early migrating birds coming back for winter. If they find
a good food source they may stay and nest with you. If not,
they will surely move on.
Once you have them
feeding it is important to maintain your feeders regularly.
Keep them clean and well filled through out the summer months for
the best show.
Feeders should e
maintained into fall when the hummers will migrate at the proper
time. Each year the migration date varies, so leave them up
until the birds move on.
depart while the garden still has suitable flowers in bloom.
Their timing is dictated by length of date and perhaps the weather.
However they need to build up their reserves for the long trip
south. Heavy feeding will go on until they are ready to go.
Keeping your feeders full until they are gone is not only fun to
watch but good for the birds.
Plants that attract
This is a list of annual and
perennial flowering plants proven to attract hummingbirds.
Other flowering plants will attract hummingbirds, but the flowers in
this list are favored.
American columbine - (Aquilegia
Rose of sharon - (Hibiscus syriacus)
Butterfly bush - (Buddleia davidii)
Clematis - (Clematis hybrids)
Coral Bells - (Heuchera sanguinea)
Daylily - (Hemerocalis hybrids)
Foxglove - (Digitalis purpurea)
Garden phlox - (Phlox paniculata)
Gladiolas - (Gladiolus)
Honeysuckle - (Lonicera varieties)
Becky Lynn Daylily
Hosta - (Hosta varieties)
Petunia - (Petunia varieties)
Zinnias - (Zinnia elegans)
Bottlebrush shrub - (Callistemon
Quince - (Chaenomeles speciosa)
Beard tonge - (Penstemon species)
Bellflower - (Campanula varieties)
Hummingbird flower - (Zauschneria
Azaleas - (Azalea species)
Turtle Head - (Chelone species)
Summersweet - (Clethra species)
Viburnum - (Viburnum species)
Impatiens - (Impatiens species)