How to attract hummingbirds to your feeder

Hummingbird

April is the ideal time to set out your hummingbird feeder, as early migrants start to return around the middle of the month. Follow these tips to make your yard as hummingbird-friendly as possible.

Plant a natural source of food

Azaleas, butterfly bush, honeysuckle and columbine are all rich in nectar, and all attract hummingbirds—so plant them close to your feeder for the best chance of luring the zippy little birds to a photo op.

Avoid using pesticides around feeders

Not only will using pesticides around feeders kill off the small bugs that hummingbirds depend on for protein, but you run the risk of poisoning the birds themselves. Stick to pet-friendly pest control where your hummers like to feed.

Plant eye-catching flowers

Hummingbirds love red, so planting red flowers is a great way to attract them to your feeder. Hanging baskets of red impatiens on nearby trees is an easy way to boost the bird-appeal of your feeder.

Provide a water source

All birds need water, so a gentle mister or sprinkler will encourage hummingbirds to congregate, even if they’re initially wary of your feeder.

Make sure there are sheltered spots

Hummingbirds like perches, so providing thin vines, trellises, small branches or even clotheslines will give them a place to sit and rest. Sheltered perches are good, but often hummingbirds like spots to sit that will allow them to see their territory—so provide a variety of options.

Make nesting spots available

Hummingbirds won’t use birdhouses or nesting boxes, but they will build their nests in trees and shrubbery. Giving them a supply of fine lint, small bits of string and animal fur will also encourage them to nest close by.

Hang multiple feeders spaced far apart

Hummingbirds are fiercely territorial, so having multiple feeders reduces the chance that a single male hummer will jealously keep other birds away.