Hummingbirds are fascinating and remarkable birds. They are small and therefore have a high metabolism. They need to eat regularly during the day to maintain their body functions.
Hummingbirds must feed every 15 minutes to keep up with the body’s metabolism. They have a high demand for nectar, making it essential to fill your garden with colorful, vibrant flowers.
Hummingbirds are loyal and will return every year to your yard if they find an established habitat and food source. To create a hummingbird sanctuary, fulfill the basic bird needs of food and shelter:
Plant nectar-rich flowers
Hummingbirds love feeding on flowers rich in nectar. It is therefore important to plant flowers that will attract hummingbirds to the yard throughout the year. Here’s a list of plants that hummingbirds love.
Choose blooms with rich, vibrant colors, red especially, that can accommodate the long bills of the hummingbirds and plentiful nectar to bring them back to your yard. Always choose native plants that the birds are familiar with and that require minimal care to thrive. Further, it would help if you planted flowers that bloom for longer or repeatedly to provide a reliable food source across the seasons.
It is important to diversify your hummingbirds garden, to be more attractive, and provide food for various species of hummingbirds. Your microclimate determines the bloom time of various plants and the value they offer migrating birds, especially in the winter. You can grow the flowers in containers, along garden borders, or on raised beds.
Install bird feeders
You can install nectar feeders to attract hummingbirds to your yard. There are a variety of feeders, including inverted tubes, glass bulbs, and saucer dishes. Hummingbird feeders will provide nectar essential to the survival of the birds during the fall and spring migration seasons. Red feeders are best for attracting hummingbirds.
It would be best if you hung many feeders around your garden. Hummingbirds are territorial and likely to dominate feeders if installed close together. Fill them with sugar water and hang them in the shade to prevent the solution from fermenting.
You can create homemade nectar or purchase commercial nectar for the feeders. Change the water regularly and clean them thoroughly at least once a week. Artificial nectar lasts around five days, and hummingbirds will not drink it once it begins to ferment. Here’s a quick and easy nectar recipe:
Homemade Nectar Recipe
- Mix one part of plain table sugar with four parts of water.
- Heat the solution for approximately 1-2 minutes to allow for fermentation and for the sugar to dissolve.
- Let the solution cool before filling the feeders.
Clean the feeders with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water. You can also add a few grains of dry rice to the mixture that act as a good abrasive for thoroughly cleaning the feeders. Rinse it with warm water around three times before adding a new sugar solution.
Ideally, you should hang the feeders a few weeks before the first sightings of hummingbirds in your area and leave them up for two weeks after the last sighting of the birds in your yard.
Build perching spots
Hummingbirds prefer to perch close to their feeding spots. It is best to install a perch near windows and with a steady supply of nectar-producing flowers. Hummingbirds use perches to sleep at night and to guard the flower garden or feeder during the day.
If you have a cat or dog, place the feeders and perches out of their reach.
The perch is also a comfortable spot for the birds to digest food. Further, they remove debris in their feathers to keep them light for easier flying. It is therefore important to have several perches where hummingbirds can rest when they visit your yard.
Create watering spots
Hummingbirds love moving water sources such as waterfalls, fountains, and sprinklers. They drink and bathe in flight. It is important that the water in your garden is clean for drinking and consistently available to ensure that the hummingbirds wash after feeding.
Hummingbirds are interested in the sound of water. Slow-running water, such as a hose running into a pond or a small waterfall, will bring the birds to your patio.
Nurture insects in your garden.
Hummingbirds feed on insects such as spiders, which are a rich source of protein. They are specialized hunters in the air and can observe and snatch small insects while in flight. Hummingbirds feed on insects from leaves and spider webs.
Avoid using pesticides and insecticides to control pests and small insects in your yard. These will kill beneficial insects, eliminating an important food source for hummingbirds.
Plant flowers that attract insects, especially natives with a great concentration of spiders. Mix insect-pollinated flowers and bird-pollinated flowers in the garden.
Provide nesting places
Hummingbirds build their nests in trees and shrubs, along poles, and from old spider webs. You can attract nesting birds by providing nesting material such as animal fur.
Additionally, hummingbirds use spider silk to reinforce their nests; therefore, it is vital to leave old spider webs in your garden. Plant small deciduous trees and shrubs, which are good nesting spots and hiding places for hummingbirds. It is also important to install the nesting spots away from the feeders.
Hummingbirds have various needs, which you can fulfill by customizing your yard. Planting different flower species and providing nesting, water, and food will generate interest from hummingbirds. Your yard can become a haven for hummingbirds if you ensure that hummingbirds can eat, rest and bathe in one place.