Nectar feeders are one of the best and easiest ways to attract hummingbirds to your garden. But why stop there? Hummingbirds need much more to be happy and healthy. Use the tips below and give them places to bathe and rest, additional foods to supplement their diets, and the right materials to build their tiny nests.
1. Splish, Splash, They Like to Take Baths
Like all birds, hummingbirds bathe to keep their feathers in top condition. They’re especially fond of misters and fountains, where they seem to love playing in the spray. Give them a place to bathe by adding a simple solar-powered fountain to your existing bird bath, or go the extra mile and build your own hummingbird mister to attract hummingbirds in need of a shower.
2. Bring on the Bugs
We all know hummingbirds love nectar and sugar water. But did you know that insects make a up a large part of their diet too, especially during nesting season? Gnats, flies, mosquitoes, and spiders provide the protein these diminutive birds need. So while it’s tempting to try to clear as many pesky insects from your yard as possible, you’ll actually attract hummingbirds by letting the insects be. You can even try to bring in more fruit flies by putting out overripe bananas or other fruit.
3. Along Came a Spiderweb
Many hummingbirds use spiderweb silk to build and anchor their tiny nests. The unique flexibility of spiderweb silk allows the nest to expand as the baby hummers grow from the size of jellybean eggs to full-grown birds in the space of just a few weeks. During nesting season (mid to late spring in cold-winter climates, and year-round in warm areas), allow spiderwebs to accumulate in your garden rather than knocking them down. This may help attract hummingbirds looking for a place to nest.
4. Get a Little Sappy
Hummingbirds, especially males, sometimes arrive in their northern nesting grounds before flowers have started to bloom. Where can they find the sweet treats they need for energy? Tree sap! Hummingbirds are known to follow sapsuckers around and drink sap from the holes they drill in trees like maple, birch, and hickory. Plant some of these trees in your own yard to attract hummingbirds that arrive in early spring, along with their sapsucker friends.
5. Take a Seat
Though hummingbirds are well-known for their ability to hover as they feed, they definitely need places to sit and rest. Provide woody shrubs near your feeders where they can perch and scope out the situation. You can also buy or build special hummingbird swings for them to enjoy.