6 Simple Ways to Attract More Hummingbirds

Make your backyard the ultimate hummingbird hot spot with these top feeding tips. Learn easy ways how to attract more hummingbirds.

It’s a magical moment when a hummingbird comes to call. These flying dynamos, arguably the crown jewels of backyard birds, are among nature’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures. Once you know what they’re looking for, hosting them in your backyard is easy. Now let’s lay out the welcome mat with these tips. Learn how to attract more hummingbirds.

Don’t miss these jaw-dropping facts about hummingbirds.

1. Go Red

female black chinned hummingbirdCourtesy Tammy Windsor Brown
Black-chinned hummingbird

With one of the fastest metabolisms in the animal kingdom, hummingbirds are always on the lookout for nectar to fuel their busy bodies. As it turns out, hummingbirds have a heightened visual sensitivity to red flowers, so they tend to visit blooms in these hues. Perennials like cardinal flower, bee balm and garden phlox and annuals like snapdragon, flowering tobacco and pentas are excellent varieties to plant. Another option is to set out a bright red hummingbird feeder—or tie a large red bow to one.

Read more! The top 10 red flowers that attract hummingbirds.

2. Get the Right Mix

Hummingbirds love sugar water. Bird expert, author and longtime Birds & Blooms contributor George Harrison recommends making the perfect batch by mixing 1 part sugar (no artificial sweeteners, please) with 4 parts water. Bring to a boil, cool completely and then fill your feeder. Leftovers may be refrigerated for up to a week, so consider making extra. Trust us: The hummingbirds can’t get enough once they get a taste of the sweet stuff.

Read more! Hummingbird sugar-water 101

3. Keep a Tidy Feeder

hummingbird perched at feederCourtesy William Bishoff
Keep pests at bay with a clean, leak-free feeder.

Ensure that contents stay fresh by filling feeders halfway and changing the mixture every three to five days. Keeping it out of the hot sun also helps. If a feeder does develop mold inside, clean it with hot water and vinegar. For tough spots, use a bottle brush, or fill the feeder with sand or rice and water and shake vigorously. When should you put out hummingbird feeders in spring?

4. Banish Bees

Avoid unwanted guests by choosing a feeder designed to discourage these pests. “Feeder ports should be large enough for a hummingbird’s beak but small enough that a bee can’t crawl through them,” says H. Ross Hawkins, founder and executive director of The Hummingbird Society. “Ideally, the nectar should sit far enough below the port opening, ¼ to ½ inch, so that bees can’t access it. While many feeders don’t address this problem, saucer-style ones are usually excellent in this department.” Also try an ant moat to discourage crawling ants.

Discover 7 natural ways to keep bees and wasps away from hummingbird feeders

5. Trick the Bullies

how to attract more hummingbirdsCourtesy Purnell Hopson

Sure, they look sweet, but these birds can get downright territorial when food is on the line! To prevent one hummingbird from alienating swarms of others, set two or three feeders out of sight from one another. Problem solved. 

How do hummingbirds find feeders?

6. Put Out Protein

Besides the carbohydrates that nectar provides, hummingbirds crave protein from insects. It’s easy to draw in bugs for hummers, just provide natural areas. Wood and compost piles, long grass and patches of insect-friendly perennials and annuals are all beacons to insects. Plus, you might even spot a hummingbird collecting spiderwebs to create its nest!

Rachael Liska
From managing national magazines to creating content for the biggest brands in the world, Rachael Liska has over 25 years of writing, editing and project management experience in the family, food, gardening, home decor, travel and birding niches. As an avid home gardener and backyard birder herself, Rachael understands the joy her readers get from creating and observing beauty around every bend, and is eager to help them achieve their dreams with a mix of inspiration and practical advice.