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How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden

These little creatures were first discovered by Spanish explorers who called them “joyas voladoras” – translation: “flying jewels”. They are really something else – beautiful to watch and admire. But they are a whole lot more than just one of nature’s wonders. Their physical capabilities are truly amazing. They can migrate at least 2000 miles from their breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. And can you believe that hummingbird can actually cross the Gulf of Mexico? If you think about it, it is astounding, that something that small can actually fly 500 miles without rest.

Here are a few interesting facts about these beautiful birds and some of their most common species:

  • If you were to compare hummingbird’s energy to humans, you would learn that a hovering hummingbird has an energy output per unit weight ten times that of a person running 9 miles per hour. If a person was to do the same amount of work per unit of weight, he or she would expend 40 horsepower.
  • Hummingbirds are like bees – they carry pollen from one plant to another while they are feeding. And one single bird can visit 1000 – 2000 blossoms in a day.

Here are some the most common species:

 

Allen's Hummingbird

 

 

Berylline Hummingbird

Black Chinned Hummingbird

Blue Throated Hummingbird

Board Billed Hummingbird

Broad Tailed Hummingbird

Buff Bellied Hummingbird

Costa's Hummingbird

Lucifer Hummingbird

 

How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden:

All you have to do is to remember that hummingbirds will stop to drink, so by providing plants rich in nectar, plus a source of shade and water, you will witness hummingbirds hovering around your garden regularly.

While they are mostly attracted to tubular blooms. they also love orange, pink and yellow blooms. And single blooms will provide easier access to the nectar than multiple blooms.

Hummingbirds are not continously flying – they like to rest as well, so shrubs and trees will give them a place to rest and to nest as well.

They need eight times their body weight in water on daily basis, so a small garden fountain with a small spray nozzle of a dripper near your flower bed will attract them.

They are also very territorial – while the male establishes the territory first, females will chase intruders away from their plants or feeders. Remembering that, you should plants your hummingbird-attracting plants in various parts of your garden to allow the birds their own spaces.

You can fill a feeder with simple sugar syrup – but never use honey, brown sugar, artificial sweeteners or food colourings. To mix your own syrup, mix one-quarter to one-third cup of granulated sugar with one cup of water. Bring to boil and let cool before filling your feeder. The more feeders you provide, the happier hummingbirds will be!

I’ll be looking forward to your feedback and ideas. Do you have any tips, tricks or techniques that you’ve used to attract and keep hummingbirds in your garden?

Anna's Hummingbird

 

About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

167 comments
Diane - April 7, 2013

Many years ago I was sitting in my vehicle, the passenger window was open, and a hummer flew into the pickup, hovered in front of me for a few seconds, then flew back out. A wonderful experience I’ll never forget. Another time I was watering the yard with a fan sprayer and a hummer came over and danced through the water.

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Sandee - April 12, 2013

Has anyone been successful in attracting hummingbirds in Florida?

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    janel - May 7, 2013

    I have a few sapphire showers skyflower in my garden. They do well in containers it is a tree with purple flowers that casscade down as they grow longer. I got them from Lowes I live in central florida and they attract hummingbirds. I have put the sugar water out and could not get them to come I don’t think its sweet enough maybe but as soon as I planted these trees in containers I started to see them. I see more and more every year.

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      Celia - June 2, 2013

      I also have Fuchsia bushes which they go crazy for. So I always have hummingbirds in the garden.

      Reply
        kate - July 14, 2014

        I bought a hanging fuchsia this spring, and they could care less for it. TOTALLY DISAPPOINTING PURCHASE!

        I get more than two – eps. this year, but the FEMALES, especially, do NOT like to share a feeder, and the male is so skittish, I’m sure he wouldn’t either IF I ever saw him at a feeder with another hummer!
        I don’t understand these videos of multiples who are not afraid of each other, or just plain get along.

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      Cathy - July 18, 2013

      I have a fire bush that my hummingbirds (2) love to visit every morning. I also have a bottle brush tree they hang out in as well

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        kate - July 14, 2014

        Is a Bottle Brush Tree the same thing as a Butterfly Bush?

        Reply
          Hanna Trafford - July 18, 2014

          Hi Kate! It is not – the bottle brush tree is actually a tree with blooms that look just like bottle brushes and are mostly redish-pink. Butterfly bush is a bush – no trunk and even though the blooms are similar, they are smaller and come in variety of colours. Hope this helps!

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      kate - April 12, 2014

      Plant Bee Balm (Monarda) and they will come! Put out nectar (cheap ones with red plastic on it somewhere – say Walmart, Home Depot, etc.) NOW, if you’re in FLA, because I’m putting out my New England ones now to catch them early 🙂
      Good luck.
      Kate

      Reply
        kate - July 14, 2014

        To the FLA person, they may be up North and then fly past FLA in late, late August, or early September on their way to South America and Mexico. Hope some stay in FLA for you.

        Reply
    Celia - June 2, 2013

    In South Africa we have a variety of hummingbirds. I cook beat root and decant the red water into jars into the fridge. I use that to color the sugar water red. And The hummingbirds love that. They sit around in the tree waiting for a chance to drink from the bottles hanging from the tree.

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    carolyn - July 17, 2013

    i have many here in N.Central Florida..I have 3 feeders hung among my hanging planters, and I am enjoying them. have even managed to get a few pictures of them!

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      Mama Lou - July 28, 2013

      I live in north Florida and have two feeders – one hanging from the back deck and one hanging near the pool. I have various flowering plants on my deck and around the pool. The hummingbirds love this. I can see them from my kitchen window, funny how they will knock one another off of the feeder so that they can feed. They will also come up to the window as if watching me. I just love them and miss them so much in the winter time.

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        Hanna Trafford - July 29, 2013

        Thanks Mama Lou for your wonderful comments! Hope you get the chance one day to take picTUres and send them in to me – would love to share something like that!

        Reply
    Patricia Kobelin - October 5, 2013

    We mostly get Ruby-throats here in Ft. Lauderdale Florida, although there are a multitude of species right across the water in the Bahamas. They are seasonal visitors here, winter only. My friend in North Carolina emails me when her yard full of hummers leaves for the Fall season and she takes her feeders down. That’s when I put mine up! Within a few weeks, I have hummers! Make your own sugar water (1/4 cup white granulated sugar to 1 cup of water …I use distilled water. Boil water, stir in sugar and let cool) Do not use food coloring or commercial dyed sugar water sold in stores. I have heard that food
    coloring makes the baby birds born blind. Food coloring is derived from coal tar. Don’t eat it yourself. Cape Honeysuckle is a favorite plant for hummers and if you can put red salvia up high, they love red flowers.

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unknown - April 14, 2013

When my mother passed, I told her to visit me as a hummingbird so that I won’t get scared. So whenever I see a hummingbird in the garden, I say: “Hello Mom!”

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Kathy - April 17, 2013

Hello,
I absolutely love hummingbirds, and I’ve recently started painting. I found the fabulous images you’ve posted and there is one in particular I would love to paint. I want to ask your permission to paint the board billed hummingbird from your photo. In order to enter a competition, I have to have permission. Will you please consider?
Thank you,
Kathy

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    Hanna Trafford - April 17, 2013

    Thanks Kathy! Would you like to send me photo of your painting? I would love to share it you are! You can email it to me if you want !

    Reply
      Kathy - April 18, 2013

      I haven’t done it yet. I was hoping for permission before starting it. If I get your permission, I will paint it and if it turns out as good as the dog portraits I’ve done, I’d like to enter it into a contest, and yes, I’d be happy to send a photo of it to you once it’s completed.

      Reply
mary - April 24, 2013

are there hummingbirds in n.w. florida?? like tampa bay area.

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    Linda - May 5, 2013

    I live in Central Florida, near Orlando….we have lots of humming birds around our bottle brush trees!

    Reply
Sophie - May 4, 2013

Here in the Northwest of Oregon I have been blessed by the presence of hummers all week long. They are loving my bright coral pink cora bells, also the lilac trees. So sweet.

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chris - May 7, 2013

After losing both of my parents, I was at my sisters beach house,(which my parents loved). I was sitting relaxing looking out the windows with the beach breeze coming in, then all of a sudden a hummingbird came to the window and buzzed in front of me. I know it was my father telling me that he and my mom were ok.

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Beverlee - May 15, 2013

How do you get the hummingbirds to land in your hand?????

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    Hanna Trafford - May 16, 2013

    Hi Beverlee! I have personally never managed to get them to do that – they fly away as soon as I get close. But I do know people who have and they had the feeder next to a window they could open and as the hummingbirds came to feed, they just put out a hand slowly. Apparently you need a whole lot of patience for this! Good luck and let me know if it worked for you.

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Stella Antoinettte Rifai - May 16, 2013

I used to have them in my balcony they came to the rosemary shrub they look like a family of mom dad and a very small one I never could take a picture of them , they are so fast to fly awry .

PS : hope you excuse my English as I am French education , thank you

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    Ashleigh - May 27, 2013

    Do hummongbirds come to the uk?

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martha - May 28, 2013

There are lots of hummingbirds around my uncle’s garden, he loves sitting there and watch for hours. I noticed they were attracted by agave or aloe vera plants. I guess is because they ooze some sort of honey that is appealing for humminbirds. Also, have some sort of fountain or sprayer helps. Hope you see some soon!

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Ellie Hindenach - June 3, 2013

I love hamming birds love to witch them in the summer I just love all animal that is all there is to it have a nice day all..

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Tillie - June 17, 2013

Can you please tell me how to make the bottles that hang under a tree with water and sugar mix to attract hummingbirds. I am from South Africa and we have a lot of differant hummingbirds, I would love to try and attract them to my garden.
Thanks for a wonderful opportunity to try.
Kind Regards
Tillie Kirkland

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    Hanna Trafford - June 18, 2013

    Hello Tillie! Very nice to hear from you and I hope you will have lots of luck with attracting the beautiful hummingbirds to you. I find the best instructions are found on YouTube and here is the one I found for you – let me know how it woked out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUZ6v57Z9n8
    Mama Hanna

    Reply
Mj g moffett - June 20, 2013

Enjoying the humming birds for the past 6 weeks, local vancouver and rufous. They are such an inspiration to watch and very friendly. I now even have them on my fabrics that I sell on my site, inspired by one in particular that is always at the feeder. Only problem I have is the squirrel loves the suger water too. Any suggestions Mary Jane

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Nina - June 21, 2013

I can’t get any hummingbirds to come to my feeders. I have two feeders out. Don’t know what else to do.

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    Hanna Trafford - June 26, 2013

    Hi Nina! I couldnt get them over last year either – kept moving the feeders to different positions and set them up away from the house this year and they did come! So perhaps moving your feeders around, close to flowers and away from house activities would help! Let me know and hope they come and visit you!

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Cyndy - June 28, 2013

I am a huge “Hummy” fan! Last summer they filled our yard, guests were amazed to see them so close.
I followed their migration through different internet site…. I put up many more feeders and planted several flowers, but I find them to be a bit more discrete than last year, and fewer visitors too…. is there anything I should do to attract more to our yard??
Thanks and happy humming to all!
🙂

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Denise - July 9, 2013

How do I keep the bees from getting on the hummingbird feeder

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carolyn - July 17, 2013

I have many here in N. Central Florida..I have 3 feeders hung among my hanging baskets, and am enjoying their visits. I have even managed to get a few pictures of them!

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Regina Yuhas - July 19, 2013

Very helpful information about attracting hummingbirds. What I would like to know is how did you get the hummingbirds to land on your hands? That is an amazing picture.

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All About Hummingbirds | Mama Knows - July 31, 2013

[…] How to attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden […]

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Debbie Fast - August 25, 2013

Hi there, We’re originally from CA & almost always had hummers in our yard. We moved to S.D. a little over a year ago. I was told there were hummers here so, I put out a feeder by the garden shed. It sat there & just got all moldy. I saw my first one just last week hovering over our tiger lilies. Just wondering if they frequent S.D.? Thanks, Debbie

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    Lana - April 3, 2015

    I also am from SD and I have hummingbirds in my yard every year. I encouraged my younger sister to put out a feeder I actually bought it for her. Gave her a lesson on them and she now looks forward to these amazing fliers each year. She is in SD also.

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Debbie - September 2, 2013

I live in New Jersey USA
Does Humming Birds migrate here?

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barbarabishop - November 16, 2013

I really liked this

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Brian - November 24, 2013

I started feedind a family of Hummingbirds in Spring. It has been a great Summer, and Fall watching them feed from a few feet away!
Now I am concerned because it is the end of November, it is freezing at night, and the Hummingbirds keep coming! Any info I have read, tells me to continue feeding until they migrate.Is this typical to have these birds here (Surrey B.C.)this late in the season?
Would appreciate a professional opinion!
Thank you, B. Calbick

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    Hanna Trafford - November 25, 2013

    Hi Brian! I am by no means an expert, but I love the little guys so I have been educating myself continuosly about them. I can understand your concern, but I really believe that they have an instinct when to migrate and will not expose themselves to danger.I would suggest that you search for the hummingbird society and ask the experts this same question – I am not however sure what other than stop feeding them you could do. Let me know how you made out – I am sure others would love to hear the answer as well!

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      Brian - November 25, 2013

      Thank you for a quick response! I was talking to my neighbor, and he said that his father,who lives in a community not to far away, gets Hummingbirds all winter! I will keep a close watch, and let you know!
      Thanks again…Brian

      Reply
    Linda - January 3, 2014

    Brian I don’t know if you got an answer to your question but if you still have/had hummingbirds in late November, they are probably the Anna’s Hummingbirds. They stay all year round in the lower Mainland of BC and on Vancouver Island up at least as far as Port Alberni, where I live. I mistakenly thought they were Rufous Hummingbirds. I too was worried about a pair that were still here in November. I finally found a birding group online for Vancouver Island that I could post my pictures to and had it confirmed that it was an Anna’s not Rufous. Keep your feeders out and full and it will keep them going through the winter. I was really really worried during our recent cold spell before Christmas and could not see how they could survive but they did, thankfully. Good luck with your Hummers and enjoy them year round
    Linda Stoodley

    Reply
Tracey - February 13, 2014

I had hummingbirds when I lived in Wisconsin and fell in love with them. But was very sad when winter came because I knew they would be leaving me for the winter 🙁 . Now I live in Arizona and I’m in heaven and in love with these little creatures . My only problem I have is that all the bigger birds empty the feeders as fast as I fill them. Now how can I keep them away? I tried buying bird seed to deter them from the humming bird feeders, well that just got ugly! The birds here in this state are just crazy! And OMG! The Pigeonsl! Well what can I say there are lots and lots of them!!!!! So long story short I just fill my hummingbird feeders every day.

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Bill Kent - May 19, 2014

I live in Colorado Springs. I have put out two feeders about May 1 and a pair has been
coming to feed daily. They are crazy about our Lilac bush also.

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Pam - July 3, 2014

Since I started feeding them, 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, they have been a year-round presence in my Northern California garden. The ants are the biggest problem I have with the feeders.

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Beverly - July 13, 2014

Would love to see more little “hummers” in my garden. I only get two each year and they fight over the feeder constantly.

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Claudia - July 20, 2014

I was just wondering, do humming birds pass through utah often? If not, do they pass at all?

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Claudia - July 20, 2014

i was wondiring how you get humming birds to land on your hands that picture makes me want to hold them

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    Hanna Trafford - July 21, 2014

    Thanks Claudia! I haven’t been able to do that – but from what I understand it takes a lot of patience! Hope you have it and if you do, please take a picture!

    Reply
Ben - August 8, 2014

I was hoping this would tell me how to attract the hummers to eat from my hands. Guess I will keep searching.

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Gardening Mama Special Garden - September 3, 2014

[…] How to Attract Hummingbirds to Your Garden | Mama Knows – They are truly incredible little creatures. Find out some interesting facts, most common types and how to attract them to your garden!… […]

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Mid - September 15, 2014

Love your page! I am an ardent fan of Hummers, and love to photograph them. We live in northern Indiana and Western Michigan along the Lake. What you call broad-tailed Hummingbirds, we call Ruby-Throats. An important reminder: Please keep your feeders filled with fresh sugar water (every two days, no more than three, esp. in hot weather)to help keep the Hummingbirds healthy. Sugar water will mold/spoil quickly if left more than that) I have had my Hummingbirds hover in front of me, within reaching distance, and feed not more than a foot or two away as I sit photographing them! I think they get used to you, and if you hold a very small feeder, they might come to it. It’s worth a try if you have the patience, and that could lead to just holding out your hand. So fascinating and lovely ~ they are truly one of God’s special creations!

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