Attracting hummingbirds to your backyard doesn’t have to be complicated! If you want to enjoy the beautiful sight of these tiny creatures hovering outside, there are two incredibly simple ways to put out the welcome mat. One requires a little advanced planning, and one can be implemented today.
Plant Hummingbird-Friendly Flowers
A diverse display of flowers is a sight few hummingbirds can resist. And if a few blooms feature their favorite color—red—so much the better!
Red flowers that hummingbirds enjoy include:
- Bee balm.
- Scarlet sage.
- Trumpet honeysuckle.
- Red cardinal flower.
But just because it isn’t red doesn’t mean that hummingbirds won’t like it! Other proven favorites include:
- Blazing star.
- Butterfly bush.
- Purple coneflower.
Note that tube-shaped blossoms help the hummingbirds access the nectar.
Have you ever been tempted to buy a hummingbird nectar mix from your favorite supplier of all things bird-related? Resist the urge! Commercial nectar mixes usually contain artificial colorings and preservatives that are actually harmful to hummingbirds.
Incidentally, the cheapest and easiest solution is actually the best for the birds—just dissolve plain old white cane sugar in clean water in a 1:4 ratio. White sugar is sucrose, which is a major part of the natural diet of a hummingbird. While there are other nutrients hummingbirds need, they will obtain those by sipping out of the flowers you planted for them.
Never feed any of these ingredients to hummingbirds:
- Honey; it will ferment outdoors and produce deadly bacteria.
- Artificial sweeteners (sucralose, xylitol, etc.).
- Minimally processed sugars (sucanat, turbinado, etc.); they contain iron, which is toxic to hummingbirds.
And please do not add red food coloring to your homemade nectar. Red food coloring usually contains red dye #40, which can be toxic to hummingbirds. Instead, alert hummingbirds to the presence of nectar by selecting a feeder that displays red prominently. This one fits the bill, plus does not tend to jettison nectar by blowing around in a strong wind like some models do.
Enjoy the Hummingbirds!
Attracting hummingbirds is easy! With these two easy steps, you’ll be sure to enjoy the tiny creatures this summer. Keep your camera handy!