Just like a human to chocolate, hummingbirds are drawn to flowers. They are an important part of the pollination of gardens and you want them to come and visit yours. Hummingbirds may be tiny, but they are mighty, and offer many benefits including pest control and bringing in new species of flowers. Here are our top tips for welcoming these precious birds to your garden.
Plant native and bright coloured blooms
Red is a hummingbird’s favourite colour of flower because they are attracted to rich, bright colours. Also consider flowers that have long and tapered shapes to them which makes it easier for a hummingbird to access with it’s beak shape. We recommend using native plants that hummingbirds are familiar with in your area. Here are a few to consider:
- Bee balm
- Cardinal flower
- Bleeding heart
Set up your garden with the right layout
Design your garden to be more attractive to hummingbirds by considering the size, shape, and flower placements. Here’s our tips for optimal garden layout:
- The garden does not need to be large, but you should think about how quickly the flowers you’ve planted will grow and spread when determining the borders.
- Try to get a good balance of both sun and shade throughout the day on the garden area.
- For the shape, a longer, narrower garden will provide more area for hummingbirds to spread out but you could also try a slightly curved or more flowing shape if you you’re going for a more aesthetic look.
- Create a tiered effect with your plant arrangement so that the hummingbirds have better access to the flowers and less obstructed views.
- If you are adding structures such as a trellis or an arbor, keep this in mind when garden planning so you don’t overwhelm the plants.
Keep your spider webs for nesting
Don’t destroy any spider webs that appear among the plants in your garden. Hummingbirds love to use the delicate web threads as material to build their nests. Besides spider webs, you may find some nests that are built with clotheslines, wires, or other rather unusual materials.
Remember that hummingbird don’t make their homes in traditional birdhouses. They prefer a protected area that will keep them sheltered from predators and bad weather so plant some dwarf or ornamental trees to give them some selections. Here are our favourite trees to plant for hummingbirds:
- Eastern redbud
- Eucalyptus tree
- English hawthorn
- Silk tree
- Strawberry tree
- Red buckeye
Make a rest stop for perching
Hummingbirds work hard to keep our gardens looking good so provide them with a place to rest their weary bodies. It is easy to make your own hummingbird swing for perching with these simple steps.
First, gather these materials: unsharpened pencil, thick wire, thin wire, and colourful and sparkly accents such as beads, ribbons, or crystals. And these tools: wire cutters, pliers, and sandpaper.
- Use the sandpaper to gently scuff the pencil’s surface.
- Cut the thick wire to a length of 18 to 20 inches and use the sandpaper to dull any sharp edges.
- Wrap the thick wire around one end of the perch and then bend it in an arch and attach it to the other side.
- Use the thin wire to add the accents around the swing’s arch.
- Add a twisted loop at the top of the swing to hang it.
Treat hummingbirds with a suitable water source
Hummingbirds get most of their liquid from the nectar and sugar water they feed on. They get the sticky residue on their feathers from the sweet water and need to wash it off to keep their plumage effective for insultation and flight. Hummingbirds tend to not frequent birdbaths when they need a drink or washing because they are small birds that prefer a shallower water source.
These are some other types of water sources to use to attract hummingbirds to your garden:
- Misters: Position the mister to spray nearby broad leaves.
- Misting sprinklers: These also help to water grass and flowers at the same time.
- Drippers: A slow dripper added to a birdbath provides a more manageable alternative.
- Birdbath fountains: These aren’t as deep and offer ledges, lips, and rims for perching.
Consider some out-of-the-box ideas
We hear a lot of random recommendations for how to attract hummingbirds to your garden. These are some that we’ve seen work most of the time. They don’t require a lot of investment in time or energy so it’s worth giving them a shot to see if they’ll help your garden.
- Tie foot-long pieces of bright red or orange surveyor’s tape to bushes, trees, and deck railings. The bright colours will lure in hummingbirds.
- Fruit flies are an excellent source of food and protein for hummingbirds so set out rotting fruit such as bananas or apples in your garden.
- Create an inviting neighbourhood for hummingbirds by getting your neighbours involved. Gift them a few of the recommended plants we’ve listed here and share your gardening tips with them.