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How to Attract Hummingbirds

The Flying Jewels


Every outdoor speck of red in North America will be checked out at least once by a hummingbird.

That makes it utterly easy to attract hummingbirds. Just interest them with something red, and then reward them with sweet flowers or with feeders filled with nectar.

Flowers for hummers

Mass plantings of the right flowers will turn your garden into a hummingbird haven. Some flowers have been bred to look nice in a garden but have lost their nectar in the bargain.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdTry native wildflowers that naturally feed hummingbirds, such as salvias. Red ones are especially attractive to hummers, but other colors will do also. Hummingbirds come eagerly to coral bells, bee balm, and petunias.

In the Midwest the red columbine opens just when ruby-throated hummingbirds arrive. The columbine feeds the hummer, and the hummer pollinates the flower.

Ruby-throated HummingbirdOne of my favorite US natives is a pink salvia with the name "Coral Nymph." So easy to grow from seed! And hummingbirds go crazy over it.

I've also had phenomenal luck with hummingbird sage (also called Texas sage.) It's easy to grow, it comes back from seed all by itself, and hummingbirds keep the whole patch buzzing all summer long.

Another favorite of hummers is Jewelweed, a native US wildflower that grows in damp places. If you have a leaky outdoor faucet, well, fix the faucet. But if you don't, then plant jewelweed in the damp area.

Ruby-throated Hummingbird

Feeding hummingbirds

Although the right flowers are the best way to provide hummingbirds with food, hummingbird feeders are a quick way to get started.

Dr. JB's FeederA feeder we love is Dr. JB's Clean Feeder. It completely comes apart, and all the parts go in the dishwasher, so you can keep the entire feeder perfectly clean with no work. It's sturdy and isn't going to fall apart on you

See our review here.

See the product in the store here.

Nest material

Hummingbird NestFemale hummers love to use spider webs for construction. The springy fibers make cushiony, elastic walls. They hold the whole nest together and yet allow for expansion as the baby birds grow.

But if you don't happen to have a lot of spiderwebs around your house, you can offer a substitute nesting material that some hummingbirds seem to like even better than spiderwebs. It's called Hummer Helper. Many of our customers have tried it and then ordered again and again, because it works!


Ruby-throated HummingbirdDon't forget the birdbath. Hummingbirds like water too. This tiny ruby-throated hummingbird dunked his head just like the bigger birds do.

I feel fortunate that I get to watch for hummingbirds in spring. It's great fun to notice the amazing changes in the bird life that take place as the seasons cycle.

Who's coming

Although a few hummingbirds hunker down for the winter along the southern border of the US, most of the country is devoid of hummingbirds during the winter.

Anna's HummingbirdExcept along the southern border of the country, Anna's is the main, common, year-around resident hummer. Here is a female Anna's Hummingbird.

Anna's is mainly found in the west. If you live in Oregon, Washington, or central or northern California, this is the hummingbird you see all winter.

Rufous HummingbirdIn western US, many hummingbird speciss can be seen in summer and during migration. One of my favorites is the Rufous Hummingbird, like this one in my cousin Donna's Portland, Oregon garden. It is seeking nectar from a blue salvia.

--Diane Porter

Images of hummingbirds © Michael and Diane Porter 2008-2017.
© Birdwatching Dot Com



The Hummer Helper

Jewel Box
Hummingbird Feeder

Dr. JB's
Clean Feeder

Beginner's Guide
to Hummingbirds

The Gem
Hummingbird Feeder