Hummingbirds are often the crowning glory to a beautiful garden. If you are lucky enough to attract a hummingbird or two, you are one of the lucky ones. Hummingbirds are often coveted because they aren’t an easy bird to attract, but when you do you get to enjoy one of nature’s most beautiful and fascinating creatures. Once you know what they’re looking for, becoming a hummingbird host is easier than you think.
1. Roll out the red carpet
Ok, maybe not carpet, but ribbon proves to be effective. Using a red, orange, or other bright colored ribbon around your tree catches the eyes of passing hummingbirds. Once they are lured in, keep them happy with flowering gardens and hummingbird feeders. Planting bright red flowers also attracts hummingbirds, but the ribbon works even when the blooms aren’t ready yet.
2. Keep the blooms coming
Use tried and true techniques to keep as many blooms in your garden at one time. Not only does this create an attractive garden, but it gives the hummingbirds a reason to keep coming back. Deadheading flowers is a great way to encourage more blooms, and choosing plants with different blooming periods ensures a constant flow of blooming options. This is particularly important in the early fall when blooms start to disappear, but hummingbird populations increase.
3. Keep the feeders fresh.
Overtime, your hummingbird feeders will start to get a bit dull. Repaint them to give your bird friends a beautiful spot to enjoy. If your feeders are in bad shape, get durable plastic options that are easy to fill and come apart for easy cleaning and storage. You also want to ensure that you feeder stays fresh throughout the season. Change the mixture ever 3-5 days and keep it out of the sun. Check for mold and clean it thoroughly when necessary.
4. Add a mister
A mister is a small attachment for your regular garden hose that gives the hummingbirds a nice rinse. It has pinhole openings that shoot a fine mist into the air. Hummingbirds love this as a fresh bath. The mister is easy to find, and works with the hose turned on to just a trickle so you don’t have to worry about a hefty water bill at the expense of the birds’ fun.
5. Feed ‘em right
Beating your wings at 80MPH is hard work, and hummingbirds are constantly looking for ways to nourish their bodies. Their favorite source of fuel is sugar water. If you get the mixture right, hummingbirds can’t get enough of it. Bird expert and author George Harrison recommends mixing 1 part pure sugar 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 make plenty and give the birds what they want.
6. Encourage sharing
Hummingbirds can turn into bullies when sugar water is on the line. To prevent one hummingbird from alienating the others, use two or three feeders out of sight from one another to encourage happy sharing amongst the birds.