Hummingbirds are just as pretty as flowers—and a lot more interesting to watch. Here’s how to bring these tiny miracles within view.
Step 1: Choose your feeder Buy or make a hummingbird feeder. Glass feeders are beautiful but, of course, fragile; plastic feeders are more durable but not as pretty. Choose the one best for your yard.
TIP: Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Most feeders have red on them, but make yours more enticing by tying a red ribbon around the top.
Step 2: Make nectar Make your own nectar to fill the feeder. Boil 4 parts water, then stir in 1 part granulated sugar. Let the mixture cool completely.
TIP: Don’t add red food coloring to your nectar. It may be harmful to hummingbirds.
Step 3: Fill the feeder Fill the feeder with the nectar. Excess can be stored in your refrigerator for up to two weeks.
TIP: Never substitute honey for sugar. Honey can give hummingbirds mouth infections.
Step 4: Timing is everything Put up your feeder at the right time. In most parts of the U.S., late spring is best. Hummingbirds are migratory, and they come to North America when the weather is warm.
Step 5: Hang your feeder Hang your feeder where you can easily watch the hummingbirds gather to feed.
Step 6: Replace the nectar Replace the sugar water as soon as it becomes cloudy. Scrub the feeder with plenty of hot water before putting in the new liquid.
TIP: If the hummingbird feeder attracts too many ants, try smearing a little petroleum jelly on its hanger.
Step 7: Use less sugar Once hummingbirds are coming to your feeder regularly, you can make the nectar less sweet. Try 1 part sugar to 6 parts water.
Step 8: Plant flowers If you really want to attract hummingbirds, plant their favorite flowers near your feeder. Hummingbirds like red, orange, and yellow flowers, including lantana, columbine, geraniums, fuchsia, trumpet vine, and petunias.
Step 9: Watch nature’s miracles Grab a pair of binoculars and a rocking chair and settle back to watch one of nature’s miracles in your own backyard.
FACT: The hummingbird has the largest brain proportionate to its body of any animal.