Hummingbird FAQ’s

Get answers to all your Hummingbird questions!

How do I know if Hummingbirds are near me?

There are hundreds of different species of Hummingbirds. The U.S. is home to sixteen varieties and most states have at least one type of Hummingbird. If you live on the East Coast or in the Midwest, you’re most likely to find Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. Out west, between six and seven species are fairly common, and all sixteen North American species of Hummingbirds can be found in the Southwest.

Rufous hummingbird. Creative Commons photo by tomtalbott.

How can I bring Hummingbirds into my yard?

Attracting Hummingbirds is easier than you might think! Use a Hummingbird Feeder with a Nectar mixture (essentially sugared water). In addition to feeders, planting Bee Balm, Red Columbine, Hollyhock, Trumpet Vines and other colorful plants in your yard will attract Hummingbirds naturally.

How do I choose the right Hummingbird Feeder?

Hummingbird feeders come in hundreds of styles, but the basic distinction is vessel or dish style feeders.

Vessel Hummingbird Feeders

Vessel feeders are an upturned bottle-like holder, which allows nectar to fall, as needed, into a small tube or dish.

Vessel feeders are particularly good if you have a number of Hummingbirds coming to your feeder. Keep in mind that, since Nectar is basically sugar water, it needs to be used or changed frequently. Large vessels are only useful if you have enough birds coming to your yard to use the nectar it holds before it goes rancid.

Dish Hummingbird Feeders

Dish feeders are simple covered bowls with ports in the cover to allow Hummingbirds to feed. Dish feeders may not look as pretty as vessel feeders, but their shape makes it easier for many birds to feed at once. These feeders are also far less likely to leak.

If bees, wasps, ants or other sugar-loving insects are a major problem in your area (as in many southern areas), it may be in your best interest to choose a dish-style feeder with an insect moat or nectar guard.

Are your glass feeders coated or colored glass?

The Hummingbird Feeders from Woodlink and Songbird Essentials, as well as most others we’ve come across, are all coated glass. Producing the vessels this way is more economical and efficient.

How do I know what size my feeder should be?

Choose your Hummingbird feeder based on how many birds you typically have in your yard. A typical feeder will hold 10 to 20 oz. of nectar and will meet most people’s needs. Keep in mind, due to the nature of nectar, it should be changed at least twice weekly in warm months. If your attracting enough birds that the feeder is consistently empty a day or so before you would normally refill it, it’s then time to upgrade to a larger feeder or add a second one.

Where is the best place for a Hummingbird feeder?

Keep your feeder in an easily accessible spot, near flowering bushes or plants. Keep feeders out of the sun, wind and elements as much as possible. Many people place Hummingbird Feeders near hanging plants on a porch to make refilling easy and enjoy watching the busy little birds from a nearby window.

What time of year will Hummingbirds come to my feeder?

The best time to put out a Hummingbird feeder varies by where you live. For those in the North East, late Spring (April or May) is best, as Hummingbirds are not fans of cool weather! In the Southeast, where it gets hot and muggy fast, aim for attracting Hummingbirds in January and February. The Southwest is the luckiest, with year-round opportunity.

Do I need to clean my Hummingbird Feeder?

Yes you do! Feeders should be rinsed with dish soap and water every time the nectar is changed, usually twice per week. Hummingbirds are highly touchy about changes in their nectar. If yours goes sour or is dirty, they will seek out another source and often will not return to your feeder.

How can I keep insects away from my feeder?

Avoiding attracting insects, because of the sugary liquid, is almost impossible. Flies and bees are naturally attracted, just like the birds! Choose a feeder with a built in nectar guard to keep insects away. To keep ants at bay, consider a feeder with an ant cup. Regardless, insects will be a factor, which is why it is so important to change the nectar and clean your feeder every few days.

How frequently should I replace the nectar?

Twice per week, or every third day, is a good benchmark in most areas. If you live in an area that experiences temperature spikes, you may need to change it more frequently. This is one reason why most people prefer to keep their feeder close enough to the home to make refilling easy and convenient.

Should I buy nectar or make my own?

Both ways work well. Do not buy nectar with dyes or food coloring that could harm the birds. It is usually cheaper to make your own and it is simple to do. Just mix one part granulated sugar with four parts boiling water. Let the liquid cool completely before filling the feeder. You can make a big batch each time and refrigerate what doesn’t fit in your feeder for fourteen to sixteen days.

What if no Hummingbirds are coming to my feeder?

Hummingbirds are picky little creatures! Ask yourself if their are enough flowers in the area to attract the birds naturally. If this is the case, try changing your nectar more frequently and moving the feeder closer to plants. Then, as the birds learn to use your feeder, you can gradually move it back to the spot you wish to keep it in long term.

Keep in mind, it often takes as long as two full seasons for Hummingbirds to discover and regularly use your feeder. Attracting Hummingbirds, for the first time, requires a little persistence, but it is well worth the effort!