Unpave the Way for Hummingbirds
When Your Habitat is Complete, Put Your Site on the Map!

How to Create a Haven for Hummingbirds!
Hummingbirds rely on nectar as a major part of their diet. You can attract hummingbirds to your yard and help them along on their long journey by providing a hummingbird feeder with sugar water. If you also grow a hummingbird garden to provide natural nectar plants, you'll provide a feast they can't resist!

Photo: Geri DeBoer
Fill 'er Up! Keep a Hummingbird Feeder

You don't need to by commercial nectar to fill your feeder. Here's how to make your own:

  • You'll need 1 part ordinary white granulated sugar to 4 parts water. Use ordinary granulated white table sugar. Do NOT use honey, artificial sweeteners, flavorings, or food coloring.
  • To prevent rapid spoilage, boil the nectar for up to two minutes. COOL the mixture before adding it to the feeder.
  • You can store unused nectar in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Here's how to keep your visiting hummers safe and happy:

  • Hang your feeder where you can observe it and where it is safe and accessible to hummingbirds. Look around your schoolyard to find the most sheltered places for hummingbirds to feed that have good access (e.g., a corridor of trees or shrubs leading to the area).
  • Clean your feeder every few days! Nectar will spoil rapidly when temperatures are over 60 F. To clean, rinse the feeder with hot water. If you see fungus growing inside (usually black spots), use a bottle brush or pipe cleaner to remove all trace of the fungus. You don't need to use soap. If you do, rinse it out thoroughly.

Photo: Ed Robertson
Grow Natural Nectar Plants
You can also attract hummingbirds and keep them happy by growing plants that provide good sources of nectar. If you grow a variety of plants that flower at successively later dates, you will be rewarded with happy hummers throughout the season.

WARNING: Avoid using chemical pesticides for two important reasons. (1) By using chemical pesticides, you will be killing garden insects that hummingbirds rely upon for protein. (2) Hummers might directly ingest pesticides sprayed onto flowers, which could sicken or kill them. (More)

The best thing you can do for hummers and other wildlife is to plant a garden using native (indigeneous) plants that are appropriate for your area. Once established, native plants do not need fertilizers, herbicides, or pesticides. They benefit the environment and reduce maintenance costs. Contact your local garden center and/or Extension office for more information or check out these links:

Hummingbird Favorites

Flowers/Perennials & Biennials


Bee Balm (Monarda) (native) Butterfly Bush
Cardinal Flower (native) Fire Spike
Red Columbine (native) Fuchsia
Coral-Bell Impatiens
Four-O-Clock Jacobiana
Hollyhock Spotted Jewel Weed (native)
Hosta Morning Glory
Indian Pink (native) Painted Lady Runner Bean
Little Cigar Petunia
Lupine (native) Red Salvia
Penstemon (native) Shrimp Plant
Yucca (native)  


Trees and Shrubs

Coral (Trumpet) Honeysuckle Azalea
Cypress Vine Butterfly Bush
Trumpet Creeper (native) Flowering Quince
, Lantana
Red Buckeye
Turk's Cap

Photo: Alandra Palisser 
Provide Perches
Since hummers spend up to 80% of their time perching, your yard will be more welcoming to hummer is you provide convenient perches such as twigs, leaf stems, or clotheslines.

Don't Forget The Water!
Just like other birds, hummers love water. In nature, hummingbirds prefer fine sprays of water in order to clean their feathers. Providing water in a shallow bird bath, or better yet, through a mister or dripper (available at bird stores), will help to attract hummers — and other birds too.


Hummer Hotlinks
  • Before you plant, know your zone. Consult one of these maps and locate your planting zone: United States / Canada.
  • Hummingbirds!
    Lanny Chambers, hummingbird expert, offers a wealth of information: Attracting hummingbirds to your garden; migration; species accounts; natural history; product reviews.
  • North American Native Plant Society
    Get information for your region. Whatever your level of gardening experience, the North American Native Plant Society invites you to explore the world of native plants.

Printed Resources (Identifying, attracting, and learning about hummingbirds)
  • A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America by Sheri L. Williamson (Houghton Mifflin Co. 2002)
  • The Hummingbird Book by Donald and Lillian Stokes (Little, Brown and Company, 1989).
  • Hummingbird Gardens by Nancy L. Newfield and Barbara Nielsen (Houghton Mifflin, 1996).
  • Hummingbirds by Nancy Newfield (Thunder Bay Press, 2001).
  • Hummingbirds: Jewels in Flight by Connie Toops (Voyageur Press, 1992).
  • The Life of the Hummingbird by Alexander F. Skutch (Crown Publishers, Inc., 1973).
  • The Sun Catchers: Hummingbirds by Jeff and April Sayre (NorthWord Press, 1996, 1999).
  • Ruby-throated Hummingbird by Bob Sargent (Stackpole Books 1999).
  • The Secret Lives of Hummingbirds by David Lazaroff (Arizona-Sonora Desert
    Museum Press 1999).
  • The Wildlife Gardener's Guide to Hummingbirds and Songbirds from the Tropics by Jack Griggs et al. (HarperResource 2003).

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