Earth Sky Time

In the garden and beyond

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Attracting Hummingbirds lantana

Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding on lantana nectar

More gardeners want to attract and help hummingbirds as they realize that these and other pollinators are threatened. The Hummingbird Society has a trove of excellent information, and I often pass along their “Top Eight Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds” as a good place to begin.

Water for Bathing:

  • More than most birds, hummers need to bathe regularly, due to the sticky nature of nectar.

  • They prefer very shallow, moving water, or a spray mist.


  • Placing nesting material near a feeder may attract female hummingbirds to nest near you, so you will be more likely to see them during the 5-7 weeks they are brooding or caring for their young.

  • “Hummer Helper®” is a practical nesting material and is available at many bird stores and garden centers.

  • Hummer nests are often re-used, wholly or in part.

  • Leave a nest in place; it is illegal to possess a nest or any part of it without a permit.

  • Hummingbirds don’t use “birdhouses” for their nests, because they are not cavity nesters.

Spoil Them:

  • Hummers return to sites where they found good food supplies the year before. Give them a reason to come back to you!

To learn more about Ruby-throated hummingbirds, click here.