The sight of glittering hummingbirds flitting around your garden can bring enjoyment and life to your garden. Buying a feeder is only the first step to attracting these enchanting little birds. You’ll need to hang it in the proper position to attract hummingbirds and make sure they’re happy and safe.
To draw hummingbirds to your feeder, make sure you place it where they can easily see it and they will be safe from predators. Hang the feeder so you can easily refill the nectar. And of course, you’ll want to put it where you can enjoy the view.
What to Consider When Hanging a Feeder?
Choosing the right location is essential when hanging a feeder. An improperly placed feeder can prevent hummingbirds from finding it in the first place or put them at risk of serious injury. And hanging the feeder somewhere that is difficult to reach will make it more difficult to properly maintain.
Can They See the Feeder?
Hummingbirds are attracted by light and bright colors. Placing a feeder where it reflects sunlight or near colorful flowers can help draw their attention. They will also be more likely to find your feeder if it’s in a visible location.
Will They Be Safe?
It’s essential to place the feeder so that your hummingbirds can avoid injury. A feeder that is too close to a fence or railing could allow neighborhood predators to sneak upon them. Placing a feeder near a window could also be dangerous since hummingbirds often don’t see the glass and can crash right into it.
Even if there aren’t any threats nearby, you’ll still want to create an environment that makes your hummingbirds feel secure.
Will They Have Enough Room?
Hummingbirds are quite territorial and become especially guarded when feeding. If you have more than one feeder and hang them too close to each other, they will tend to squabble and try to bully each other away from the nectar. Make sure they have plenty of space so they can enjoy a peaceful meal.
Is There Too Much Sun?
While sunlight reflecting off your feeder will make it more attractive to hummingbirds, too much sun will cause the nectar to become rancid and quickly grow bacteria and mold.
Can You Reach the Feeder?
Hummingbird feeders need regular attention. Hummers drink a lot of nectar, so you will need to refill the feeder frequently. Feeders also tend to get clogged up by bugs and need to be cleaned out regularly. By placing the feeder in a spot you can easily access, you’ll save yourself a lot of effort.
Can You See the Feeder?
You won’t get much enjoyment out of your hummingbirds if you can’t see them!
Near Colorful Flowers
Hummingbirds love brightly colored flowers, especially ones with tube-shaped blossoms. You can make your feeder more attractive by planting hummingbird-friendly flowers nearby. Some common examples include:
- Bee Balm
- Garden Phlox
- Coral Bells
It’s always best to choose plants native to your area since hummingbirds will be familiar with those flowers, and they’ll be easier to take care of. If you’re not sure what to pick, check with your local nursery.
Near Protective Cover
While placing a feeder in the open will make it more visible to hummingbirds, they don’t like to be too exposed while feeding. Hanging the feeder about 10 to 15 feet from a tree or shrub will give them a place to quickly flee and hide if they get startled.
Hummingbirds also spend much of their day perched in trees, so placing the feeder under a tree will give them a place to rest between meals. It will also encourage them to make the tree their preferred home, so they’ll spend more time in your yard.
You can also help hummingbirds feel safe by hanging the feeder away from places like your patio door or where children or the family dog usually hang out.
Expert Tip: A quiet location that’s free from disturbances will encourage your hummingbird visitors to sip away in peace.
Away from Predators
How high or low to hang your feeder is an important consideration. Hanging the feeder too low to the ground can put hummingbirds at risk of becoming a tasty snack for nearby animals. If you hang it too high, you will have difficulty reaching the feeder when it’s time to clean it.
It can pose an especially dangerous threat if you have an outdoor cat since your kitty will quickly figure out when and where the birds regularly feed. Hummingbirds have fast reflexes, but a suddenly lunging cat can bring one down with a single deadly swipe.
The best height to hang a hummingbird feeder is between 4 and 6 feet off the ground. This is usually enough to make it difficult for predators to threaten your hummingbirds while being low enough for most people to reach.
A good rule of thumb is to hang the hummingbird feeder so that it’s a little bit higher than your head. Depending on its surroundings, though, you may need to put it higher. If you end up having to place it so high that you can’t easily reach it, keep a folding step stool nearby.
Away from Bias
Hummingbirds love nectar and so do ants wasps and other sugar-loving insects. Not only will these pesky bugs steal your hummingbird’s nectar, but they often end up drowning in it giving the nectar a nasty smell that hummers don’t like.
In my experience, it’s impossible to make a feeder completely insect-proof. Even if you place the feeder on a hook or chain so ants can’t get to it wasps bees or winged ants can still find their way inside. However, you can at least discourage ants from invading your feeder.
Some are designed with an ant moat that can be filled with plain water and will prevent ants from reaching the nectar. If yours doesn’t come with one, you can buy a large ant moat separately. As a bonus, it can double as a birdbath.
Away from Each Other
Beneath their cute exterior, hummingbirds can be pretty ornery at feeding time especially around other hummingbirds. They tend to be territorial, and if two or more are trying to drink from the same feeder, they’re sure to squabble. Aggressive hummingbirds can chase more timid ones away and prevent them from feeding.
If you are hanging more than one feeder, you can avoid unnecessary strife by making sure to position them far enough apart so that your hummers won’t feel threatened by each other.
Expert Tip: Placing feeders at least 10-12 feet apart will allow everyone to get a turn at the nectar.
Out of Direct Sunlight
The sugar water in hummingbird nectar will spoil very quickly if exposed to too much sun and hot weather. If the nectar turns cloudy, or if you see dark patches inside the feeder it’s a sign of bacteria and mold growing inside. Take the feeder down right away, empty it, and give it a thorough cleaning.
Don’t just rinse it out, water alone won’t kill the germs and mold, and you’ll end up having to clean it more often. Hanging the feeder in a shady spot, like underneath a tree, will help the nectar last longer. But if the only place you can hang it is in full sunlight, don’t worry.
You’ll just need to replace the nectar every few days, more often during summer. Keeping your hummingbird’s nectar fresh and clean will require some extra effort but your hummers will appreciate it.
Where You Can See Them?
One thing that’s easy to forget when finding the right spot to hang a hummingbird feeder is that you’ll want to watch them. I’ve spent hours figuring out the perfect location, only to discover afterward that I can’t see the feeder from my window because I put it behind a pole or on the wrong side of a tree.
Be sure to place the feeder so that you can see your hummingbirds from inside the house. If you put it close to the window though, be careful. When hummingbirds are done feeding they often rapidly zoom away and they can slam right into window glass if they don’t realize it’s there.
One good option for placing a feeder near a window is getting one that attaches directly to the glass. With this type of feeder, hummingbirds will know to fly away from the window and even if they don’t, the glass is too close to cause them any harm.
Expert Tip: Another popular choice is to apply some colorful window decals to alert the hummers to the glass.
Enjoy Your Hummingbirds!
There are few things in life more satisfying than making friends with your neighborhood hummingbirds. We offer them sweet nectar, and in return, they grace us with their beauty and entertain us with their antics.
Turning your outdoor space into a safe and attractive hummingbird haven requires some planning, but it will pay off abundantly when you see the little winged jewels flitting happily around your feeder.