How to Attract Hummingbird Nests in Your Yard

Hummingbirds are one of nature’s marvels. These small birds demonstrate a wing force that is a joy to watch. The rapid wing movement helps these feathery helicopters dart among flowers where they collect sweet nectar. If you’re looking to attract these birds—that really do hum—to your yard, think outside the birdhouse. Hummingbird nests are found primarily on tree limbs and horizontal services, near flowers and close to water. With a little planning, you can create an attractive environment without spending a lot of money.

Hummingbird flying to a flower

Hummingbirds Really Like Flowers

They may be small but their appetite is huge. Hummingbirds must eat once every 10-15 minutes and they visit between 1,000 and 2,000 flowers per day.  Common plants that are especially attractive for hummingbirds are those rich with nectar, especially the sugary nectar that supplies their supercharged energy. There are many plants and flowers that attract hummingbirds, here are just a few examples:

  • Bee Balm
  • Bleeding Hearts
  • Butterfly Bush
  • Larkspur
  • Petunia
  • Zinnias

Hummingbirds like the color red, something to remember when selecting plants. If you don’t have many red flowers, adding red garden objects, like a bench, is another option.

Combining perennials with annuals provides a nectar supply throughout the year. Mix it up by planting flowers in tiers and flowers that grow to different heights. Some hummingbirds like to fly low while others like to soar a little higher.

Encourage neighbors to join the effort. Attracting hummingbirds is easier when there is a more concentrated effort rather than a sparse location here and there. With a little luck, the ending result will include more hummingbirds and a better-looking neighborhood, one filled with colorful flowers.

Just as flowers need water, so do hummingbirds. Hummingbirds like small drops of water when it comes to washing off any sticky nectar. This makes the common birdbath a no for these birds. Birdbaths are simply too deep—aim for smaller water sources such as fountains and misters.

Hummingbird nesting near tree

Hummingbird Nests for Rest and Watching Prey

Hummingbird nests are small but sturdy. Location is key and when building their nests, these birds strive for:

  • A shady spot—Too much sun is bad for their eggs
  • Protection from the wind—Hummingbird eggs are the smallest of any bird eggs, making a strong gust of wind a real danger
  • An above ground location—A nest high above the ground protects their eggs from prey

These requirements explain why so many hummingbird nests are in trees. The birds tend to build their nests at cross-sections of tree branches, using natural fibers. To attract hummingbirds, consider planting leafy trees and large shrubs. Make them especially happy by planing catkin-bearing trees and shrubs that produce soft plant fibers—perfect for constructing a comfy nest. Examples of catkin-bearing trees are birch, poplar, maple, and mulberry.

Hummingbird in flight with red flower.

Be Patient and Observant

Hummingbirds are very good at camouflaging their nests. If you decide to build a structure from them and no one moves in, try relocating the nest to a different area. A hummingbird feeder is an additional draw, however, it is important to clean the feeder at least twice a week. Avoid using red dye in the sugary water.

A hummingbird nest is a joyful addition to any yard as baby hummingbirds emerge and eventually, take flight. Their colorful feathers and quick movements make them fun to watch. Be patient as they adjust to their new environment. Continue to provide nectar-rich flowers to attract the hummingbirds, because it is one of the most important ingredients for achieving success.

Hummingbirds are a great addition to any landscape. Children and adults can delight in watching these small creatures feeding and nesting in their yard.  Just knowing you’ve made a difference in their world will soon have you humming right along with them.


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