Attracting Hummingbirds

Posted on July 7th, 2011

We would all love to see hummingbirds in our yards but there is quite a science to attracting them.
This clear and informative article is the best one yet on the subject, and it tells you the real secret to making your yard inviting to these fascinating birds.

http://www.wildaboutgardening.org/en/attracting/section7/quickprint/index.htme

Some Edmonton area native plants that are thought to attract hummingbirds:

Fireweed, Epilobium angustifolium Bracted Honeysuckle, Lonicera involucrata (shrub)
Harebell, Campanula rotundifolia Red Osier Dogwood, Cornus stolonifera  (shrub)
Jewelweed, Impatiens capensis Snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus (shrub)
Giant Hyssop, Agastache foeniculum
Meadow Blazingstar, Liatris ligulistylis
Red Paintbrush, Castilleja miniata
Slender Blue Beardtongue, Penstemon procerus plus all the other Penstemons
Wild Bergamot, Monarda fistulosa
Wood Lily, Lilium philadelphicum

Here are two more articles regarding hummingbirds and the syrup mixture and content that shed some light on all the theories out there ... so you decide for yourself ...
http://www.paghat.com/reddye.html  and  http://www.paghat.com/hummingbird.html

Note:
Do not add red dye of any kind to your sugar solution (the red plastic colouration of the feeder itself does the trick). It adds no nutrition and is quite possibly harmful to the birds.

Do not use a stronger water-sugar solution than 4:1 in your feeder - a concentrated solution can cause calcium deficiency.


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12 Comments

Cheryl - July 28th, 2012 at 12:47 PM
I just purchased a feeder. Its July 28th. Is it too late to put it out?
And, I'd prefer it in my garden versus a window. What's a good way to hang it or mount it? Or can I hang it from my tree with my other feeders?
Thanks
Cheryl
- July 30th, 2012 at 2:05 PM
Hi Cheryl, No it's definitely not too late to put up a hummingbird feeder; and hanging it in the trees with your other feeders should work just fine. If you have a garden, you might like to consider growing the honeysuckle vine 'Dropmore Scarlet'. It's not a native vine but hummingbirds are very attracted to the orangey-red tubular flowers.
wayne purdy - August 10th, 2012 at 3:10 PM
Hi i just put out a hummingbird feeder.I live in Edmonton but I dont have a garden.Do i still have a reasonable chance to see them.Also is ther any particular time of day I should see them.Thank You













- August 13th, 2012 at 1:12 PM
Hi Wayne,
If there are flowers, trees, shrubs etc. near you, then even if you don't have a garden, hummingbirds might find your feeder. Next spring try a container with something like small red petunias to help attract them. It may take a while but they should find you!
There doesn't seem to be any particular time that they are active - I've had the odd one show up in the morning, and also late afternoon, early evening. Good luck to you - let us know if you do get any visiting - they really are the most amazing little birds!
Cheryl - August 4th, 2013 at 2:19 PM
I just hung two small feeders on a hook right in front of my window with flowers about 4 feet below
and it took about a week till the hummingbirds started to come once they find the feeder they will come back everyday. don't forget to keep your feeder clean,
- August 5th, 2013 at 3:10 PM
Well done, Cheryl - you got hummingbirds! And you are absolutely right that the feeder be kept very clean.
virginia - August 25th, 2012 at 10:39 AM
When do hummingbirds leave the Edmonton region?

I still have flowers but have been away a week and my feeders are empty.

Should I still fill and hang or have they all left? I live near Breton, AB.

Thanx,
Virginia
- August 25th, 2012 at 11:18 PM
Hi Virginia,
Depending on the weather, of course, hummingbirds are usually here through September to early October. So clean out your feeders, fill and rehang them and maybe they'll find you again.
I had one just this afternoon, checking out my perennial mallow ! First one I've seen this year.
Jane - April 18th, 2014 at 3:02 PM
I usually don't see any hummers till early August and they visit until mid to late September, depending on the year. I just get females, for some reason, but that's fine by me, because I remember the males at my home on Vancouver Island being real bullies and not letting the females get to the feeders.
- April 19th, 2014 at 11:14 PM
I think their arrival must be weather dependant - I have seen them in June in a greenhouse enjoying the hanging petunia baskets. I have heard or read somewhere that for their diminutive size they can be surprisingly aggressive - neat that you've seen them in action!
Lyn - May 13th, 2014 at 9:01 AM
We have a cabin and have put hummingbird feeders out for a couple of years with no luck in attracting them. a few years ago on Canada Day we put a small Canadian flag above one of the feeders and all of a sudden we were getting birds! The feeder is red but for some reason the birds start to come when the flags are up. I was surprised that the movement of the flag in the wind didn't scare them away but as skittish as they are, it doesn't seem to bother them at all. Now that we have put flags over the other feeders they are using all of them. Wondering if it's the movement of the flag that attracts them or do they just love Canada?
- May 18th, 2014 at 8:55 PM
I have no idea!! What a wonderful story. If you're in the Edmonton area, try getting in touch with the Edmonton Nature Club and the Wildbird Store (Lou Carbyn) and see if they have any thoughts on why the flags attract the birds. If you find out anything, do post it here as well - I'd like to know if it is more than a love of things Canadian!

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