Where is the Best Place to Put a Hummingbird Feeder?

Invite energetic hummers to your yard with a nectar-filled feeder.

August 21, 2019
Feeding Time

Feeding Time

Hummingbirds are naturally drawn to the color red. Thus many commercially available feeders will have red bases. Hummingbird food is sometimes tinted red as well. Here a Broad-tailed hummingbird rests between sips of sugar water. Try making your own hummingbird food.

Photo by: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Swooping, darting and hovering, hummingbirds bring the garden to life. These aerial acrobats flit from flower to flower, sipping nectar each time they dip their beak into a blossom. Hummers must eat every 10 to 15 minutes to survive, which means they visit between 1,000 and 2,000 blossoms per day. Want hummingbirds to hang out longer in your yard? Put up a feeder.

8 Best Hummingbird Feeders + Accessories for Your Yard

Welcome the tiniest of feathered friends with these top-rated feeders and accessories.

Hummingbird feeders are simple to fill and clean, and they provide a perfect place for hummers to perch and sip the sweet nectar they crave. As you consider the best place to put a hummingbird feeder in your yard, keep these tips in mind.

Place the Hummingbird Feeder Near Flowers

One of the best places to put a hummingbird feeder is near plants that hummingbirds are already visiting. Hummingbirds feed from nectar-rich blossoms. They prefer red, yellow and orange flowers with a tubular shape (a long neck with petals on the end). It’s not easy for insects to get the nectar from these types of blooms, which leaves all the sweet nectar for the hummers.

Don't Place in the Heat

Choose a place for your feeder that’s not in direct sun all day. The nectar solution you put into a hummingbird feeder ferments more quickly the longer it’s in the hot sun. If the nectar solution ferments and turns cloudy, hummers will stop once or twice for a sip, but they won’t linger and, if the solution stays funky, won’t return.

Place the Feeder Where You Can See It Easily

Part of the reason to have a hummingbird feeder is to observe these winged wonders. Hummers spend 80 percent of their time perching, so adding a feeder means you’ll get to observe the birds at rest. Try to position your feeder where you’ll be able to see it from indoors. Many gardeners place their hummingbird feeders near indoor eating areas so they can enjoy the air show during mealtimes.

Common Problems With Hummingbird Feeders

  • Sun—Too much sun ferments nectar solution, turning it cloudy and rancid.
  • Rain—If it rains at the right angle, water can work its way into your feeder portals, diluting the nectar solution. When this happens, hummers will stop visiting the feeder. Your first clue there's a problem will likely be that the nectar solution level doesn’t drop like normal.
  • Bugs—Most insect issues can be solved by choosing a feeder with an ant moat (add water plus a few drops of dish soap to trap ants) or small feeding ports designed to exclude bees.

How to Clean a Hummingbird Feeder

Rinse your feeder well with hot water each time you change the nectar solution. At least once a month, give your hummingbird feeder a deep clean. Do not use diluted bleach solution like you typically do with other bird feeders. Instead, clean it with a blend of one part white vinegar to four parts water.

Why Hang a Hummingbird Feeder?

For hummingbirds, constant feeding is a necessity to fuel their pedal-to-the-medal metabolism. Hummers flap their wings 75 times a second (in normal flight), and their hearts beat four times a second. Some hummingbirds undertake long migrations. Ruby-throated hummingbirds fly 550 miles across the Gulf of Mexico, while rufous hummingbirds take a 3,000-mile trek between Alaska and Mexico. The best time of year to hang your hummingbird feeder is during migration. Learn more about hummingbird migration timing at Hummingbirds At Home and Hummingbird Central.

Make Your Own Hummingbird Nectar

Hummingbird nectar is simply sugar water. While you can purchase nectar, it’s not hard to whip up your own. The recipe is simple: four parts hot water to one part white sugar. Do not substitute honey, agave, stevia or other sweeteners for sugar. Heat the water and dissolve the sugar in the water. Do not add red dye to the solution — attract hummers with the color of your feeder, not the color of the food. You can make nectar a quart at a time and store the excess in the fridge for a few weeks. As long as the nectar is clear, it’s good to use. To lengthen the life of nectar, add a product like Nectar Defender, which prolongs freshness.

More Tips

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

This easy and inexpensive hummingbird food recipe will have these beloved pollinators making return visits to your garden.

Next Up

How to Make Hummingbird Nectar

This easy and inexpensive hummingbird food recipe will have these beloved pollinators making return visits to your garden.

How to Turn a Liquor Bottle Into a Hummingbird Feeder

Learn the secret for drilling holes in heavy-bottom bottles so you can upcycle them into unique hummingbird feeders.

Hummingbird 101

Entice these enchanting birds to make a stop in your garden.

8 Best Hummingbird Feeders + Accessories for Your Yard

Welcome the tiniest of feathered friends with these top-rated feeders and accessories.

How to Grow Columbine Flowers

Find out how to grow columbine, an easy-care perennial to feature in your garden.

A Surprising Way to Banish Fruit Flies

Get rid of fruit flies by pouring them a nice glass of wine.

Make This Stylish, Acrylic Bird Feeder With Midcentury Flair

Let all the neighborhood birds know the perfect place to hang out.

Anise Sage

Deep blue flowers distinguish this hummingbird favorite.

Banishing Bunnies From the Garden

See these seven tips on how to keep rabbits out of your garden.

35 Best Bird Feeders and Accessories for Your Yard

Want to attract pollinating birds to your yard and garden? Check out our recommendations for the best bird feeders, including window feeders, stylish handmade feeders, squirrel-deterring feeders and more.

Go Shopping

Spruce up your outdoor space with products handpicked by HGTV editors.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.

Related Pages