Hummingbirds are Back!

by Mary Ellen K. on June 23, 2011

Look at the fantastic showing of top photos submitted to our Monthly Backyard Bird Photo Contest in May:

Backyard-Bird-Photo-Contest

For the second month in a row, a hummingbird photograph won the monthly prize of 50 lbs of Drs. Foster & Smith birdseed/blends. This photo really captured the details of the hummer with great clarityโ€ฆa well-deserved win. It’s so exciting to see what all of you have captured in your backyards – keep the photos coming each month!

Colibri Hummingbird Feeder

Colibri Hummingbird Feeder

With the final migration of hummingbirds to the northern boarders of the US and into Canada completed in May, we are all enjoying the hummers. Here are a few tips to keep hummingbirds coming to your feeders:

  • Hang multiple nectar feeders in different places around the yard to defuse competing males.
  • Clean feeders regularly with each refill.
  • Remember that depending on the temperatures, nectar can spoil in 2-3 days โ€“ only feed what can be consumed in a few days.
  • Hummingbirds like mist. Provide a mister or dripper to attract more.
  • Use a feeder with bee-resistant ports or an ant moat to prevent bugs from invading the nectar.
  • Plant nectar producing flowers, shrubs, and trees in your yard that will naturally attract hummingbirds. Try, for example, honeysuckle, bleeding heart, petunia, orย trumpet vine.
Flutterby Butterfly Feeders attracts a variety of butterflies. Bring beauty into your yard!

Flutterby Butterfly Feeders attracts a variety of butterflies. Bring beauty into your yard!

CLOSED: Enter our *Giveaway:

For a chance to win a Flutterby Butterfly Feeder and Nectar,
leave a comment telling us what works best for you to keep the hummers coming back for more.

One lucky winner will be selected on Monday, June 27, 2011 at noon CST.

* No purchase is necessary to participate. You should be a legal resident of the United States and 18 years or older. Void where prohibited. Shipping to winner will be supplied by Drs. Foster and Smith. One lucky winner will be chosen at noon CST on Monday, June 27, 2011. Winner will be announced on http://www.dfs-pet-blog.com/2011/06/hummingbirds/. Sponsor: Foster & Smith, Inc., P.O. Box 100, Rhinelander, WI 54501-0100. Employees and their immediate family members are not eligible to enter. Winner will be notified by email, and must reply with their shipping information within 7 days. Failure to reply within the 7 days will forfeit your prize.


Mary Ellen and her husband have two children and Jager, a lab/husky mix adopted from a local rescue organization. Mary Ellen did not grow up in a household with any pets, but it took only a few months working at Drs. Foster and Smith to make her realize she had to have one. She is a merchandising manager here and holds a BS in Business Administration and Marketing from Marquette University.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

Aaron D June 23, 2011 at 9:17 am

I haven’t been successful in getting hummingbirds at my house in the city. My parents live in a more rural area and have 3-4 that continually come back throughout the season. I think my mom put out three separate feeders and has to keep them clean – changing them almost every other day – in order for the birds to want to feed from them.

Michelle A June 23, 2011 at 9:51 am

We have just one feeder out (we’re planning a cross country move, so we’re starting to whittle down our feeding stations). But I have that one feeder on a pole system that has a couple pots of red petunias hanging around the feeder. The hummers feed from either the flowers or the feeder. I use a homemade “nectar” with around a 1:5 ratio (sugar to water), boiled and then stored in an airtight jar in the fridge. Hasn’t failed me yet! We’re looking forward to our westward move that will take us to an area with many more Hummer species. ๐Ÿ™‚

Stacy S June 23, 2011 at 9:56 am

I have had the most luck with canna bulbs. I have canna bulbs that are 4 generations old. My great grandfather passed them down to my grandmother who gave them to my mother who then gave them to me. The hummingbirds eat from the the flowers and the feeder that I put out. Unfortunately, my cannas rotted over the winter and my mom already planted hers. I have not seen any hummingbirds this year.

Molly Antonk June 23, 2011 at 9:57 am

Anything red seems to attract them. I have a hanging flower basket in the back of the house with red petunias and other flowers as well. I have seen one or two back there but I always seem to walk outside right when they come up. There is also a fuscia plant hanging right beside that one. I have a red hummingbird feeder in the front of the house hanging under a tree but I have only seen one there.

Natalie Noble June 23, 2011 at 10:02 am

Hummingbirds love my honeysuckle vine. That is where I usually see them. I don’t always feel like changing and cleaning the hummingbird feeder so having plants like this attracts them naturally.

Nina June 23, 2011 at 10:05 am

I have found that moving the feeders around if they aren’t producing is a great help. One locations seems to make sense to us for a feeder but they don’t like it. Move the feeder to a new location and they may love it there and you will have more birds than ever.

Nikki June 23, 2011 at 10:27 am

Because we live in Tucson, AZ the summers are just terrible and I worry about the nectar spoiling so we clean and refill with a small amount every third day. Between fresh feeders and lots of flowering plants in our yard we have pretty good luck.

Lisa June 23, 2011 at 10:30 am

A great simple trick that worked for me was tying a red ribbon to the feeder so a long tail flutters in the breeze. I’d see them in neighbors yards, but never in mine. Now they come back year after year!

Kristin Maynard June 23, 2011 at 11:41 am

Seems so hard to get them to come to my feeders here in NC. Going to try putting fresh nectar in more often and see how that goes.

Brooke June 23, 2011 at 11:44 am

We planted tons of Hostas all over the yard a few years ago, and also have plenty of Impatiens, and Petunias. Last year I bought a little hummingbird feeder and put it up near the kitchen window. My mom also puts brightly colored bows all over for decoration and I have even seen hummingbirds checking those out!

Kimberly Snyder June 23, 2011 at 11:53 am

I haven’t seen any hummingbirds in our yard since we moved in 5 years ago. I would love to have them come around and this feeder looks like it would do the trick!

LadyJai June 24, 2011 at 10:19 am

We make our own nectar and a humming bird feeder outside our patio (changing it every 3 days). We also have bee balm to help bring them ’round. I’m thinking about getting a butterfly bush too. Would love to attract more.

I don’t understand why my comments are not showing up! :/

Shelli Conner June 27, 2011 at 8:41 am

I adore the hummingbirds we have around our home, we always try to select plants that are known to pull them in, but have never tried an actual feeder…this would be awesome!

Sara June 27, 2011 at 8:42 am

I have used a couple cheap hummingbird feeders with no luck ๐Ÿ™

Debi Orr June 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

It’s funny, I don’t do anything special. I have a Mimosa Tree next to my back porch, which I think attracts both butterflies and hummers. Last year towards the end of August, I had 10 hummers on my two feeders. Currently, I have 6. They eat me out of house and home! I can’t keep up with the sugar water. Seriously, I’m filling the feeders every day. I’m in need of getting another feeder; if I have 6 now, I’m sure I’ll have more than 10 this year.

Ruby Kelsey June 27, 2011 at 8:43 am

Who doesn’t love hummingbirds? They have become a source of entertainment for our family, Our feeds were destroyed in a storm we had about a month ago i sure could use a new one! Thank you

Karsyn Lyn Taylor June 27, 2011 at 8:44 am

They prefer our flowers to the food we mix up. Wisteria and honeysuckle are their favorites. But I still try with the homemade food, not wanting them to have an excuse to leave. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Ruby Kelsey June 27, 2011 at 8:46 am

Feeders work best for us, The feeders help us see them easier. But we have lots of honeysuckle for them!

Linda Jensen June 27, 2011 at 8:47 am

For me, having the feeder always clean, and changing the necktar every 2 days works best, as well as not keeping it in as much direct sunlight, a place that is slightly secluded, but still visible for the little “hummers” provides a place to eat, with a little bit of security to them, too (vs. being totally out in the open).

Heather June 27, 2011 at 8:48 am

Had a hummingbird inches away from me yesterday. I would love a feeder to see if I can get more then one.

Terri Oak June 27, 2011 at 8:49 am

I like to raise Monarch caterpillars but never had a feeder before.

Randall Smith June 27, 2011 at 8:50 am

The humming birds are always coming around North East Ohio by Mother’s Day. You can set your clock by them. We only get the Ruby Throated here. This reminds me, I need to get some more food.

Diane G. June 27, 2011 at 8:51 am

We live in a wooded area in the country. Lots of pine trees where the hummers nest. Also, TONS of humming birds!! We have 4 feeders out (one of them is a triple decker feeder) and we refill the feeders twice a day. I use a mixture of 1 cup sugar to 3 cups water. NO DYE or coloring and no boiling. The water needs to be hot enough to dissolve the sugar, but if its truly hot outside, the hummers enjoy a cooler temp of water; nothing cold though. Our humming bird feeders usually have 1 bird on each spot, with others waiting for them to leave. We have so many, if you carry a full feeder out to the holder, you can have hummers land on it while you are walking!! We have different flowers in the yard, but I think the thing that attaracts them the most is they know the feeders will be out early in the Spring and late into the Fall. We (I live in the mid-west) get more hummers in the early Spring (early April) and late Fall (late September to early October) as they are migrating. Always have a feeder ready and make sure its CLEAN! ๐Ÿ™‚ I *love* watching the little guys!!

johanna stadler June 27, 2011 at 9:00 am

I planted perenials to feed them and arranged a bunch of blow downs to make them shelter, and moved my cat to my folks so he was indoors and no longer able to pick them off as they came into feed.

Diana June 27, 2011 at 9:03 am

My mother use to hang a red feeder with nectar from our crab apple tree in Up State NY. The tree would be filled with hummingbirds, especially when the blossoms were present. They are so beautiful and amazing to watch.

Jada Edwards June 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

I plant gazillions of multi color zinnias! The hummers and butterflies go crazy for them (so do I!). I hang a hummingbird feeder right in the middle of the flowers, and just watch them zoom! ๐Ÿ™‚

Elaine June 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

We have a hummingbird feeder on our front porch about 5′ away from a large butterfly bush near the side of the house. There are hummers on or around our feeder almost 24/7! They’ve become so accustomed to us, they pay us no attention, and rarely bother to leave even when we go outside to sit on the porch.

Linda Floyd June 27, 2011 at 9:06 am

I had no problem attracting hummers when I lived in Alabama. I am now in Wisconsin and have only seen 2 to 3 each season. I don’t buy anything special to feed them because I am not sure I trust most nectar that is sold. I make my own with sugar and water. I use 4 water:1 sugar ratio. I refrigerate it. I also have a wooded area that I seem to have better luck with…unlike the ones in AL that didn’t care where the feeder was.

Virginia S. Wood June 27, 2011 at 9:12 am

Anything red–I have had them come up to the security system sticker to check it out (it’s red) and I’ve had them buzz in to investigate my African Grey Parrot’s red tail! And once I saw a juvenile chasing a cardinal through the branches of our cherry tree!

Jennifer June 27, 2011 at 9:27 am

We just have 1 little feeder so it doesn’t attract many birds. But I would love to have more…

vicki woyak June 27, 2011 at 9:29 am

I hang my hummer feeder (yes, I only have one~ a bear “ate” the other one I had hanging in a near by tree last year~so I need a new one;) under the edge of my back deck/porch roof off the center post. On the other side of the post as well as both end posts I hang baskets of bright colored Fushia. The hummers always find my feeders because the plants show them the way! This location protects the feeders from direct sun which helps control the mold factor and the hummers even come and sit on the feeder when it’s raining. Placing them here makes it easy to maintain the feeder and allows us to sit on our porch swing and watch them! It also makes it easy to grab the feeders and bring them safely inside when bears are around (a lesson learned).

vicki woyak June 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

Also like Linda, I live in northern Wisconsin, so I grow lots of flowers in my herb garden to attract them to my area and then they find my feeders on the porch.

Claire June 27, 2011 at 9:35 am

I’ve seen hummingbirds in my yard (in central Wisconsin) around my hibiscus, but would like to try a hummingbird feeder.

Sandy Hansen June 27, 2011 at 9:40 am

I think I love butterflies as much if not more than the hummers. I plant my yard/gardens to bring both in. And I have hummingbird feeders all over my yard.

Carol Wiethaupt June 27, 2011 at 9:43 am

I love the hummingbirds. I change the feeder and clean it with water every other day. I love watching them, they are so delicate and pretty.

Brian Twidt June 27, 2011 at 9:59 am

My wife and I enjoy seeing the hummingbirds feed on our wisteria. We usually get two or three every year.

Dayna K. June 27, 2011 at 10:14 am

I try and plant flowers and shrubs that humming birds are attracted to. I have a bunch of azalea’s and coral bells they love. I’d love to have a feeder!

Christine Bush June 27, 2011 at 10:24 am

Hummingbirds are one of my most favorite things about summer. I look forward to seeing them return, and am sad when they leave.

Nikki Klock June 27, 2011 at 10:41 am

I just LOVE hummingbirds… the wind in a recent thunderstorm claimed one of the feeders I had in my garden… it was one of their favorite ones and I haven’t been able to replace it yet… they just don’t seem to like the other one I have out for them as much! ๐Ÿ™ They are so calming and peaceful to watch!!

Mike C June 27, 2011 at 10:49 am

I tried a hummingbird feeder once, but I must have been doing something wrong – location, mix, etc. I really should give it a try again sometime…they are amazing birds!

Teri Tan June 27, 2011 at 10:52 am

I find I have to set out my feeder quite early (as soon as the chance of freezing is over) and make sure it never runs out. I have quite a few hummingbirds coming now.
It doesn’t hurt that my feeder is near a hibiscus bush either. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sara Bertolino June 27, 2011 at 10:53 am

Keep the feeder clean and change out the nectar frequently, especially in hot weather. I also have lots of annual flower baskets and also plant hummingbird attracting perennials in my gardens.

Patty T June 27, 2011 at 11:08 am

We keep two feeders up year round (live in Northern CA) and we see hummingbirds all year long. There aren’t as many in the winter but we still see one or two a day. I think we consistently get hummers because we live by a park and have one feeder in the backyard and one in the front so the hummers don’t all compete in the same area. We made the mistake of hanging both in the backyard and would have males fighting over them all of the time.

Mary June 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

I love how arrogant these little birds. I was outside weeding and the feeder was empty. They started divebombing to go fill it.

I need another feeder.

Ellen B. June 27, 2011 at 1:02 pm

A HUGE thank you to everyone for sharing your secrets for attracting hummingbirds to your yard! Congrats to LadyJai who won the Flutterby Butterfly Feeder and Nectar. (LadyJai, I will contact you via email).

Terry Parrish June 27, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I have no trouble with hummingbirds and I would like to attract more butterflies, but have’nt been able to find a feeder for them locally.

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