The first thing to setting up a window or backyard feeding station is to understand what hummingbirds like to eat. Their main source of food is nectar. Nectar provides them with essential carbohydrates that fuel their high metabolism and their energetic lives. They also feed on small insects that provide them with essential proteins and nutrients. They seldom drink water and mainly use it for preening and bathing. Let’s start with the basics on how to make a nectar solution for your feeder.
Hummingbird flowers, shrubs & trees, and vines
Feeders are a great way to attract these birds on occasion, but if you really want to maximize your efforts in attracting many hummingbirds on an everyday basis, it is essential to grow the necessary flowers, shrubs & trees, and vines. The more of this botanical garden you create, the more results you will see. First thing you should realize is that the color red attracts these birds; therefore, it is essential to have red tubular nectar flowers blossoming in your garden. You can have other colored blooms in your garden, but make sure to plant enough red blooms to grab their attention. The reason for a tubular-shaped nectar flowers is because they do not land on the flower to feed, but rather hover around these flowers and fit their beaks inside lapping up the nectar. Bees and other insects usually avoid these blooms because it is difficult for them to reach the nectar inside. Also, plant cluster blooms in your garden. They have a preference for flowers that bloom in clusters. Make sure you have flowers that are continuing to bloom and that you deadhead your plants so that you allow more flowers to bloom in its place.
It is ideal to get a good mix of annuals along with your perennials to plant in your garden. There are literally hundreds to choose from that they feed on. Below is a list of some of these that will point you in the right direction. I have listed a number of these plants in alphabetical order to help guide you in the right direction.
Trees & Shrubs
Notes on how to set up your hummingbird habitat: