Many gardeners enjoy extending their gardening experience to inviting birds and butterflies to the garden, which naturally includes tiny hummingbirds. These miniature birds add both color and movement to the garden as they zip from flower to flower or feed at a hummingbird feeder. The key to attracting hummingbirds lies in placing feeders throughout the yard in areas that meet their needs.
It may be tempting to hang your hummingbird feeders in direct sunlight where you can get the best view of these tiny birds feeding, but that isn't always a good idea. Direct sunlight heats the nectar in the feeder and it spoils quickly, forming black sooty mold in the feeder ports and along the insides of the feeder. Placing your hummingbird feeders in the shade keeps the nectar cool and refreshing for you hummingbirds and prevents spoiling. While direct morning sun is fine, keep hummingbird feeders out of direct sunlight in the afternoon for best results.
Hummingbirds are susceptible to predators, such as the neighbor's cat or the hawk soaring above the feeder. Placing the feeder near small trees and shrubs gives your hummingbirds a quick means of escape should predators appear. Hummingbirds also enjoy sitting on tree branches when not feeding. Trees or shrubs provide protection from the weather, a hiding place from predators and offer shade from the hot afternoon sun.
Hummingbirds are territorial birds and will fight fiercely to claim the feeder. By hanging several feeders around your yard, you will attract more hummingbirds. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology explains that eight small feeders with one feeding port each will attract and maintain more hummingbirds than one large feeder with 8 feeding ports.
Distance Between Feeders
Audubon recommends hanging hummingbird feeders far enough apart so that birds feeding at one feeder cannot see the birds at other feeders. This prevents hummingbirds from fighting and trying to claim both feeders. Hummingbirds often travel from one feeder to another, creating a constant buzz of hummingbird activity.
Hanging feeders outside windows is convenient for watching hummingbirds from inside the home. This makes bird watching accessible to those with limited mobility who are unable to go outdoors to watch the hummingbirds, but does pose some danger of window collisions, as hummingbirds may mistake the reflection in the window as a quick route to escape. In this case, decals placed on the windows will alert hummingbirds to its presence. Window feeders that attach to the window with suction cups make it possible to place feeders in nearly any window.