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    7 Tips for Hanging Your Hummingbird Feeder

    Authored by Jodi Helmer

    When it comes to attracting some of the 15 different hummingbird species that live in the United States to your yard, it’s all about location, location, location.  
     
    Hummingbirds have outstanding memories and remember where feeders are located. Choosing the best spot to hang a hummingbird feeder could bring these petite migratory birds back to your yard over and over again. Instead of filling a feeder for hummingbirds and hoping they'll find it, follow these tips to turn your hummingbird feeders into the most popular gathering spots in the garden for years to come.

    Look for the light

    Watch how the sunlight falls across your yard at different times of the day. Hanging your feeder on the north or east sides of the house will offer protection from the hot afternoon sun while also providing access to the morning sun, which helps hummingbirds warm up to start the day.

    The ideal spot for a hummingbird feeder has dappled shade. Look for locations under trees, beneath a covered porch, window awning or roofline that provide shade but still offer easy access. The shade will help nectar, which can spoil quickly in the hot summer sun, last longer.

    Watch the windows

    Hummingbirds have been called “the fighter pilots of the avian world” because, even at flight speeds of up to 35 miles per hour, hummingbirds can dive, weave and pivot quickly in mid-air, but placing a hummingbird feeder too close to a window can still lead to accidental collisions. 

    It's best to hang your hummingbird feeder at least three feet away from the windows to keep birds safe. The National Audubon Society also recommends placing decals on the window two to four inches apart to minimize collision risk.

    Choosing a hummingbird feeder with suction cups that attaches to the window is another option. The sight of a feeder makes hummingbirds slow down to approach, keeping them safe—and it offers you the best view of hummingbirds hovering over the feeder with their wings beating 60 to 80 times per second while they sip sugar water with their long tongues.

    Make it visible

    Your hummingbird feeder shouldn’t be the best kept secret in the neighborhood.

    Choose a location where the feeder is visible from multiple angles so hummingbirds can find it easily—but avoid hanging it from a hook in the middle of the yard. If your feeders are too exposed, hummingbirds will feel vulnerable to predators and may not stop for a meal. The best places to hang your hummingbird feeder have cover nearby, but are still open enough for hummingbirds to spot them from a distance.

    Grow a garden

    Hummingbirds are little birds with big appetites. During spring and fall migration, species like the Rufous hummingbird and Ruby-throated hummingbird fly between 500 and 3,000 miles. The journey works up an appetite and hummingbirds will flock to feeders filled with sugar water—but these hungry birds need other sources of nectar, too. 

    Hang a hummingbird feeder from a shepherd’s hook in the middle of a flower garden. Hummingbirds love bright red-and orange-colored flowers with tubular shapes, including bee balm, columbine, lupines, foxglove, hollyhocks and petunias. The combination of a hummingbird feeder and a garden filled with nectar-rich blooms creates a buffet that will have hummingbirds coming back.

    Mind the gap

    Spacing is important if you have multiple hummingbird feeders in the garden. Hummingbirds can be territorial and might get aggressive if there are too many hummingbirds—and too many feeders—in  a small space. 

    In the spring, male hummingbirds will often fight over territories, including feeders, before the females arrive. The more hummingbird feeders in the garden, the less they’ll need to compete to claim one as their own.

    Position feeders in different spots around the yard that are well distanced (and ideally out of sight) of one another to help reduce aggressive behavior and allow hummingbirds to enjoy a meal without feeling the need to defend their territories.

    Consider convenience

    Your hummingbird feeder will need to be cleaned and refilled often, especially during spring and summer months, so make sure it’s easily accessible. You don’t want to be climbing a ladder or climbing through dense brush every time the feeder is empty. It's also important to be able to access the feeder if it needs to be repaired or replaced.

    Provide protection

    Predators like cats, raccoons, possums, hawks and snakes are all eager to feed on the hummingbirds that frequent your feeders. Hanging your hummingbird feeder in a location that offers them some protection from predators is essential.

    Choose a spot near evergreens or brush piles to give hummingbirds a place to hide; hanging hummingbird feeders under tarps or umbrellas (to hide them from predators lurking overhead) and adding wire cages or fences around feeders keeps vulnerable hummingbirds safe from attack.

    It’s also important to choose a location for your hummingbird feeder that is protected from strong winds; hummingbirds will struggle to drink if the feeder is blowing around and high winds could knock the feeder from its spot, causing nectar to spill.

    Choosing the best place to hang your hummingbird feeder can help attract colorful hummingbirds to your yard and keep them coming back for more.