25 tips: Where to hang your hummingbird feeder

Hummingbirds by harrison-haines

Last Updated on January 27, 2024 by Greg Gillson

Are you happy with where your hummingbird feeder was hanging this spring?

Did your hummingbird feeder bring lots of hummingbirds to your yard? Was it easy to see from inside your home?

Here are 25 tips to help you decide the best place to hang your hummingbird feeder (or feeders!).

Preview:

Hang your hummingbird feeder so the hummingbirds can easily find it. Place it so it has both sun and shade. Its location should be near to protective cover. And it must be where you can see it easily from inside your home. 

You may hang your hummingbird feeder from a shepherds hook in the middle of your lawn, to a tree branch, attach it to a window using a suction cup feeder, or hang it from the eaves.

Photo of hummingbird feeder

There are two parts of this article. 

The first part discusses in general where hummingbird feeders should be placed within your landscaping to provide the safest feeder for the hummingbirds and the most joy for you.

The second part of the article discusses specific physical structures from which to hang your hummingbird feeders.

Tip 1: Hummingbird feeders should be easy for the birds to find

Especially first thing in the spring, your feeders should be highly visible. Thus, any passing hummingbirds will see your feeders and come to them to drink. 

Hang your feeders high and in the open. Once hummingbirds are visiting regularly, you may move them to a more secluded or shaded location.

You may also place bright red, orange, and yellow ribbons or decorations to attract hummingbirds to your yard.

Tip 2: Set up hummingbird feeders within 10-15 feet of cover

So they are safe from predators, hang hummingbird feeders near a bush or tree where they can take cover.

Even if your feeders are placed out in the middle of the lawn, they should still be near some protective cover. If safety is too far away the hummingbirds may not visit the feeder regularly, or stay for long.

Tip 3: Hummingbirds like a tall survey perch nearby

The dominant hummingbird keeps vigilant watch over the feeder. He or she usually chooses a perch high up with a commanding view. It can be a tree branch, fence line, wire, or bird feeder pole.

From there this bird chases away any interlopers. There is always a dominant hummingbird at a feeder that chases the others away. Or, at least, chases them. The more hummingbirds at the feeder the less successful is this bully bird at chasing any single one of the birds away.

You can even add a perch, called a hummingbird swing. Place the perch within 5 or 6 feet of the feeder and the dominant hummingbird will sit there all day when not chasing other hummingbirds. The best part is, you can place this swing where you’ll have a good view from your home!

Broad-tailed Hummingbird by Michelle Lynn                                    Reynolds

Tip 4: Hang the hummingbird feeder where you can see it!

The purpose of a hummingbird feeder is to attract hummingbirds into view!

Many people hang the hummingbird feeder at a location where there is already a hook. But that may not be the best place to see the feeder from inside your home.

Where will you be looking outside during the early part of the day? That’s the best place to put the feeder.

What about the evening? What room will you be in? The window for that room will be another good location for a feeder.

Tip 5: Hummingbird feeder placement: morning sun, afternoon shade

That’s the main idea. 

Hummingbirds may be cold in the morning and want to feed in the warm sun.

Afternoon sun can cause the nectar to go bad more quickly.

I wrote another whole article on where to hang a hummingbird feeder, in sun or shade. You should check out that article for more ideas about this topic specifically.

Tip 7: Photographing hummingbirds at feeders

To photograph hummingbirds at your feeder you want them close. You want them with sunlight on them from the front. That’s hard to do from inside your home.

If you hang a feeder right outside the window, the hummingbird will either be in the shade or be a silhouette looking right into the sun.

So to photograph hummingbirds in the morning sun, place the feeder on the south side of your house. It should be out maybe 5 or 6 feet away from the window and perhaps a bit to the west edge of the window.

Photographing hummingbirds through a window often distorts the image slightly. There are also reflections back. So place the camera against the glass. Better, open the window, if possible for your own personal hummingbird photo blind.

Tip 8: Hummingbird feeders must be easy to get down to clean and refill

Wherever you hang your hummingbird feeders, it should be easy and convenient to reach. Feeders will empty and need cleaned every 3-5 days in summer.

Clean hummingbird feeders are essential to attract lots of hummingbirds. If it is hard to take them down, then you won’t. They will hang there empty or with cloudy nectar that the hummingbirds refuse to drink.

Tip 9: Hummingbird feeder must be placed away from cats

Can can jump quite high. But jumping cats are not the main threat that hummingbirds face. Rather it is cats pouncing from a hiding place that often leads to bird deaths.

So keep any bushes that are dense to the ground away from low hanging hummingbird feeders. Any place a cat can hide and pounce should be removed to at least 8 feet away.

Or, you may simply hang your hummingbird feeder up 5 feet off the ground.

Tip 10: Hummingbird feeders should be placed so they are safe from windows

Birds don’t understand windows. If it is clear they think they can fly through it. Or, they are confused by the reflection into thinking it is sky.

There are two distances from windows to place your bird feeders, including hummingbird feeders.

Place your feeders far from your home to prevent window collisions. Several sources recommend placing feeders at least 30 feet away from windows to prevent bird collisions. Other experts recommend at least 10 feet away.

The second location for bird feeders is within 3 feet of the window. Why so close? Birds can more easily see a window if they are near it to start. If they do hit the window, they aren’t flying fast enough to hurt themselves. They see their own reflection and have time to veer off from a direct head-on collision.

You may place decals on the window so birds recognize that there is something there. The shape of the decals don’t matter as much as having something for their eyes to focus on at the same plane as the glass. Then they can more easily see the window glass itself, rather than looking through.

Tip 11: Place hummingbird feeders away from other bird feeders

Give hummingbirds some privacy away from the rambunctious activity of other birds at the seed feeders.

Hummingbird feeders can be near other bird feeders, but hummingbirds visit more often when other birds do not startle them away.

The hummingbirds will feel safer with a bit of space between them and other birds at seed feeders.

      Hummingbird feeder by joshua-j-cotten

Tip 12: The spacing of multiple hummingbird feeders

There are two lines of thought about how close together to place multiple hummingbird feeders.

Since there is always a dominant bully hummingbird at the main feeder, some people recommend hanging a second feeder around the corner, out of sight from the first feeder. Less dominant birds can feed there unmolested.

But if you want lots of hummingbirds, set up lots of feeders rather close together! While the dominant hummingbird chases one other hummingbird away, the others can get in for a drink. The bully gets tired of chasing and shares the feeder. 

Usually, though, with several feeders hanging closely, everybody is chasing everybody. It’s wild!

Tip 13: Give hummingbird feeders enough space for the birds to fly around the feeder

Hummingbirds often feed while in flight. So they don’t want the feeder to be crowded too close to other objects. 

Keep feeders a foot away from any posts or walls or plants or other feeders.

Likewise, hummingbirds may be cautious about approaching hummingbird feeders that are hidden in a bush. Hang the feeder outside bushes, with some open space around them.

Tip 14: Don’t let plants touch the hummingbird feeder!

Related to the previous tip is this one. Keep plants trimmed away from the hummingbird feeder.

Why? Ants crawl up the plants to reach the feeder. This defeats the purpose of the ant moat. Always use and keep water in the ant moat.

Tip 15: Hang your hummingbird feeder out of the wind

Wind causes the hummingbird feeder to sway and leak. Leaking hummingbird feeders attract ants and bees.

Ants attracted to hummingbird feeders will soon make their way into your house! That’s not what you want.

If the hummingbird feeder is out on a bird feeder pole in the yard a ways, ants are less of a problem for your house. But ants can quickly cause hummingbird nectar to go bad.

Tip 16: Hang your hummingbird feeder so that it doesn’t drip on anything important

You don’t want any leaks of sugar water that you may step in. 

You don’t want the hummingbird feeder dripping on your picnic table, BBQ, air conditioner, or decorations.

I wrote an article on keeping bees from feeders. It also discusses different kinds of feeders, including hummingbird feeders that don’t drip.

Tip 17: Hang hummingbird feeders in your flower garden

Hummingbird feeders imitate the nectar of flowers! Thus, it only makes sense to attract hummingbirds with blooming flowers.

Choose a combination of flowers that bloom early and late in the season. That way there are always some flowers when hummingbirds are present.

Hummingbirds prefer flowers with trumpet-shaped blossoms. Check with your local nursery for native flowers that do well in your region.

Planting flowers hummingbirds love is the best way to attract hummingbirds to your backyard.

                     Hummingbird by as-r

Tip 18: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a pole or shepherd’s hook

This is the most obvious way to hang a hummingbird feeder.

Using a bird feeder pole has the advantage of placing the feeder exactly where you want within your yard.

Home Depot sells an 84-inch tall, dual offset shepherd’s hook that my wife and I really like for hanging all our bird feeders. It inserts into the ground a foot or more. Thus the feeders hang above 5 feet. 

Tip 19: Hang a hummingbird feeder from the eaves

Do your eaves have hooks for hanging flower baskets? Perfect! Hang flowers on some of the hooks. Place a hummingbird feeder between them on another hook!

This is the fastest way to get hummingbirds to find your feeders in the spring!

If you don’t have hooks for hanging flower baskets, well, why not? Get some today!

Tip 20: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a window awning

This location for hanging a hummingbird feeder has several advantages. The feeder will receive low morning light, yet be protected from hot noon weather. It may receive some protection from strong winds, too. And it is protected from rain.

Best of all, a bird feeder hanging from an awning is always visible outside the window!

Tip 21: Hang hummingbird feeders from the rain gutters

If your roof doesn’t lend itself to hanging hummingbird feeders from the eaves, then try the gutters!

Bend a stiff metal coat hanger so that the feeder hangs from the gutters. Nothing heavy should hang from the gutters, but a light-weight feeder should be no problem.

Tip 22: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a wall with a shelf bracket

You can screw a shelf bracket into the siding of your home to hang a hummingbird feeder. You might want to caulk with a silicone sealant to keep out moisture from the screw holes.

Careful, though! Keep the shelf bracket above head height so no one hits their head on the bracket sticking out.

Tip 23: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a wooden fence with a shelf bracket

You can hang a hummingbird feeder from a fence post or the upper wooden rail with a shelf bracket.

You can also use a C-clamp to attach an arm to the top of the pickets. 

Careful, though, to plan this in an area where no one will run into the arm. It should not be along a footpath, for instance. The bracket will be right at head level!

Tip 24: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a tree

You may hang a feeder from a tree limb. I suggest a low tree limb so that the feeder does not swing wildly on its hanger. A higher limb may require a cord or thin rope.

You may attach a shelf bracket to the trunk of the tree. Attach with wood screws–longer for thick bark.

Be sure to use an ant moat, as ants tend to live in trees at certain times of year.

Tip 25: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a gazebo or shed

Use the same mounting method as for hanging feeders from eaves, gutters, or siding explained above.

Tip 26: Buy a window hummingbird feeder with suction cups

Window feeders bring the birds right up to you!

Window attached hummingbird feeders are generally smaller volume. That is because the sugar water is heavy. And the suction cups can only hold a lighter weight feeder.

The suction cups tend to pop off the window after a time. Make sure the window is clean and dry when you attach the suction cups. Then they’ll stay longer.

There are two types. 

Either the hummingbird feeder itself attaches to the window with suction cups. 

Or, the hanger can have the suction cups and you can use a regular hanging bird feeder. Then you can hang any type of bird feeder to your window!

Tip 27: Hang a hummingbird feeder from a wooden deck railing with an extension arm

There are extension arms sold with C-clamps to attach hummingbird feeders to the railing of your deck. These may also work to attach the arm to the upper rail of a wooden fence. Some even work on metal railings. 

Tip 28: Hang your bird feeder from a covered porch or deck

Just like your house, you may hang hummingbird feeders from the eaves or from the gutters, as explained above.

There.

Uh-oh, I went past 25! Oh well, a couple of bonus ideas for you.

Did I miss any locations? Leave a note in the comments to benefit others.

Wrapping Up

Hummingbirds: Tiny Jewels of the Avian World

Hummingbirds are some of the most fascinating and unique birds on Earth. Here are some interesting facts about them:

Size and Weight:

  • They are the smallest bird species in the world, with some weighing less than a penny!
  • Their wings beat 70-80 times per second, allowing them to hover in mid-air and fly backwards.

Diet:

  • They are the only birds that can fly backwards.
  • Their primary food source is nectar, which they sip from flowers with their long, specialized bills.
  • They can visit 1,000 flowers per day in search of food.

Metabolism:

  • They have the highest metabolic rate of any warm-blooded animal.
  • To keep up with their energy needs, they consume twice their body weight in nectar each day.
  • When food is scarce, they enter a state of torpor, slowing their metabolism and body temperature to conserve energy.

Migration:

  • Some species are long-distance migrants, traveling thousands of miles between breeding and wintering grounds.
  • The Rufous Hummingbird has the longest migration of any hummingbird, flying up to 3,000 miles between Alaska and Mexico.

Interesting Adaptations:

  • They have excellent vision and can see ultraviolet light, which helps them find flowers.
  • Their tongues are long and forked, allowing them to reach deep into flowers to access nectar.
  • They can change the direction of their wingbeats in mid-air, giving them incredible maneuverability.

Threats:

  • Habitat loss, pesticide use, and climate change are all threats to hummingbird populations.
  • Planting native flowering plants in your garden is a great way to attract and support hummingbirds.

Bonus Fun Facts:

  • The oldest recorded hummingbird lived for 9 years and 9 months.
  • The Aztec god of war, Huitzilopochtli, was often depicted as a hummingbird warrior.
  • Hummingbirds were once thought to be magical creatures and were even used in love potions.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it okay to feed hummingbirds just sugar water?

While offering sugar water can attract and seemingly help hummingbirds, it’s not the ideal source of nutrition for them. Here’s why:

Sugar water lacks essential nutrients: Hummingbirds rely on nectar for more than just sugar. Natural nectar provides them with essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals crucial for their health, growth, and development. Plain sugar water only offers carbohydrates and lacks these vital nutrients.

Potential health risks: Excessive sugar intake can harm hummingbirds, leading to problems like weight gain, weakened immune systems, and even liver damage. Additionally, stagnant sugar water can become contaminated with bacteria or mold, posing further health risks.

Discourages feeding on natural nectar: While convenient, relying solely on sugar water feeders might discourage hummingbirds from seeking out their natural food sources, which provide a more balanced and complete diet. This can be detrimental to their overall health and population sustainability.

What else can I feed hummingbirds besides sugar water?

While it’s tempting to solely offer sugar water to hummingbirds, it’s crucial to remember that it lacks the diverse nutrients they naturally find in nectar. Here are some alternatives and considerations to provide hummingbirds with a more balanced and healthy diet:

Alternative Food Sources:

  • Natural Nectar: This is the ideal food source for hummingbirds, providing them with the essential amino acids, proteins, vitamins, and minerals they need to thrive. Plant a variety of native flowering plants that bloom throughout the season to cater to their long feeding periods. Some hummingbird-friendly options include trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm, columbine, cardinal flower, and lantana.
  • Fruit Juice: Diluted fruit juice (like diluted grape or apple juice) can offer a temporary supplement or emergency food source, but use it sparingly. Opt for unsweetened and preservative-free juices and dilute them with at least four parts water to two parts juice. Remember, natural nectar and native plants are superior choices.
  • Mealworm Mixture: Hummingbirds can benefit from the protein and fat found in mealworms. Blend or finely chop cooked, unsalted mealworms and mix them with water to create a paste-like consistency. Offer this mixture in a separate feeder alongside sugar water, but limit its availability to avoid attracting other insects.
           Hummingbird by Philippe Donn

Do I need to boil sugar water for hummingbirds?

No, you don’t necessarily need to boil water for hummingbird sugar water. Boiling can help ensure cleaner water and faster sugar dissolution, but it’s not essential for safety or hummingbird health. Here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons:

Benefits of boiling:

  • Kills bacteria: If you’re concerned about potential bacteria in your tap water, boiling can eliminate it. However, most municipal water supplies are already treated and safe for consumption.
  • Dissolves sugar faster: Hot water helps sugar dissolve more quickly, making the mixture ready for use sooner.

Drawbacks of boiling:

  • Unnecessary for most situations: If you have clean tap water, boiling isn’t crucial for safety.
  • Time-consuming and energy-intensive: Boiling adds an extra step and uses additional energy.
  • Can reduce sugar concentration: Some water evaporates during boiling, requiring you to add more water afterwards to maintain the correct 1:4 sugar-to-water ratio.

Alternatives to boiling:

  • Use hot tap water: If you’re concerned about bacteria, consider using the hottest tap water available to help dissolve sugar faster.
  • Stir vigorously: Even with cold water, you can achieve thorough sugar dissolution by stirring the mixture for a few minutes.

Related Articles:

Sun or shade? Where to hang hummingbird feeders

Steal your neighbor’s hummingbirds with this nectar recipe

Get more hummingbirds with multiple feeders

When to put up and take down your hummingbird feeders in each state

Why hummingbirds aren’t coming to your feeders

Top 5 ways to get hummingbirds to come to your feeders

Hummingbirds fighting over feeders?


 

Comments 7
  1. Was looking for info on placement of multiple feeders. Had heard clustering them together might stop bullies…glad to see you confirmed that as I think that's what I'll do! Thanks.

  2. Yes, either a second feeder out-of-sight around the corner or several together. Both of these tricks seem to work.

  3. Very helpful insights into placing HB feeders and also their (HB) behavior!! Thank you!!

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