Attract Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds

November 19, 2018


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Who doesn’t love hummingbirds! Learn all about the beautiful ruby-throated hummingbird and how to attract hummingbirds to your garden.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

In my neck of the woods we have only one type of hummer—the ruby-throated hummingbird. Take a moment to listen to the call of the ruby-throated hummingbird.

They are fascinating little creatures. Barely 3 inches high with long slender bills almost half as long as their bodies, these tiny dynamos fly at great speeds, beating their little wings over 50 times per second. They possess the ability to hover and even fly backwards. It is hard to believe that something so small migrates all the way to New England from Central America each spring.


Tips for Hummingbird Watching

Needless to say, one of my favorite summer activities is hummingbird watching. I have two feeders at opposite sides of the house since these little guys seem to be very territorial and don’t like to share. If one is at the feeder when another comes in to drink, there is usually a squawking, aerial dogfight until one is chased away. By keeping the two feeders out of sight of each other a lot of fights are avoided.

To fuel their activities they need lots of nectar and also a great deal of protein which they get from the aphids, gnats, mosquitoes, and other insects that they eat. Their benefit to the garden as pollinators and insectivores, added to their entertainment value, makes them a worthwhile asset to anyone’s yard. 

How to Attract Hummingbirds

Over the years I have tried to fill my yard with plants that will attract them. They love the colors red and orange (I have had them check me out quite closely when wearing a red t-shirt) but I have seen them sipping nectar from plants of other colors. Check out our tips for using red to attract hummingbirds.


To turn your yard into a hummingbird’s paradise, consider adding the following plants: Coral bells, fuchsia, snapdragons, azaleasrhododendrons, lupines, honeysuckle, bee balm, trumpet vine, penstemon, cardinal flower, quince, columbine, daylilies, nasturtiums, phlox, salvia, cypress vine, cardinal climber, and petunias. Check out an even more extensive list of plants that attract hummingbirds.

Learn more about hummingbirds here!

About This Blog

Get inspired by Robin Sweetser’s backyard gardening tips and tricks. Robin has been a contributor to The Old Farmer’s Almanac and the All-Seasons Garden Guide for many years. She and her partner Tom have a small greenhouse business and also sell plants, cut flowers, and vegetables at their local Farmer’s Market.

2019 Garden Guide

Reader Comments

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Do praying mantis really prey on hummers?

I have had several praying mantis in both my front and back flower beds, I have a couple of times seen them on my hummers feeders, I took a pic and someone on a hummer site went ballistic, actually several did, saying they wait to catch hummers as they drink from the feeders. I enjoy the praying mantis also, but would relocate ones I saw if this is true. I live in Kentucky and some said it was only a certain kind of mantis.

Praying Mantis

Hi Rebecca,

Praying mantises do actually eat hummingbirds. While it’s not their usual source of food, they will attack if they are hungry enough. If you are seeing them on the feeder, the best action is exactly what you suggested. Use a stick to gently move the mantises to another location. Thanks for writing!


I live on Long Island north shore area. I have had hummingbirds this pass week and now they are gone. Does anyone know we're they passing through to go south or have they just found a better feeding garden. I have lots of honey suckle in flower that they love and a feeder as well

Hi Lynn, You are on the

Hi Lynn, You are on the Atlantic Flyway and probably get a lot of migrating birds passing thru your yard spring and fall. Did you know there is a hummingbird sanctuary in Riverhead? Late August thru late Sept. is the time to see migrating hummingbirds in Long Island. Male hummingbirds depart before the females but once they have completed the job of fledging their young they will be taking off as well.  Your garden just might be one of their refueling stops as they head south for the winter!


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