Why Won't Hummingbirds Come to My Feeder?
Read All Important Information Here!

Are you thinking, “Why won’t hummingbirds come to my feeder?”. Well, this happens because of location, the feeder, or perhaps just mother nature!

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David A. Swanson

May 02, 2021

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What’s This Post About?

Who doesn’t enjoy the sight of beautiful hummingbirds in their backyard? There are a lot of people that put out feeders to attract these lovely creatures.

Putting a feeder out, however, isn’t enough. There are multiple things that you need to take care of. If you are out there wondering, ‘why won’t hummingbirds come to my feeder?’, continue to read below to find the possible cause.

There are a few reasons why hummingbirds won’t come to your feeder. There could be bees on the feeder, or the nectar has gone bad. It’s also possible that birds can’t find the feeder or are avoiding it because of the threat of predators. They’re seasonal migrants, so it could also just be the wrong time.

Why Won’t Hummingbirds Come to My Feeder?

beautiful hummingbird

We can understand the frustration when you have put in a lot of effort, but things are still not working out. You need to understand, however, that there are a lot of factors that could be wrong. Let’s dissect some of the things that could be going wrong. Some things you can work around, others you can’t.

1. Look Out for Bees

Are you noticing lesser hummingbirds around your feeder each day? Check if the feeder is getting a little crowded. While you may be putting the feeder out for hummingbirds, it will not stop other creatures from taking advantage of it.

If not taken care of, your feeder can get hoarded by bees or ants. There are a few things you can do to avoid such a situation. You should keep this problem in mind before deciding on a feeder. A saucer-shaped feeder is one of the easiest ways to keep bees and wasps at bay.

The birds drink nectar from outlets at the top of the feeder in this feeder model. Their longer tongues can enter the sweetened nectar at the base of the saucer, but bees and wasps can’t because the outlets are too far.

Choosing the right color can also go a long way. Bees and wasps get attracted to the color yellow, while hummingbirds love red. Opt for a red feeder so that it attracts your precious hummingbirds while going unnoticed by unwanted pests.

To protect your feeder from ants, use ant moats. Ensure that no plants are reaching out to the feeder. It will defeat the entire purpose, and ants will crawl to it. Also, make sure to clean the feeder and its contents regularly.

2. Check the Nectar

The hummingbirds embark on are a very long journey. When they stop for nectar, it has to be just right. They prefer the natural nectar from flowers, so when you provide an alternate, it should be good. Do not overcomplicate things. The perfect recipe is quite simple.

Boil one part white sugar with four parts water for two minutes, constantly stirring to dissolve the sugar thoroughly. When the solution has cooled, please keep it in an airtight jar in the fridge to keep it safe. The mixture will stay fresh for up to 2 weeks. Please do not make the mistake of refilling the feeder as soon as it starts to lessen.

Before replacing the nectar, thoroughly clean the feeder by rinsing it with hot water. Avoid using harsh chemicals like chlorine, which can cause damage to hummingbirds. During hot weather, you should clean the feeder more frequently to prevent fungus.


Never use red dye while making homemade nectar. Yes, they love the color, but red coloring in their food can be harmful.

3. Threat of Predators

Animals have an innate need to hunt and defend their territories. Many hummingbirds would avoid the feeders simply because of their presence, and they will seek out a better solution. Your friendly pets like cats and dogs are also predators for these flying visitors.

Feeders should always be hanging far enough so that cats or other animals cannot leap at the feeding birds. Since hummingbirds are such small animals, they are afraid of noisy sounds. If you have a house with dogs or small children, it is most likely that the birds will feel threatened by the screams and barks.


Hummingbirds are the smallest of all birds. They weigh less than an ounce and are only two inches in length.

Where is the Feeder?

hummingbird feeding

Are you worried about why there aren’t any hummingbirds around your feeder even though it’s their season? It may be simply because they are having a hard time locating it. There are multiple things that you need to take care of while deciding on a location.

  • Place your feeder near flowers to attract them.
  • Place the feeder away from the sun to avoid the nectar from getting spoilt.
  • The feeder should be at a high location to avoid cats and ants.
  • Ideally, another feeder should be placed at a distance so that dominant hummingbirds don’t hoard the entire space.
  • Place it in an open space so that the birds can spot it easily.
  • Place it near tall plants so the birds can also rest nearby.

You may be wondering how to put it out in open space and save it from the sun. When you keep it in an open space, hummingbirds will spot them. You can easily move them to a different location afterward. Hummingbirds have a great memory. They will keep returning to find your feeder.


Do not place the feeders near windows. The flying hummingbirds are at risk of crashing into them.

What Time of The Year Is It?

hummingbird sitting

As we said, some things are not in your control. It’s nature’s call. Hummingbirds are seasonal migrants, and they will not be visiting all year round. However, they do have a standard pattern that you should know.

Do you wait for the cold to disappear before putting up a feeder? It is a mistake. Male hummingbirds start migrating two weeks before the female birds. They leave Mexico in time to arrive for spring. It is so that they can find the perfect spot before the space becomes overcrowded.

They intend to find a spot and mark their territory before their competitors. This spot has to be ideal for feeding. Since they arrive very early, the flowers might still be in their bud, and there also may be snow at night. They find a location that has the most potential.

By the time the female hummingbirds arrive, spring is in its full bloom. They find the regions that look most attractive in terms of food, convenience, and security. The males are already present, and breeding takes place.

The female hummingbirds will find possible places to make a nest. If you want to be a part of that process, make sure your backyard has trees or sturdy surfaces where they can lay eggs. Once the young hummingbirds are born, they will immediately find your feeder as the nearest food source.

Hummingbirds migrate from April to September during their peak season. Since hummingbirds are primarily breeding during June, there is less migration movement. Hummingbirds have an excellent memory, and there is a high chance of them revisiting the same spot during the next migration.


The brain of a hummingbird is 7,000 times tinier than a human but has a better memory than us.

How to Make Your Backyard More Attractive?

hummingbird not feeding

Do you have a dry or flowerless backyard? If you want the hummingbirds to visit, give your backyard a makeover. To attract these precious birds, you have to ensure that the place looks attractive. There are several things that you can do.

  1. Plant plenty of tubular flowers because they hold the most nectar.
  2. Create plenty of distance between flowers to allow hummingbirds to fly from flower to flower.
  3. Add a water feature. Hummingbirds are drawn to water, especially flowing water. For example, they love having a bath in soft pressure water from sprinklers.
  4. Plant trees and bushes near flowers and feeders to provide them a resting place.

Why Do Hummingbirds Hang Upside Down at Feeders?

Have you ever seen a hummingbird hanging upside down? Hummingbirds sometimes hang upside down when they go into a deep sleep. It is called the torpor state. Torpor helps them to save energy so that they can function at surprisingly low temperatures.

Their metabolism reduces to one-fifth (1/15) of what it’s normal. Their body temperature decreases to the point that hypothermia sets in. Their heart rate will gradually decrease to about fifty beats a minute. Their breathing is so slow that it looks like they aren’t breathing at all. Hummingbirds can conserve up to 60% of their available energy by sleeping like this.

You might get tempted to check up on them when you see them in this state. They may be unresponsive even if you touch them. It is advised to leave them alone. They remain in this state for about twenty to 60 minutes. You can, however, keep their feeder full with fresh nectar. When they wake up, they immediately need food.

Can We Hand Feed the Hummingbirds?

Have you ever wanted to see hummingbirds up close? Yes, you can hand-feed them. There are a few ways to make this possible. However, understand that this may not happen immediately. It will take time for the birds to get accustomed to you as a food source. You have to be patient.

First, make yourself less threatening. Do not make any sudden movements. It is better that you do not move at all. This will allow the hummingbird to see the new food source in your hand. Once the bird does not fear you, it will move closer.

The spot you choose to stand should be away from other feeders. Otherwise, the birds will be distracted and may not opt for your hand. To make yourself more attractive to them, choose a floral outfit or maybe some red accessory.

As you know, hummingbirds have a great memory. If they get comfortable with you once, they will keep returning. To make this happen, be consistent. Wear the same clothes, be at the same location and take the same body posture.

Hummingbirds love a good resting place while they feed. It is a great idea to provide them with a finger next to the feeder you are holding. Trust us, and this will be one of the most divine experiences that you have ever had.

The most important thing to remember is to remain calm and steady through the process. The hummingbirds will fly away if you do not stay still. Any movements during the feeding session may startle them, fearing them into not returning.


Focus on the color red. Hummingbirds tend to like this bold, vivid color, so incorporate it into your backyard as much as possible to attract and retain these delightful visitors. If you don't have a red feeder, then try planting red flowers near it. You can also place artificial red decorations around it. If your feeder is hanging from a tree, you can place red ribbons on it or paint the bark red. This will make your backyard easily visible and attractive to these birds.

two hummingbirds

Keep Reading!

After reading this post, never again will you wonder, ‘why won’t hummingbirds come to my feeder?’. Remember to locate your feeder where it’s easy to spot and safe from other animals. Check your nectar recipe and save it from getting spoilt. The feeder should be constantly cleaned and taken care of.

While they have their timeline, be sure to enjoy the view when they do come your way. Take care of your backyard, the feeder, and birds. Hummingbirds are beautiful and entertaining. This entire feeding process and taking care of the bird can prove to be a very innate experience.

If you want to learn more about hummingbirds, I recommend that you go ahead and read our post about haniging your hummingbird feeder in the right spot.!

Where to Hang Hummingbird Feeder? Follow This for Better Results

Do you wonder which is the right place where you can hang your hummingbird feeder? Find a place in your backyard, 10-15 feet near a tree.

David A. Swanson Picture

By David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!

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David A. Swanson Picture

David A. Swanson

Bird Watching USA

My name is David and I'm the the founder of Bird Watching USA! I started Bird Watching with My father-in-law many years ago, and I've become an addict to watching these beautiful creatures. I've learnt so much over about bird watching over the years that I want to share with the world everything I know about them!



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