Do hummingbirds use birdhouses?

do-hummingbirds-use-birdhouses

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Hummingbirds don’t use standard birdhouses because they don’t fit a hummingbird’s nesting habits. Standard birdhouses are generally built for larger birds that need a sheltered hole to nest in, whereas hummingbirds prefer to nest in semi-open areas.

Where do hummingbirds live?

Hummingbirds are typically found hovering over flowers or enjoying homemade nectar from special feeders, but they’ve got to stop buzzing about at some point. When they do, they’ll need somewhere to settle in.

Hummingbirds prefer to live in the branches of trees where they are partially sheltered by the leaves. If the weather turns rainy or windy, they’ll head for denser cover in shrubs and thick bushes.

If you want to provide a hummingbird with a safe place to sleep overnight, the best way to do this is to ensure your garden has thick shrubs and bushes that will protect anything perched deep in the center from the weather outside.

Hummingbird Nesting Habits

Hummingbirds prefer to nest in the places they feel safest. This means they will seek out areas that have overhead cover, thick foliage to protect them from the elements, and lots of nectar nearby so they don’t have to go far to feed.

Hummingbird nests are some of the smallest and most delicate nests in nature. They can be difficult to spot because they are often built on or around thin branches rather than on larger poles more commonly associated with birdhouses.

Hummingbirds build their nests out of spider silk, plant down (like from dandelions), leaves, and other pieces of plants. They weave these materials together to make a tiny bowl with an inner cup big enough for the eggs and parents to fit in.

Hummingbirds are very territorial during nesting season, so you will want to provide several good potential nesting sites on your property before hanging your feeder or planting some flowers to attract the hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds Avoid Man-Made Houses

Some species of hummingbirds will build nests on a variety of man-made structures, including electric wires and clotheslines. However, most hummingbirds will only nest in natural habitats like trees and bushes. This preference is likely because man-made structures commonly available are designed for birds with very different needs.

Do you want to attract hummingbirds to nest near you? It’s entirely possible to convince hummingbirds to nest at a predetermined spot in your garden. You just need to create a nesting environment that suits their preferences. Any hummingbird enthusiast would love to have a front-row seat while a hummingbird builds her nest, not to mention watching her hatchlings grow.

Although it’s difficult to convince hummers to use man-made birdhouses, there are a few things you can do to help hummers build a nest nearby. 

Provide a Nectar-Rich Environment

The most important thing you can do to make your hummingbirds feel at home is to provide them with plenty of food nearby. Since hummingbirds need nectar at least once every 15 minutes to produce the energy they use up in flight, filling your garden with a variety of flowers that hummingbirds love is a surefire way to attract nesting hummers.

While it is true that hummingbirds will find nectar anywhere, the flowers they choose to pollinate depend on their region and climate. Therefore, knowing which kinds of flowers attract hummingbirds in your area will increase your chances of success.

The key is to select flowers that are native to your area. You can start by selecting a mix of both annual flowers and perennial flowers that you like, then asking your local plant nursery about local flowers that fit your taste based on the examples you have selected.

Provide Nesting Materials

Beyond creating a garden that’s perfect for hummingbirds, you can also provide your hummingbirds with some easy-to-use nesting materials to create a perfect spot for them to nest.

The materials are easy to find, too. You just need to provide sticks. More specifically, hummingbirds like to start with twigs, grasses, or vines. You may have to experiment with different types of plants to see which ones the hummingbirds seem to prefer, but these plants can be found pretty much anywhere. So if you’re looking for a way to attract more wildlife without spending much at all, this is one of the best choices you can make.

Of course, it’s not just sticks that you’ll need. Your hummingbirds will also need soft fibers to bind the nest together. In nature, they’ll often use spider silk and similar materials. You can also provide them with cotton and other fluffy nesting materials to make sure they have everything they need.

Provide Hummingbird Feeders

Another great way to attract hummingbirds to nest in your yard is to provide them with a hummingbird feeder. The variety of different nectar they can find in the flowers you’ve planted in your garden is important, but it’s also good to have a guaranteed source of food that will always be full no matter the season or time of day.

Hummingbirds will come from far and wide to a reliable source of food, so be sure you have at least one hummingbird feeder in your yard. To keep the nectar fresh and sweet, change it every couple of days regardless of how much is left.

Hummingbird feeders are available in a wide variety of styles, made from different materials and at all different price points. It’s important to get the right kind of hummingbird feeder for you so it will be easy to clean and refill. There are models for traditional nectar feeders, models that use a reservoir where you pour the nectar in and it slowly fills as the hummingbirds drink from it, and models that have bee guards on them to keep the bees out. There is even a model available with a camera built into one side so you can watch your little visitors up close!

Help Your Hummingbirds Build Their Own Houses

Considering hummingbirds don’t typically use birdhouses, your best bet for attracting them is to focus less on providing a good shelter and more on providing a good place to nest.

Keeping that in mind, the tips we’ve provided should help you to ensure that you’ve created the perfect environment for your hummingbirds to start with when building a nest of their own.

About author
Robert has been an avid birdwatcher pretty much his entire life. Living in the suburbs he does his best to bring wild birds into his backyard. He currently has 13+ bird feeders in his yard and also raises and races homing pigeons. Robert writes part-time for Wild Yards, mostly about the subject he cares most about - birds.

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