Easy Birding Tips: How to Attract Hummingbirds in New England

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If you’re looking to attract hummingbirds to your yard and you live in the northeast, you’ve come to the right place! We’ll discuss everything you need to know about these beautiful creatures. Then you’ll know exactly how to attract hummingbirds in New England.

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CONTENTS – In this article, we will discuss some of the best ways to attract hummingbirds to your home in New England.

What are Hummingbirds and Why Are They Important?

In the summertime, hummingbirds are all over New England, but they can be elusive. These little birds are both beautiful and fascinating to watch. That’s why many people enjoy having them around their yards. 

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, there are a few things you can do to make your property more hospitable to these birds. But first, you’ll need to know more about these guests.

Hummingbirds are small birds that can weigh between two and six grams. To give you an idea of how light that is, a nickel weighs about 4.5 grams.

These tiny birds have thin wings that beat up to fifty times per second. This allows them to hover in the air while they drink nectar from flowers with their long tongues. 

Hummingbirds feed on insects during the summer months but rely on flower nectar as a primary source of food during the winter. 

They need to eat a lot to keep up their energy. 

In fact, hummingbirds can eat up to half their body weight in nectar each day. They also need to consume twice their weight in insects daily to meet their energy needs.

Many species migrate thousands of miles each year!

Not only are they fun to watch, but hummingbirds are important pollinators that also help control insect populations

By attracting hummingbirds to your garden, you are not only providing them with a much-needed food source, but you’re also helping out the local ecosystem.

Types of Hummingbirds in New England

Most often, you’ll see the Ruby-throated hummingbird in New England. But there are other types of hummingbirds in New England that show up occasionally or very rarely: 

  • Ruby-throated hummingbird (Archilochus colubris)
  • Calliope hummingbird (Selasphorus calliope)
  • Rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus)
  • Black-Chinned Hummingbird (Archilochus alexandri)
  • Allen’s Hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin)

All of these species are attracted to nectar. You’ll find them in New England from late April through early October.

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Ruby-Throated Hummingbird: Most common type of hummingbird in New England. They are about three inches long and have a bright red throat. They are mostly green with a white breast and belly. You’ll usually find them in wooded areas and gardens.

Calliope Hummingbird: Smallest type of hummingbird in New England. They are about two inches long and have a green throat. Look for them in open areas, such as meadows and fields.

Rufous Hummingbird Largest type of hummingbird in New England. They are about four inches long and have a reddish-brown throat. You’ll most likely find them in forests and gardens.

Black-Chinned Hummingbird: Rare in New England. Their throat looks black from a distance but has a ring of purple feathers.

Allen’s Hummingbird also very rare in New England, but there are sightings from time to time. They are very close in appearance to the Rufous. Males are orange with a green back and orange-red throat. The female has a dull green back with brown-orange flanks and a speckled throat.

No matter which hummingbird you see, it’s a thrilling experience to see them buzz by!

When Do Hummingbirds Arrive In New England?

Hummingbirds typically arrive in New England in early to mid-May, depending on the weather. Warmer temperatures will bring them earlier, while colder weather may delay their arrival. 

To find out when the first hummingbirds will arrive in your area, you can check the Hummingbird Migration Map on the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website. They update this map daily with reports from across North America.

This one is great, too:

How Long Do Hummingbirds Stay In New England?

The length of time that hummingbirds stay in New England varies from year to year. Like their arrival time, how long they stay depends on the weather. 

In general, they will arrive in late April or early May and stay until mid-September or early October. 

In addition, hummingbirds will migrate south for the winter if the weather becomes too cold.

When To Start Feeding Hummingbirds?

The best time to start feeding hummingbirds is in early spring. That’s when they return from their winter migration, and they will be very tired! By putting out a hummingbird feeder as soon as they arrive, you can help them get the energy they need to nest and raise their young.

If you live in an area where hummingbirds stay all year round, you can keep your feeder up all year long. Some people do take their feeders down in the winter, however, to avoid attracting rodents. If you decide to do this, make sure to put the feeder back up a few weeks before the hummingbirds return in the spring.

In New England, this is not possible. You’ll need to take your hummingbird feeder down in the Fall, otherwise it will freeze and crack.

How To Make Homemade Hummingbird Food

If you want to make your hummingbird food, it’s very simple. Just follow the Homemade Hummingbird Food recipe below.

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Recipe for Home Made Hummingbird Food

You’ll need:

  • One part sugar*
  • Four parts water

*Be sure to use “regular” sugar, not honey and not raw sugar. That’s because raw sugar is the closest match to actual nectar. Using anything other than ordinary sugar can actually harm hummingbirds.

  1. Boil the sugar and water together until the sugar has dissolved. Then, you’ll want to let it cool. 
  2. Next, fill your feeder with the mixture. 
  3. You can store any leftover mixture in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, but not longer. After that, it may begin to grow bacteria which will harm your hummingbird. 

Before long, you’ll enjoy watching the hummingbirds!

Attracting Hummingbirds to a New Feeder

It can take a few days for hummingbirds to find a new feeder, so be patient. 

You may want to put out some sugar water near the feeder to lure them in. Once they start feeding at the new feeder, continue putting fresh sugar water out every other day or so. That will keep the mixture clean and free from bacteria. 

In terms of nectar, more is not necessarily better. Too much sugar water can be harmful to hummingbirds. A four-to-one ratio of water to sugar is ideal. 

You can also buy nectar concentrate that only requires you to add water. You want to avoid the hummingbird food with red dyes. It’s not good for these tiny birds.

How Often You Should Clean the Hummingbird Feeder

It is important to keep the hummingbird feeder clean to prevent the growth of bacteria. 

Clean the feeder every two weeks with a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water. Rinse well with water before refilling.

In the spring and summer, when hummingbirds are actively feeding, it is best to clean the feeder every week. If you live in an area with a lot of rain, you may need to clean the feeder more often.

If you see any mold or fungus growing on the feeder, soak it in a solution of one part bleach to nine parts water for 30 minutes. Rinse well with water before refilling.

It is also important to clean the area around the feeder. Bacteria can grow on spilled nectar or bird droppings. To clean the area around the feeder, use a solution of one part white vinegar to four parts water.

Are Hummingbirds Really Attracted To Red?

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Hummingbirds are attracted to all colors, but they are especially drawn to the color red. This is because red is the color of flowers that produce nectar.

To attract hummingbirds to your yard, you can add feeders that have a red top or use red ribbon or flowers to decorate your feeder. You can also plant perennials in your gardens that are red, such as cardinal flowers, trumpet vine, and bee balm.

But don’t use red hummingbird food. It’s colored with harmful dyes.

Annual Flowers That Hummingbirds Like

There are many annual flowers that hummingbirds like. Here are 15 you might enjoy planting in your garden when you’re unsure about how to attract hummingbirds in new England:

  1. Aster 
  2. Flowering Tobacco (Nicotiana persica)
  3. Four O’clocks (Mirabilis Jalapa)
  4. Fuchsia
  5. Geraniums
  6. Impatiens (red, deep pink)
  7. Indian Paint Brush (Castilleja coccinea)
  8. Lantana (Lantana camara)*
  9. Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia)
  10. Million Bells (Calibrachoa)
  11. Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)
  12. Nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus)
  13. Petunias
  14. Shrimp Plant (​​Justicia brandegeeana)
  15. Spider Flower (Cleome)

*Perennial but used as an annual in New England

All of these plants have tubular flowers from which hummingbirds love to sip nectar. Planting a variety of these flowers will give you the best chance of attracting hummingbirds to your yard. 

Whenever possible, choose red or dark pink flowers.

Perennial Flowers That Hummingbirds Like

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Many perennials attract hummingbirds, but not all of them are native to New England. These 12 perennial plants will do well to attract hummingbirds in New England: 

  1. Bee Balm (Monarda)
  2. Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis)
  3. Columbines (Aquilegia)
  4. Coral Bells (Heuchera)
  5. Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)
  6. Foxgloves (Digitalis)*
  7. Hyssop or Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
  8. Rose Mallow Hibiscus (Hibiscus moschuetos)
  9. Lupines (Lupinus)*
  10. Phlox
  11. Scarlet Sage (Salvia splendens)
  12. Trumpet Creeper (Campsis radicans)


Summer is a great time to check your local nursery for these and other plants that will attract hummingbirds to your yard. 

You can also find many of these flowers in the wild if you take a hike in the right areas. Look for open meadows or sunny clearings in the woods. 

Unless this is your own property, don’t dig them up!

Other Ways to Attract Hummingbirds 

Besides providing a food source for hummingbirds, there are other things you should do to welcome them to your yard. That includes providing a source of water and a place where they can perch and nest

To do this, you can incorporate a birdbath or water fountain and some suitable shrubs into your backyard landscape

Final Thoughts on How to Attract Hummingbirds in New England

Hummingbirds are beautiful creatures you can see in many parts of the United States, but they are especially welcome visitors to New England!

Let’s recap the key points on how to attract hummingbirds in New England. If you would like to attract hummingbirds to your backyard:

  • You’ll need supply a source of nectar to help them survive.
  • Provide this food source by planting tubular-shaped flowers that have a lot of nectar.
  • You can also put out a hummingbird feeder.
  • If you go with the feeder, make sure to keep it clean and filled with fresh nectar. 
  • You can make a natural hummingbird food with water and sugar. Do NOT use raw or artificial sugar.
  • Also supply a water source and a place to take cover nearby.

By following these tips, you should be able to attract hummingbirds to your yard in no time. Their visits are fleeting, but so exciting!

And if you want a lasting reminder of their beauty and you are into tattoos, check out tattoo artists near you. Some are pure genius at capturing the pure elegance of these tiny, amazing creatures.

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