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How to attract hummingbirds to your San Diego yard

Young hummingbird
Young hummingbird
Darlene Luckins

San Diego is a haven for hummingbirds. There are five different species that either live here all year, or pass through during migration. The most common, the Anna’s hummingbird, is a prolific breeder and has adapted well to living in urban areas. This species is one that most people would most likely see in their gardens. Attracting hummingbirds isn’t hard, but they don’t just like any yard. The yard has to have certain amenities before the hummingbird will fell comfortable living and breeding in it. Here are some tips to attracting and keeping hummingbirds around your home.

First, provide a reason for a hummingbird to stay. This usually means choosing plants that both provide food and shelter for the small bird. Many native plants attract hummingbirds that require little to no watering and maintenance. Examples of plants that are attractive include manzanitas, agastache, California fuchsia, hollyhock, and native willows. Plants that have red flowers tend to be more attractive, but any flower with a good nectar supply will keep a hummingbird happy.

Hummingbirds are insectivores, so having a good supply of insects in the yard can be beneficial to them. Not only do they eat flying insects, such as gnats, but they will also eat crawling insects like ants as well as spiders. They also like to use spider webs as nesting materials. If trying to keep your yard hummingbird friendly (and bird friendly in general), keep chemical pesticides to a minimum and let the birds be the insect controllers.

Though it is not required, especially if you plant plenty of nectar-giving flowers, a good hummingbird feeder will help attract more. The best attractors tend to have some red on the feeder, but not in the food. Though evidence about dyes is inconclusive, it is generally recommended that one not use them in the feeders. A basic hummingbird recipe is four parts water to one part plain granulated sugar (do not use honey or molasses). It is generally recommended that the mixture be heated and thoroughly cooled before using. One can also buy hummingbird nectar with electrolytes and vitamins in a wild bird food store.

Attracting hummingbirds can be a fun thing to do in San Diego and provide a lot of enjoyment. It is easy to do by creating an environment that will provide safety and security in the long run.