Attracting Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds to Your Yard

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Show notes:

Ruby-throated hummingbirds are common and much beloved summer visitors to yards and gardens throughout the eastern U.S. and Canada. In this episode of the Backyard Ecology podcast, we talk about ruby-throated hummingbirds, their northward migration, and how to make our yards more hummingbird friendly. We are joined in this conversation by Cyndi Routledge who is the CEO of Southeastern Avian Research (SEAR).

When people think about attracting hummingbirds to their yards, the most common reaction is to put up a hummingbird feeder. However, making your yard more attractive to hummingbirds goes way beyond just putting up a feeder. Approximately, 80% of a ruby-throated hummingbird’s diet consists of soft-bodied insects. Hummingbirds also prefer natural nectar sources over sugar-water while they are nesting and raising young. Water sources and places to build nests or find shelter from storms are also important factors that hummingbirds look for when choosing their territories.

Cyndi and I spend a significant amount of time discussing what makes good hummingbird habitats and how we can use this knowledge to make our yards more attractive to ruby-throated hummingbirds. Cyndi also shares with us the proper way to maintain our feeders if we choose to put up hummingbird feeders. As she points out, hummingbird feeders are for our enjoyment, not the hummingbirds’ survival. So, if we choose to put out feeders, then it is our responsibility to make sure that they aren’t going to inadvertently harm the birds. Other topics in our conversation include the ruby-throated hummingbird’s migration north, some common myths and folktales that we often hear, how hummingbirds are adapted to survive cold temperatures, the different roles of the male and female hummingbirds, and much more.


Episode image:

Backyard Ecology: Exploring Nature in Your Backyard
Nature isn’t just “out there.” It’s all around us, including right outside our doors. Hi, my name is Shannon Trimboli, and I am the host of Backyard Ecology. I live in southcentral Kentucky and am a wildlife biologist, educator, author, beekeeper, and owner of a nursery specializing in plants for pollinators and wildlife conservation. I invite you to join me as we ignite our curiosity and natural wonder, explore our yards and communities, and improve our local pollinator and wildlife habitat. Learn more or subscribe to my email list at

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