Create a Feeder-Free Hummingbird Paradise in Eight Steps

1. Plant native flowers. Tulip trees and coral bells provide nectar for hummingbirds. Hummingbirds don't eat all flowering plants, so choose ones that attract them to your garden.  

2. Choose non-native plants carefully. Do not presume nurseries sell solely non-invasive plants. Although attractive to hummingbirds and butterflies, the Tall or Purple-top Vervain (Verbena bonariensis), a South American native, is invasive in the Southeast and California, as are other vervains.  

3. Keep cats out of your yard. Like hummingbirds, cats are swift. Site feeders, water features, and flowering plants away from or above sit-and-wait predator territory. Treat cats like dogs by providing safe, enriching indoor or outdoor homes for them.   

4. Install snags for visibility. Hummingbirds constantly scan for food, predators, and other hummingbirds. Dead branches offer amazing views. Place a large dead branch or leave some dead branches in living trees for lookout locations.  

5. Distribute resources. Hummingbirds may use space because they fight. Plant flower patches in different parts of your yard or move your feeders to allow less aggressive hummingbirds space.  

6. Avoid chemicals that harm insects, birds, and wildlife. Hummingbirds feed their young many tiny insects. Neighborhood wildlife should not absorb yard chemicals, just like children or pets.  

7. Keep landscape trees, shrubs, and vines native. Researching local species' natural histories can help you develop hummingbird breeding habitats. You create a garden reserve if you can attract these birds to nest.  

8. Give water. A mister or dripper over your birdbath may help summer hummingbirds bathe. Regular birdbaths don't attract hummingbirds. Online research can reveal what works for other hummingbird enthusiasts.