There are very few birds that are as universally beloved as the hummingbird is. These petite little birds are known for being beautiful and somewhat elusive, which is all the more reason why people might want to bring them into their backyard.
The good news about these little birds is that they are fairly easy to attract, even to a balcony, assuming that you live in the right environment for hummingbirds.
There are some areas where hummingbirds do not live, especially in cold environments, so even if you do everything right in terms of attracting them, there’s a chance that they simply may not live around you.
The best way to attract a hummingbird to your location is to know exactly which hummingbirds are local to you. From there, you can work backward and research what kinds of flowers those hummingbirds appreciate the most, as well as other unique practices that may be exclusive to certain species of hummingbirds.
Despite some of the differences between hummingbird species, hummingbirds all generally have the same diet. This makes it significantly easier to attract them to your balcony, as they will all want the same type of foods, meaning you might get more than one type of hummingbird.
The first step you will want to take is to learn what hummingbirds enjoy eating and what might bring them to your location. This will allow you to begin preparing your balcony to become a great place for hummingbirds to hang around, and you may even get lucky and be able to watch them throughout the mornings.
A Little Information About Hummingbirds
To bring hummingbirds to your balcony, you will first want to know about them, what they enjoy, and what will bring them to your location. This means that you will want to learn more about them first.
Hummingbirds are such a beloved type of bird, so there’s a lot of information about them out there for you to find, ranging from looking at the different species of hummingbirds to the best flowers for them.
When it comes to bringing them to your balcony, you will first want to look at what they eat. The best method to attract the hummingbirds to your balcony is by providing the food that they would want.
The truth is that hummingbirds are a little bit of an enigma. Despite being one of the most heavily researched families of birds out there, scientists still aren’t completely certain about a lot of things when it comes to these little creatures.
For example, it still isn’t well known whether hummingbirds are eating the nectar of flowers that they are attracted to, or if they are actually eating the variety of insects that are also attracted to the nectar, or if it is a little bit of both and these birds are actually omnivorous.
There are theories that support the nectar-only rationale, the insect-only rationale, as well as theories that support both.
This was discovered when researchers attempted to keep hummingbirds in captivity, only to find that they were not interested in only sweets, such as nectar, while the hummingbirds that had access to a source of protein (such as insects) fared considerably better, indicating that insects do play a role in the diet of hummingbirds and that they are simply coincidentally located in the same area as the nectar of the flowers that hummingbirds love so much.
The most well-known facts about what hummingbirds do enjoy, while few and far between, show that starting out with sweet and sugary liquids is the way to go, whether those attract the hummingbirds directly or just the insects that the hummingbirds are after. Hummingbirds are most known for enjoying tree saps, and their iconic long beaks are perfect for drinking the sap from trees.
The rest of the dietary preferences of hummingbirds are both species-dependent and a mystery. There have been instances of hummingbirds directly eating ashes, sand, and seawater, seemingly for the nutrients, but there are also countless instances of hummingbirds going after small insects, specifically mosquitoes as well as enjoying fruit juices.
One of the biggest consistent facts about all hummingbirds, regardless of species, is that their diets are centered around sugary liquids, regardless of if the bird will supplement that with insects, ashes, or any other surprises that these interesting birds might ingest.
This is going to be your biggest lead in attracting hummingbirds to your balcony, through the use of a sugary liquid. This liquid will both serve as the main food for the hummingbird as well as a way to attract potential bugs that they could eat, making it the perfect way to bring them to your balcony.
Bringing Hummingbirds to the Balcony
Now that you have a good sense of what will attract a hummingbird to your location, you will want to provide some sort of sugary liquid for them, and this can be in the form of a hummingbird feeder and homemade nectar, through the nectar of colorful flowers they would otherwise eat from, or a combination of both.
Your main goal will be to provide this sweet liquid in a form that their specialized beaks will be able to easily eat from.
You will first want to look at which hummingbirds are local to your area. From there, you will want to research the flowers that they commonly drink from.
Chances are that if the hummingbird is native to your area, then the plants that it will drink from will grow in your area’s temperature and climate, ensuring that you won’t have to worry about keeping a plant alive that wasn’t meant to be in your area.
This will be the best way to determine which flowers are going to be the best for your hummingbird-attracting project. Chances are that these flowers, regardless of the type, are going to have similar characteristics of long blooms and being rich in nectar, as these are what hummingbirds all around the world are commonly seen drinking from.
If you are planting flowers for them, you should never use pesticides on these flowers for a few reasons. For one, the flowers can absorb those pesticides and tiny amounts can get into the nectar of the flower, harming the hummingbird’s health and leading to it not wanting to drink there again.
It can also kill off insects that hummingbirds potentially want to eat, leading to them having no reason to stay by the flowers that you are trying hard to maintain. While insects are not always a welcome sight in a garden, if your goal is to bring hummingbirds to your location, you may not want to deter those insects away.
There are many, many different types of flowers that hummingbirds seem to be generally attracted to. Some of the most popular types of flowers that you can choose from are azaleas, butterflyweed, bee balm, cardinal flowers, and the aptly named hummingbird mint.
Again, if you are planning on planting flowers, you should make sure that they can withstand the climate of your balcony, as some flowers need specific temperature requirements, even if they are kept with a pot of soil meant for them rather than ground soil. Dead, dying, and otherwise unhealthy flowers are not going to do you any good in trying to get hummingbirds to stay on your property.
If you are worried about your ability to keep plants alive and your goal is to make use of a hummingbird feeder, there are still ways that you can utilize flowers to at least turn the heads of passing hummingbirds to inspect your balcony. You are going to want to find some fake geraniums and garlands with red flowers on them to decorate your balcony with.
Hummingbirds seem to be generally attracted to flowers of orange and red colors, so this is what you will want to aim for if you are making use of fake plants to lure them in. Keep in mind that you can’t keep hummingbirds at your location with fake plants alone; you are going to need some form of a feeding system if you want them to keep coming back.
When using fake flowers and a feeding system, you will want to try one of two methods. You will either want to put some miniature nectar feeders into the stems of the fake flowers, since this is the area that the hummingbirds will be investigating for food, or you can opt to have a full-size hummingbird feeder in plain view of the flowers for the hummingbirds to drink from.
You could even try your hand at maintaining both to bring as many hummingbirds to your balcony as possible.
Inside the hummingbird feeder, if you are not supplying the hummingbirds with nectar from real flowers, you will want to have a mixture of sugar water to serve as the “nectar.” For homemade nectar, you will want to boil a solution of four parts water and one part sugar together and allow for it to cool down before adding it to the hummingbird feeder.
If the hummingbird feeder doesn’t already have this, you can add orange and red tape or ribbons to the hummingbird feeder to further attract them to their food, but you should never dye the water itself, as this can injure the bird’s digestive system.
You will also want to clean out the hummingbird feeder every few days so that it doesn’t begin growing things that the hummingbird would not appreciate.
In addition to having flowers with bright colors out, you may also want to consider putting up some perches for the hummingbirds. Hummingbirds are known for their constantly fluttering wings, but to have the energy to flap those wings, they spend up to 80% of their waking hours at rest.
They enjoy high perches with a clear view of the area around them, and because they require so much rest, having perches on your balcony may make it even more appealing for passing hummingbirds as they can have a good snack and a rest before flying off again. You also don’t have to purchase anything special for the perches either, as wire coat hangers are the perfect diameter for the tiny feet of a hummingbird to rest on.
Another thing you could consider adding, if your balcony has the room for it, is some form of moving water. Fountains, sprinklers, and misters are all wonderful choices for this type of moving water.
Hummingbirds are small and delicate little creatures, so the moving water you have on your balcony should not be any sort of forceful spurt of water, like some sprinklers are. You should aim for something closer to a gentle fountain’s water or a mister, rather than a form of sprinkler that shoots water out.
Hummingbirds enjoy being able to fly back and forth in this kind of moving water. It’s not exactly known whether they are trying to clean themselves or if they consider this entertainment, or if they are drinking the water itself for nourishment, or if it is a bit of everything, but what is known is that this is another way to bring the birds to your balcony and to convince them to stay for a little bit.
With the use of all of these methods combined, there’s a good chance that you will be able to get several passing hummingbirds to stop by, take a meal, rest a little bit, and even play in the water system that you set up for them. If all goes well, then you may even be able to have the hummingbirds return every season as welcome visitors.
The good news about keeping hummingbirds is that their requirements are much the same as other beloved animals, such as butterflies, meaning that if you have your balcony set up properly, especially with real flowers, there’s a good chance that you will get a multitude of butterflies as well, making for a wonderful viewing in the morning when you sit down with a coffee and look out the balcony.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Film/Video/Media Studies, as well as an associates degree in Communications. I began producing videos and musical recordings nearly 15 years ago. I am a guitarist and bassist in Southwest MI and have been in a few different bands since 2009, and in 2012 I began building custom guitars and basses in my home workshop as well. When I’m home, I love spending time with my three pets (a dog, cat, and snake) and gardening in my backyard.