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I'm trying to increase the hummingbird population in my yard in Northeastern United States. I grow certain types of flowers specifically designed to keep them happy, and have often found them drinking from flowers people say they'll completely ignore.

I have one plastic feeder which I keep filled with nectar. I make that at home, or buy a bottled product made only of sugar and water, because red dye and other additives generally found in commercially prepared nectars are dangerous, and sometimes fatal.

My plan is to increase the number of feeders, but I'm not sure about the best way to position them.

Specifically:

  • Is proximity to other types of bird and squirrel feeders a consideration?
  • Is there a sun or shade preference?
  • Does the height from the ground matter?
  • Should they be near trees and bushes, or is it okay to put them in an open field?
  • Can they be close, or attached, to a window?
  • Can they be near each other, or should there be a distance between them? (I ask this because I was told that hummingbirds are territorial, and a male can guard a perimeter of up to 3 feet, making it important to keep their feeders at least that far apart.)
  • Should they be among the flowers they like, or is the feeder a good way to attract them to different parts of the yard?

If you know of anything I haven't mentioned, I'd appreciate all suggestions.

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My mother and her husband feed hummingbirds rather religiously. They have feeders all over and in every conceivable condition you could possibly imagine.

My mother refills all of her feeders on a daily basis, and the birds have learned it is her providing the food. When one of the feeders has gone empty and the others are too crowded, the hummingbirds will hover outside her kitchen window to get her attention.

This is not a joke, nor an exaggeration. The birds will hover around her while she's refilling the feeders.

In one case, a hummingbird failed to fly south for the winter, and they kept one feeder filled and warm to prevent freezing and they successfully helped that hummingbird overwinter in the mountain tops of North Carolina.

  • No way, I'm very skeptical, Aren't birds dumb? – Kyle Mar 21 '16 at 18:42
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    It's is anywhere with an anecdote as to why it doesn't seem to matter so much as consistency in keeping the feeder fresh and filled – Escoce Mar 21 '16 at 19:26
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    Personally I think it's obvious. Put the feeders where you will enjoy them. That's the whole reason to put them out there is to attract the birds to a place where they can be seen and enjoyed. – Escoce Mar 21 '16 at 20:10
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    To rephrase this answer: Birds aren't dumb. When they want food they'll get it. OP doesn't need to over think it. – Dzhao Mar 21 '16 at 20:55
  • I am not making it up either. My mother lives in NC and I live in CT, but when I went to see here I am amazed at how the birds would circle her, and when they came to the kitchen window she told me it meant one of the feeders was empty, and it was. There is also that really cool YouTube video of that guy who can coax a hummingbird into his house and the bird will sit on his finger while drinking syrup. Though I note the bird never gets between the feeder and the man, it's still amazing. Before I was married and had children I had wild critter friends, that ended with children...wonder why?!? – Escoce Mar 25 '16 at 22:35

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