Jun 28, 2017 | Featured in: Watching Backyard Birds, June 2017

Ask Birdsquatch: Hummingbird Houses

A female hummingbird returns to the nest to attend her young. Photo by Jennifer Kightlinger.

Dear Birdsquatch:

A dear friend of mine recently gave me a hummingbird house as a gift. Where should I place it to make sure the hummingbirds use it?

—Grace O., Sedona, Arizona

Dear Grace,

The best place for your hummingbird house is as a decoration on the wall of your living room. Hummingbirds don't use houses for nesting as cavity nesters do. They build tiny, cup-shape nests from spider silk, animal fur, plant fibers, moss, and lichens, usually in the fork of a tree branch below overhanging leaves. Your part of the country (the desert Southwest) is rich in diversity of hummingbird species. The best way to enjoy them and provide for them is to maintain gardens with native, nectar-producing plants, plus hummingbird feeders, and perhaps a water mister for bathing. You'll get more use out of the hummingbird house than any hummer would.

About Birdsquatch

Birdsquatch is WBB's tall, hairy, and slightly stinky columnist. He is a bigfoot who has watched birds all his life. His home range is unknown.

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  • I had a pair nesting for the first time this year at our farmstead in South Dakota. Boxes put out for Bluebirds which didn't come, but these were a very pleasant consolation.
    by fluffypeanutcat, Tue, 25 Sep 2018
  • This is a good point. While cleaning mine, I kinda got the impression the cheep cheeps were waiting on me since they started chirping as soon as I brought it outside again. I swear they are so smart. Within five minutes of filling the feeder up, they are there to feast.cheers Cheep cheeps!
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 20 Jul 2018
  • Hahaha, I love the ending remark "that area will have already been well -fertilized!"I've noticed that there are more cheep cheeps right after I clean the bird feeder compared to how many there are right before it was cleaned...so cheep cheeps do like and appreciate a well maintained feeder and they are worth the effort. : )
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 20 Jul 2018
  • The storm saying seems true so far. We had as party at our bird feeder right before our last storm... 6 at once but different cheeps cheeps would come and go so there were more than 6 for sure..and squirrels eating with the birds
    by Kimber timbers, Fri, 13 Jul 2018
  • I know and do clean my feeders both for seed and for hummingbird liquid. I have a vase full of different size brushes that are only for this purpose. I have friends however who NEVER clean their feeders or bird baths, and it’s gross! I am ringing this article and will have to give out to the few offenders I know. I can’t imagine looking at such mess and not cleaning it, but not everyone thinks resale. Part of responsible bird watching/loving is to make the time and take the effort to do this.
    by Carol, Tue, 10 Jul 2018