18 Places You Should Avoid Hanging a Hummingbird Feeder

Written by Nikita Ross
Updated: November 7, 2023
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Hanging hummingbird feeders is a great way to attract these pleasant pollinators to your garden and delight in their agile antics. However, a few places could cause your petite pals more harm than good.

In this article, we’ll cover 18 places to avoid hanging a hummingbird feeder and where to place them instead.

1. Directly Against the House

A hummingbird perched on a brushed copper sugar water hummingbird feeder

Provide ample space for hummingbirds to zip around the feeder.

©Jeff Westhead/Shutterstock.com

There are a few reasons to avoid hanging a hummingbird feeder directly next to your house.

First, hummingbirds like some room to operate around the feeder. They need space to check their surroundings and develop their plan of attack.

Second, if the feeder is too close to your house, you won’t be able to see it when glancing out the window or enjoying leisure time outdoors.

Instead, hang it a few feet away so it’s visible for you and easy to maneuver for the hummingbirds.

2. In Direct Sunlight

Rufous Hummingbird, sitting on a garden feeder

Hang your feeder where it will get a bit of shade throughout the day.

©Rachel Lambert/Shutterstock.com

While the idea of having a hummingbird bar might seem entertaining, fermented nectar is unhealthy for the little guys. Sugar water, when left in direct sunlight, will ferment quicker than usual. 

Place your hummingbird feeder somewhere that gets shade during peak daylight hours. This shade will also provide the birds with a nice place to cool down and recuperate.

3. Beside Your Clothesline

Exquisite stunning colorful male Anna’s hummingbird with bright iridescent pink magenta head wings out hovering

Hanging your feeder too close to your clothesline could lead to a small yet painful attack!

©Rachelle007/ via Getty Images

Don’t let their small stature fool you; hummingbirds are fierce! They’re incredibly territorial toward other hummingbirds and people who infringe on their territory.

While hanging a hummingbird feeder near the clothesline seems to make sense, it’s a little too close for comfort when your schedules align. The hummingbird may avoid the feeder when they need it if you’re close or attack you. Their beaks may be tiny, but they’re sharp!

4. Touching Foliage or Flowers

Green Hummingbird at red feeder with green background

Leave some space between flowers and feeders.

©redtbird02/Shutterstock.com

It’s okay to place your hummingbird feeder near foliage or flowers. In fact, planting them close to flowers can help encourage these pleasant pollinators to share the wealth. However, the feeder shouldn’t be touching the foliage or flowers for several reasons. 

As mentioned previously, hummingbirds need space to zip around the feeder to find the best approach. If the feeder is too close to the foliage, its path may be impeded.

Many people are unaware that hummingbirds have several natural predators, including praying mantises. If the hummingbird gets too close to foliage, it could become a snack

If the foliage is too dense, the hummingbird may not see the feeder. While the iconic bright red and yellow shades are designed to stand out to these feathered friends, the obstruction could leave them unnoticed.

Allow at least one foot of room between your hummingbird hanger and surrounding plant life.

5. In Wide Open Spaces

Animal, Animal Wing, Beak, Bee, Bird

Make sure the hummingbirds can quickly escape into coverage if a predator appears.

©iStock.com/Wirestock

Conversely, placing your hummingbird feeder in a wide, open space is also bad. 

Putting the feeder in the middle of the yard provides no coverage from other predators, like wandering cats. This placement also contributes to full sun exposure and nectar fermentation.

Another notable issue with open fields and yards is the lack of shelter from extreme winds and rains. Excess rain could dilute your mixture and make it unappealing. High winds could break the feeder or cause the nectar to spill along the outside, which attracts hornets.

Ensure there are some nearby windbreaks and a few places for hummingbirds to hide if the neighborhood cat becomes too curious.

6. Close to (Not On) a Window

Windows are deadly for birds. Place your feeder away from windows or invest in a window-mounted feeder.

©Garrett Davis – Public Domain

You shouldn’t hang a hummingbird feeder too close to a window. It should be hanging at least 8-12 feet away from the window or snug against the window.

This advice may seem contradictory, given the popularity and success of window-mounted feeders. However, when a hummingbird approaches a window-mounted feeder, it can see the window and notice the dangerous surface.

When a hummingbird approaches a hanging feeder near a house, it may not recognize the window as a solid surface. If the bird gets startled, it could zip away into the window and cause itself irreparable harm.

If you like having a hanging feeder near a window, invest in some bird-friendly window stickers to help avoid collisions. Otherwise, choose a mounted feeder over a hanging feeder.

7. Near the Ground

Berylline Hummingbird

Place your feeder far enough above the ground to avoid predators.

©Wildpix645/iStock via Getty Images

Placing your feeder too close to the ground could put your hummingbird pals at increased risk of nearby predators. Low placement also makes it more likely that grass cuttings, dust, and other pollutants may interfere with the feeder. 

Ensure your hummingbird feeder is hanging at least 5-6 feet from the ground to avoid these issues.

8. High in a Tree

Hummingbird Feeder

Make sure the feeder is convenient for you to refill and maintain.

©Joseph Tointon/iStock via Getty Images

Placing the feeder too high can also cause trouble — for you! If it’s too high, you’re less likely to refill it or check on it. Stepping on a ladder increases your risk of injury.

Avoid these problems by making the feeder as convenient to maintain as possible.

9. Near Other Bird Feeders

A Beautiful Pair of Hummingbirds Chasing Each Other

Hummingbirds are territorial. Space your feeders accordingly.

©Fiona M. Donnelly/Shutterstock.com

Don’t place your hummingbird feeder near other bird feeders, including other nectar feeders and bird seeds.

Hummingbirds are territorial. They’ll fight each other and other birds to stake their claim. 

Avoid this by placing your nectar feeders at least 10 feet apart. It’s always a good idea to have several feeders to attract multiple hummingbirds.

10. From Gutters

Hummingbird on feeder with heating lamp in front of residential winter scene. Hummingbird heaters are used to keep the nectar or sugar from freezing. Hummingbird sitting by the heat. Selective focus.

Don’t hang your hummingbird feeder where it could blow down or get contaminated.

©sophiecat/Shutterstock.com

Gutters and eaves seem like great places to hang feeders. However, they could be at risk of extreme weather or dirty overspill if your gutters are unkempt.

If you choose to hang them from your eaves or gutters, be proactive in keeping the area clean and ensuring the feeders are secured.

11. Close to Driveways or Roads

Berylline Hummingbird

Place your feeders away from busy roads or driveways.

©Wang LiQiang/Shutterstock.com

Keep your feeders away from high-traffic areas and loud sounds. While the rushing road or your busy driveway won’t harm the hummingbirds, the noise could deter them from visiting the feeder.

Try to place your hummingbird feeder in a quiet part of the yard, at least a few feet back from busy areas.

12. Near Pest Problem Areas

USA, Arizona, Madera Canyon. Broad-billed hummingbird and bumble bee on feeder.

Avoid hanging your feeders near hornet nests.

©Danita Delimont/Shutterstock.com

Try to avoid hanging your feeder near places where ants or hornets are a problem, as they’ll likely try to take over the feeder. Again, this won’t harm the hummingbirds, but it’s a nuisance and prevents them from getting their food.

If pests start accumulating near your feeder, remove it and give it a deep cleaning, then hang it elsewhere.

13. Near Your Grill

A male Anna's hummingbird on a cold day

Place your feeder away from your BBQ or grill.

©Storm / CC BY-SA 2.0 – License

While dining with your feathered friends may seem charming, place the feeder at least 10 feet from your grill.

The smoke and fumes could harm them if they stop in to visit the feeder while you’re cooking dinner. The smell and sound could also deter them from visiting.

14. Near Reflective Decor

Hummingbird (Trochilidae) - in flight

Reflective surfaces are dangerous to birds.

©Milan Zygmunt/Shutterstock.com

Mirrors are dangerous for birds. The reflection often looks like a continuation of the natural surroundings, leading to crashes. This issue is the main cause of fatal window collisions, which kill 365 to 988 million birds in the US annually.

Consider taking down reflective decor rather than moving your feeder. While it’s beautiful when it catches the light, it can harm the natural inhabitants of your yard.

15. Above Water Features

Rufous Hummingbird dancing in the bird bath

Hummingbirds like a bird bath with gently moving water. Pools or deep water is dangerous to them.

©Birdiegal/Shutterstock.com

Avoid placing your feeder above ponds, creeks, fountains, or pools. Hard rains and winds can force hummingbirds downward, increasing their risk of drowning. 

Instead, place the feeder in a dry, safe space over a firm surface.

16. In Sprinkler Paths

Anna's hummingbird playing in water fountain taking a bath, water shooting straight up with trees in background.

Keep your feeders away from sprinkler systems.

©Sheila Fitzgerald/Shutterstock.com

Like heavy rains, sprinklers can knock hummingbirds off their course and force them to the ground, putting them at greater risk of predators.

The water can also dilute the nectar, making it unappealing to the birds.

17. Close to Nests

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

Don’t place your feeders near hummingbird nests.

©Susan Hodgson/Shutterstock.com

Avoid placing the feeders too close to hummingbird nests. While the intention is good in setting up a convenient feeding area, it may alert predators to the nests’ location and put vulnerable eggs and chicks at risk.

18. Near Areas with Pesticide Use

Broad-tailed hummingbird

Protect hummingbirds from pesticides.

©M-C-C/iStock via Getty Images

If you live near a farm or a neighbor known for using pesticides, try to place the feeder somewhere safe from contamination. Be mindful of wind patterns, and avoid using pesticides in your yard.

If you do a pesticide treatment, take the feeders down until the fumes dissipate. 

Summary of Places to Avoid Hanging a Hummingbird Feeder

RankPlace
1Directly Against the House
2In Direct Sunlight
3Beside Your Clothesline
4Touching Foliage or Flowers
5In Wide Open Spaces
6Close to (Not on) a Window
7Near the Ground
8High in a Tree
9Near Other Bird Feeders
10From Gutters
11Close to Driveways or Roads
12Near Pest Problem Areas
13Near Your Grill
14Near Reflective Decor
15Above Water Features
16In Sprinkler Paths
17Close to Nests
18Near Areas with Pesticide Use
This is a summary of places to avoid hanging a hummingbird feeder.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Randall Vermillion/Shutterstock.com


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About the Author

Nikita Ross is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering plants, gardening, and yard care. Nikita has been writing for over seven years and holds a Marketing diploma from NSCC, which she earned in 2010. A resident of Canada, Nikita enjoys reading in her library, epic beach naps, and waiting for her Coffea arabica plant to produce coffee beans (no luck yet).

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