8 Things Scaring Hummingbirds Away From Your Yard

Rufous Hummingbird dancing in the bird bath
© Birdiegal/Shutterstock.com

Written by Colby Maxwell

Updated: September 1, 2023

Share on:


Hummingbirds are some of the most beautiful and elegant creatures on the earth, and inviting them into your yard is almost like seeing a fairy flitting about. Like a mythical creature, however, hummingbirds are extremely skittish and aren’t easy to see all the time. In fact, it takes a lot of effort to create environments where hummingbirds feel safe enough to frequent throughout the year. Today, we will take a look at some of the things that could be hurting your chances of seeing hummingbirds in your yard. Let’s discover: 8 Things Scaring Hummingbirds Away From Your Yard. On top of that, we provide some simple solutions because nobody likes bringing attention to a problem without a solution!

8 Things Scaring Hummingbirds From Your Yard
If hummingbirds aren’t attracted to your feeder – one of these things may be the cause.

1. Pets (Especially Cats)

Cute flame point Siamese cat with blue eye on wooden table selective focus

Pet cats are awesome, but they can scare hummingbirds away because they are natural predators.


If you have pets, especially cats, they might be scaring away the hummingbirds from your yard. Hummingbirds are very sensitive and alert to any potential threats. They can easily perceive barking dogs or prowling cats as predators. Even if your pets are friendly and harmless, the hummingbirds might not know that and avoid your yard altogether.

To make your yard more welcoming to hummingbirds, try to keep your pets indoors. Additionally, you can keep them away from the feeders and flowers the hummingbirds like to visit. You can also provide some cover for the hummingbirds, such as shrubs or trees. They can hide or perch in these spots if they feel threatened. Hummingbirds are wild animals and have a strong sense to flee at the first sign of a threat. Do all you can to help them feel safe.

2. Dirty Feeders or Spoiled Nectar

Animal, Animal Wing, Beak, Bee, Bird

These little birds can be picky about their nectar, and keeping it fresh is key to a return customer!


Hummingbirds are very picky about the quality of their nectar. As a result, they will avoid feeders that are dirty or have spoiled nectar. Dirty feeders can harbor bacteria, mold, or fungus that can harm hummingbirds or make them sick. Spoiled nectar can also ferment and become toxic to the birds.

To keep your feeders clean and fresh, you should change the nectar every few days, especially in hot weather. You should also wash the feeders with hot water and mild soap, then rinse them well before refilling them. You can make your own nectar with a simple recipe of 1 part sugar to 4 parts water, and avoid adding any red dye or honey. Providing clean and fresh nectar will attract more hummingbirds to your yard and keep them healthy and happy. Over time, they will recognize your yard as a safe place to find food!

3. Pests Have Taken Over

Tetramorium immigrans ants foraging

Ants can be annoying and sometimes downright dangerous to hummingbirds trying to feed.

©Bradley Rentz, CC BY-SA 4.0 – Original / License

Another reason why hummingbirds might avoid your yard is your feeders are infested with pests like ants, bees, and wasps. The sweet nectar may attract these insects and then may compete with the hummingbirds for access to the feeding ports. They can also contaminate the nectar or sting the hummingbirds or you.

To prevent pests from taking over your feeders, you can use some simple tricks to deter them. For example, you can use bee guards, which are plastic caps that cover the feeding ports and allow only the hummingbirds to reach the nectar. You can also use ant moats, small cups of water that hang above feeders and prevent ants from crawling down to them. You can also keep your feeders in the shade, as insects prefer sunny spots. By keeping your feeders pest-free, you will make your yard more appealing to hummingbirds and, ultimately, more enjoyable for you.

4. Loud Noises or Music

Bee hummingbird lives in Cuba

Loud noises and music can easily scare hummingbirds away.


Hummingbirds are very sensitive to sounds, and they can be scared away by loud noises or music. Hummingbirds make sounds with their wings (which is where their name comes from). However, they also make vocal and non-vocal sounds, such as chips, clicks, squeaks, and buzzes. These sounds help them communicate with each other, find mates, defend their territories, and avoid predators.

Loud noises or music can interfere with the hummingbirds’ sounds and make them feel stressed or threatened. They might not be able to hear each other or detect danger. They might also associate your yard with unpleasant noise and avoid it altogether. Really, who does like loud or obnoxious sounds? Hummingbirds and humans are the same in that regard!

To make your yard more inviting to hummingbirds, you should try to keep the noise level low. You should also avoid playing loud music near the feeders or flowers. You can also provide some natural sounds that hummingbirds like, such as running water from a fountain or a birdbath. As an added plus, hummingbirds are attracted to water and enjoy bathing and drinking from it. Think of it from your perspective. Would you rather go to a restaurant that has blaring sirens playing or one with tranquil spa music? Easy answer!

5. Excited Children

Boy plays with dinosaur toys on a table outside

Kids can scare hummingbirds away by way of their presence and their noise. Teach them how to handle nature gently and appreciate it from a distance to increase the odds of returning hummingbirds.

©Alexandra Morosanu/Shutterstock.com

Hummingbirds are very shy and timid birds, and they can be scared away by excited children. Children may want to get close to the hummingbirds or touch them. However, this can make hummingbirds feel threatened or stressed. Children may also make loud noises or sudden movements that can startle the hummingbirds and cause them to fly away.

To make your yard hummingbird-friendly, you should teach your children to respect and appreciate these amazing birds from a distance. You can help kids learn more about hummingbirds by reading books, watching videos, or doing fun activities, all away from the birds themselves. You can also encourage your children to be quiet and still when they observe the hummingbirds. Discourage them from chasing or touching them.

6. Lack of Natural Habitat

Rufous Hummingbird dancing in the bird bath

Having a natural habitat makes a


feel more confident in an environment. Also, who doesn’t like watching hummingbirds take baths?


Hummingbirds are very adaptable birds. They can be found in a wide variety of habitats, including forests, deserts, canyons, jungles, and even cities. However, hummingbirds need certain elements in their habitat to survive and thrive, such as nectar-rich flowers, insects, water, shelter, and nesting sites. If these elements are lacking or destroyed, hummingbirds may avoid your yard or even disappear from your area.

To make your yard more suitable for hummingbirds, you should try to create a natural habitat that mimics their preferred conditions. You can plant native flowers that bloom throughout the seasons the birds may frequent your area. You can also provide a source of fresh water, such as a fountain or a birdbath, where hummingbirds can drink and bathe. As we mentioned previously, hummingbirds love water. You can also provide some cover for the hummingbirds, such as shrubs or trees, where they can hide or perch if they feel threatened or need to rest.

7. Predators

Giant African mantis or bush mantis sitting on a branch.

Some praying mantises are large enough to threaten a hummingbird if they get too close.

©Karel Bartik/Shutterstock.com

Hummingbirds may be small and fast, but they are not invincible. They have plenty of predators that can attack them, their eggs, or their chicks. Some of the common predators of hummingbirds are:

  • Cats: Domestic or feral cats can prey on hummingbirds when they are feeding or perching or even snatch them out of the air. Cats can also climb trees and raid hummingbird nests.
  • Snakes and lizards: Snakes and lizards can find hummingbird feeders or flowers and strike at the birds as they come to feed. They can also eat hummingbird eggs or chicks from the nests.
  • Frogs and fish: Although it sounds foolish, frogs and predatory fish (like bass) can catch hummingbirds that are drinking or bathing. Predatory fish and frogs will pretty much swallow anything they can, including small birds.
  • Spiders, praying mantises, robber flies, dragonflies, bees, and wasps: These insects can ambush hummingbirds at nectar sources or in flight and kill them. In some situations, large spider webs can even trap hummingbirds if they are small enough.
  • Owls, hawks, crows, blue jays, and other large birds: Birds of prey (hawks, falcons, etc.) will outright attack and kill hummingbirds as a food source. Other birds that are just territorial have no issue attacking a hummingbird that it views as a threat. Crows, bluejays, and cardinals are examples of songbirds that are very territorial. They won’t attack a hummingbird to eat them, but they will kill them.

The best thing you can do to protect hummingbirds from predators is to create environments that offer safety to a hummingbird. They are generally able to take care of themselves in the wild (they are usually faster than their predators and can zip around), but if they recognize your yard as a safer place than other areas, they are more likely to frequent it.

8. Pesticides

Close-up of the hand of a man holding a mosquito spray tube

Certain pesticides can indirectly harm hummingbirds as they feed on insects or flowers that could retain dangerous chemicals.


Hummingbirds are not only attracted to nectar but also to insects and spiders that provide them with protein and other nutrients. However, these food sources can also expose hummingbirds to pesticides, harming them in various ways. Pesticides can contaminate the nectar, water, or plants that hummingbirds use, or they can kill or reduce the insects and spiders that hummingbirds eat. Pesticides can also affect the hummingbirds’ health in negative ways, with some studies showing harmful effects on their behavior, memory, reproduction, and overall survival.

To protect hummingbirds from pesticides, you can:

  • Try not to spray near water or near your hummingbird feeder.
  • Don’t use chemicals on plants that they often congregate around for food or shelter.
  • Use a non-chemical method for fighting pests, such as traps, barriers, or natural predators.
  • Plant flowers that are specifically used to attract hummingbirds and reduce pest plants.
  • Reduce insecticide usage, so they have something to eat!

By reducing or eliminating the use of pesticides in your yard, you will help hummingbirds stay healthy and happy. You will also benefit other pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, who share the same habitat and food sources as hummingbirds. It’s a win-win!


Hummingbirds are amazing and beautiful birds that can brighten up any yard. If the season is right and you’ve done all you can, you may just see (or hear) a little *humm* in your yard as you enjoy the sun, and it will all be worth it.

Summary of 8 Things Scaring Hummingbirds From Your Yard

Hummingbird ScaresSolution
1Pets (Especially Cats)Keep cats indoors or provide shrubs and trees for hummingbirds to perch or hide
2Dirty Feeders or Spoiled NectarReplace nectar every few days and keep your feeder clean
3Pests Have Taken OverUse ant moats and bee guards to keep pests out
4Loud Noises or MusicTry to keep your yard quiet and play loud music inside
5Excited ChildrenTeach children to respect the hummingbirds and to admire them from a distance
6Lack of Natural HabitatPlant flowers that hummingbirds like and provide a water source
7PredatorsTry to keep the neighborhood cats and snakes out of your yard
8PesticidesDon’t spray pesticides on flowers or plants that hummingbirds are attracted to

Share this post on:
About the Author

Colby is a writer at A-Z Animals primarily covering outdoors, unique animal stories, and science news. Colby has been writing about science news and animals for five years and holds a bachelor's degree from SEU. A resident of NYC, you can find him camping, exploring, and telling everyone about what birds he saw at his local birdfeeder.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.