There are over 300 species of hummingbird, and if you live in North America, chances are good you have some in your neighborhood. While they migrate to Southern Mexico and parts of South America in the winter, come spring, they know just where they left the best flower nectar behind! If you love hummingbirds and would like to see more in your garden, there are a couple of easy steps to attract them and convince them to stick around all spring, summer and fall. Create a hummingbird haven and have them coming back all season long!
How do you attract hummingbirds?
Grow plants that naturally attract hummingbirds. Flowers with long throats or large amounts of nectar are their ideal. While they are attracted strongly to red and orange blossoms, any color will make a hungry hummingbird happy, so don’t feel tied to that. Some of their favorites?
Honeysuckle (Photo of “Major Wheeler Trumpet Honeysuckle” from ‘Wilson Bros. Gardens‘.)
Provide feeders. If you want the hummingbirds to return to your garden on a regular basis, providing feeders makes sure that even when your plants are out of bloom, your birds can depend on the food supply. Here at TGG we aren’t big fans of most commercially produced hummingbird nectar. Instead, we choose simple feeders with or without a red spout, and make our own food.
Here’s our hummingbird food recipe!
1 Cup White Sugar
4 Cups Water
Bring water to boil, then turn off and add sugar. Stir till well dissolved. Cool completely. We do not add red food coloring to our hummingbird food. While there is a controversy surrounding both its effectiveness and safety, we are firmly on the side of less is more. It just seems wrong to offer artificial ingredients to wild animals. Also, there is a lot of evidence that hummingbirds prefer food that does not have coloring.
Try this DIY hummingbird feeder to make a pretty piece of art for your yard that the birds will love! Made from copper wire and glass bottles, this tutorial is from ‘The Garden Roof Coop’.
Add water! Shallow dishes of water are appreciated by these little wonders that are in near constant motion. If you are a budding photographer, providing water also gives you the opportunity to get photos of the birds at rest… usually not an easy task! Here is a DIY bird bath that is just the right depth for hummingbirds, from ‘Amazing Birds’ via ‘Home Stories A to Z’.
Provide some open space in your yard, hummingbirds like to be in the open to protect themselves against predators.
Replace the hummingbird food every three days to keep it fresh.
Use Vaseline on the hanging cord to keep ants from getting into the nectar.
Remember, just like any bird feeder, it can take a little while for them to learn to trust you and your garden. Keep replacing the food, and eventually, they will come.
To get good photos, learn your birds’ routine and have a tripod set up ahead of time with a remote shutter release. Or, a really fast telephoto lens! The photo below was taken by Steve!
Fun Facts About Hummingbirds:
Think the hummingbirds you love in your yard know you? Chances are good, they do. Hummingbirds have the largest brain in proportion to their bodies, than any other bird. There are studies that have found they can remember how to get back to any neighborhood after their migration, which is hundreds of miles each year. And that they remember every flower they visit, and how long to wait before they revisit it for the nectar to have time to regenerate. And yes, that they can recognize humans who feed them.
They are the ultimate stunt flyer! They can fly up to 30 MPH and dive up to 60 MPH, and fly in just about any direction, including backwards. Their wings beat between 70-200 times per second.
They have more feathers than any other bird, except one. Can you believe it’s the penguin?!!
Hummingbirds have no sense of smell, but an amazing sense of sight and they can see better than you and I, and in every color.
On an average day, a hummingbird will consume double its body weight in food.
Do you have hummingbirds in your yard? What’s your favorite hummingbird experience? I have one! I tell the story in our post about our trip to a desert nursery. Worth the read just for the sweet hummingbird story! Share yours!Image Credits: Wilson Bros. Gardens, The Garden Roof Coop, Home Stories A to Z