Attracting Hummingbirds to your garden
The hummingbird is the smallest of all birds in the Trochilidae family. There are over 300 different species of hummingbirds. They have tiny bodies with long, narrow beaks and long tongues. The hummingbirds’ wings flap 60-80 beats per second, which makes a humming sound, which is how they got their name. Hummingbirds are found throughout North America, all the way up to Alaska and South America, including Brazil and Ecuador. The hummingbird feeds mostly on nectar from flowers and occasionally small insects for protein. The hummingbird is a very unique bird. It has no sense of smell, which is why they are attracted to brightly colored flowers and feeders. The hummingbird is the only bird that can fly forward, backward, sideways, and hover in mid-air. Some believe that hummingbirds are unable to land, which is untrue. I have seen hummingbirds perch on my feeders. They do have very weak feet and only use them to perch to feed and sleep.
It is not very difficult to attract hummingbirds to your garden or yard. You can add feeders and specific plants to attract them. I have listed out some plants that will help you attract Hummingbirds to your garden or yard.
· Bee Balm (Monarda)
· Cardinal Flower
· Coral Bells
· Four O'Clocks
· Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
· Little Cigar
· Beard Tongue (and other penstemons)
· Various Salvia species
· Shrimp Plant
Choosing feeders, cleaning feeders, and making nectar
If you choose to use feeders, they need to be cleaned quite frequently to avoid mold/bacteria growth inside. When cleaning your feeders, you should use the hottest water you can tolerate and try to avoid detergents. When choosing a feeder, make sure that it has red coloring somewhere on it. Some even come with red colored bottles.
The ratio of water to sugar for feeders is 4:1. That’s 20 percent, which is about the percent of sugar in the nectar of most nectar-bearing flowers. Some people choose to add red food coloring to their feeders to help attract the Hummingbird, but I have found that I don't need to. Hummingbirds are known for their love of nectar, but many people are unware that they enjoy small insects as well. Hummingbirds also enjoy spinklers. A sprinkler can be a source of water, as well as a quick bath for them.
I have found that the Hummingbirds that come to my feeder have learned to not be afraid of me. They have even flown right up to my face to check things out. I made it a point to be outside when I knew they were coming to eat. I made sure that my movements were slow as to not scare them. I think they learned that I will not hurt them. They even hover over my head when I'm changing their nectar.
It's really not that difficult to attract these beautiful little creatures to your yard. Hummingbirds are wild animals and have basic needs; Water, food, and shelter. When you meet their needs, I'm sure you'll be rewarded with their presence.