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by Vanina Mangano
Attracting hummingbirds to your backyard and garden is much
easier than it sounds. These small birds have a special knack
for finding their favorite flowers, and a powerful memory for
returning to their favorite spots - even after years of
visiting! A common mistake is to think that hummingbirds find
their feeding ground through a flower's scent, but this is
untrue - they have nearly no sense of smell. Instead, they seek
out tubular shaped flowers, heavy with nectar, and specific
colors, such as red, pink, and orange. This is why hummingbird
feeders work so well: they typically are lined with the color
red, or other strong colors. A major plus is that hummingbirds
are always on the look out for new places to feed. This does not
mean that once they find a new feeding ground they will abandon
yours - these birds must feed at least every 10 minutes, so the
more the better!
To start, try some or all of the following:
- Plant a hummingbird garden. A great part of a hummingbird's
diet consists of sugar, which they get from nectar and tree sap.
Here are some of the many plants that make a great hummingbird
- Flowers: Canna, Foxglove, Lupine, Yucca, Coral Bells,
Agapanthus, Petunia, Impatiens, Fuschias, Begonia, Honeysuckle
- Trees/Shrubs: Azalea, Red Buckeye, Lantana, Butterfly Bush
- Vines: Honeysuckle, Morning Glory, Trumpet Creeper, Cypress
- Hang a hummingbird feeder. These are very easy to find and
affordable. You can buy a special feeder mix, or make your own
by boiling 1 part sugar to 4 parts water 2 cups water for two
hours. A word of caution: do not use food coloring or any type
of dye, honey, or artificial flavors - these will harm the
- Hummingbirds are very territorial. If possible, we recommend
hanging at least two feeders.
- Red is a very attractive color to them. Tying a red ribbon
near your feeder will make them curious enough to explore, as
well as making the feeder more visible.
- Clean your feeder at least one time per month. Not only will
you continue to provide hummingbirds with a great feeding
source, but you will keep them coming (they will not feed on
- Hummingbirds spend 80% of their time perching. By including
possible perching plants or other perching-potential items in
your garden, hummingbirds will be more likely to linger and
- Bathing in running water is a pleasing hummingbird pastime -
they love dripping water. They enjoy misted leaves to bathe in,
so adding water misters near plants with wide leaves is a
- Eucalyptus trees are desirable to hummingbirds not only
because they provide good perching ground, but also because they
use them for nesting material.
- Hummingbirds don't just feed from nectar. Part of their diet
is made up of protein that they get from little insects that
they eat, particularly fruit flies. Because of this, it is best
not to use pesticide in your hummingbird garden, since the birds
may feed on infected insects and become ill themselves.
By following some or all of the above suggestions, you should
see some hummers very soon. Although, keep in mind that many
hummingbirds do migrate, depending on your region, so do not
become discouraged if they do not show immediately - there are
many online resources outlining migratory and species
information, such as www.hummingbirds.net.
Some fun hummingbird facts:
- They take nectar at 13 licks per second
- They can consume up to 2/3 of their body weight daily
- They can flap their wings 60-200 times per second
- Their Heart beats up to 1260 times per second
- They can fly up, down, forward, backward, and sideways
- Some migration routes consist of up to 600 miles in length
- There are 16 different species
- Feet are only used for perching
- They can fly up to 60 miles per hour
About The Author|
Vanina Mangano is co-founder of MYeFlora, an online gardening
community. Vanina is a business professional and a passionate
gardener who enjoys writing about and participating in nature.
Visit her site at http://www.myeflora.com.