Groff's Plant Farm Images

Attracting Hummingbirds

Published: Thu Jun 1st 2017

When am I happy in my yard with one third of one percent success? The answer of course is when I look toward my bird feeders and see a hummingbird.

My percent sentence is one way of saying that 320 different species exist but only one is common in our area. All live in the western hemisphere and maybe 20 or so venture into the United States mostly in the southwest.

Hummingbirds like openings in forests and forest edges. Thus, they can easily be attracted to rural or suburban landscapes that provide a mix of tall trees, shrubs, good nectar plants and some open lawn. Generally, they feed near the ground but often perch or nest at higher levels. Of course, all the other bird-bringing ideas apply. Think about water, cover and protecting their insect food sources with judicial use of insecticides and strict supervision of your cats. Their diet is about 60% nectar and 40% insects. The insects are most critical while feeding there young.

The experts claim that if you see one bird regularly you have five. Use the five times multiplication table to estimate your population. Conventional wisdom suggests that hummingbirds favor red tubular flowers. True, but I have seen them actively working at pink, orange, yellow or blue flowers. Some suggest they avoid high fragrance offerings. Also try to cover the entire seasons they are here.

In this area, the northward migration begins in April and the return south starts in early October. Many will nest in or area.When selecting plants to attract hummingbirds, aim for groupings of the same plant to provide plenty of nectar. Although there many native plants that would do the job even the purists will make exception for salvias. Start there with your plant selection to bring hummingbirds.

Early in the season I have seen hummers feeding on tree sap.If you feed use a mixture of four parts water and one part of white cane or beet sugar. That real close to nectar. That’s it. Stop right there. Honey or brown sugar is toxic to the birds.

Once the birds find you, they have long memories and you will be blessed season after season if you do your part.