Hummingbirds are beautiful and entertaining to watch.
While some gardeners can go years without ever seeing sight of tiny hummingbirds, most of us can agree that these curious little birds are often buzzing around us while we are working in the garden. Not only are hummingbirds delightfully sweet and small, but there are some really great benefits to having them around. It is a great idea to do your utmost to attract these tiny birds.
Hummingbirds, despite their diminutive size, are actually rather territorial and aggressive. This is why you may see the same two or three around your garden consistently. They are also among the smartest of birds, with their brain being almost 5 percent of their body weight. Hummingbirds can remember every flower they’ve been to, remember how long it takes each type of flower to bloom, and remember complex migration routes. They have a natural curiosity that is the inspiration for them investigating nectar-filled hummingbird feeders.
Hummingbirds have Super-Senses
With an incredible sense of hearing, sensitive enough to pick up the sounds of an insect on a plant, hummingbirds are fierce little hunters. They spend a good portion of their day hunting for insects to devour. Hummingbirds have such a rapid metabolism that they require the nectar for fuel that will help them to have the energy needed to hunt for insects. The heart rate of a hummingbird can reach as many as 1250 beats per minute, which is absolutely incredible! Due to the energy they expend with the rapid beating of their wings, hummingbirds must consume incredible amounts of nectar. On a daily basis, they must consume more than their body weight.
Among the most fascinating of birds on the planet, hummingbirds can be intriguing to watch. They will dart around your garden and visit your hummingbird feeders. With brightly colored feeders, you’ll be able to attract a few birds within a relatively short amount of time.
The Benefits Of Attracting Hummingbirds
You may live in your home for twenty years and never see a hummingbird. However, f your garden serves as an attractive spot for them, there are good odds that they are around. Attracting more hummingbirds to your garden actually holds two very important benefits that every organic gardener should be aware of.
First, when hummingbirds feed on the nectar from their favorite flowers, they will also pollinate the flowers by rubbing their faces inside of the flowers while they feed. Also, hummingbirds love to feast on soft-bodied insects like aphids, gnats, mosquitos, caterpillars, and they also love to devour insect eggs. Hummingbirds can help you to keep the insect population down quite dramatically as they devour dozens of pests from your garden each and every day.
If you are interested in keeping the hummingbirds around then it is very important that you don’t use any pesticides. Pesticides will make these tiny little flying gems violently ill, and very likely kill them. Rather let the hummingbirds and beneficial insects do the pest control work for you.
There are several great ways to attract hummingbirds to your garden, with the most popular method being the addition of low-cost and brightly colored plastic hummingbird feeders. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red, so it is a popular choice in feeders.
Here are a few tips to help you maximize the chances of attracting hummingbirds to your plastic or glass feeders.
- Get feeders that have perches on them so that your visiting hummers can have a place to perch while they feed.
- Avoid feeders with sharp edges or metal embellishments that could potentially harm your little feathered guests.
- A homemade nectar of sugar and water is a great choice, but many feed supply stores sell hummingbird nectar that has been specifically formulated for the nutritional needs of these sweet little birds. However, if you want to make your own, mix four cups of water to one cup of sugar. Avoid using Kool-Aid to color the water. It’s harsh on their systems.
- Place several feeders around your house and your garden so that you can maximize the number of hummingbirds that visit.
- Try to place the feeders in a spot that is high enough to be out of reach from cats and dogs, but also not in direct sunlight as this could result in the nectar spoiling very quickly.
Plants that attract hummingbirds
Male Ruby-throated Hummingbird in flight with a purple butterfly bush flower
Perhaps one of the best and most colorful ways to attract hummingbirds is to plant a garden of vibrantly colored flowers that produce plenty of the nectar the birds need. The following is a list of just a few plants that are a superb method of attracting the birds to your property.
- Morning glory
- Butterfly bush
- Scarlet runner bean
- Bee balm
- Coral bells
- Shrimp plant
- Red buckeye
Putting in lots of vibrantly colored flowering plants won’t at all detract from the work the hummingbirds will do as pest control on your fruits and vegetables. If anything, it will further encourage them to stick around a lot more due to the ready availability of sweet nectar and bug protein.
Be sure to have a source of water available for all of the birds that visit your garden. A bird bath or a small water fountain can be a great attractive feature on a patio. They also serve as the water source for your visiting bird population.
It may take a few weeks for hummingbirds to make their appearance known to you. However, if you’ve done all you can to attract them, they will likely show up within a few weeks. Curious by nature, hummingbirds simply can’t resist checking out new brightly-colored feeders and flowers.
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