Attracting Hummingbirds to the garden…
Plant a hummingbird garden and they will come! Lure them right into your own garden with a proper feeder or this list of plants so that you can enjoy them. Be sure to keep binoculars and a zoom camera handy. Hiding behind the drapery may become a habit when you begin attract these living ‘flowers’ to your garden.
Did you know? Some hummingbirds near Yosemite and the Sierra National Forest don’t need to migrate,…we are considered south enough for them, even in mild snow areas.
Anna’s Hummingbird: Our winter hummingbird
Rufous, Calliope, and Black-chinned Hummingbirds have enough sense to leave for Mexico and the Gulf Coast by late summer, but Anna’s hummers stay all winter. Since the 1930s, this tiny, jewel has been flying further and further north to the Oregon border, searching out the eucalyptus trees they favor
Anna’s Hummingbird is the most common of our mountain area hummers. How did Anna get ger name? It all happened in France. René Primevère Lesson, a French naval surgeon and naturalist, collected the bird for the private collection of Prince François Victor Masséna, the 2nd Duke of Rivoli and amateur ornithologist, and named it for his wife, duchess of Rivoli, Anna de Belle Masséna. Ooh-la-la!
Interesting Facts about Hummingbirds from the Hummingbird Monitoring Network in Mariposa
- In our area, 85% are Anna’s Hummingbirds
- 8% are Black Chinned
- And 8% are Rufous
- Hummingbirds occur only in North and South Americas.
- If your feeders are empty at the end of the day, you probably have more than 150 birds visiting it!
- What you think are baby hummingbirds, are really full grown Calliope hummingbirds. The Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest breeding bird in North America and the smallest long-distance avian migrant in the world!
A humane Hall trap, lowered quickly over the feeder, allows scientists and volunteer of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network to keep records that help preserve hummingbird habitats.
Duane and Barbara Robinson, of the Hummingbird Monitoring Network, have caught and banded thousands of birds and one female was caught 35 times, proving that she lived and returned to their property year after year.
Feed the birds, all year round
Unless they freeze, your feeders can stay out all year round. The Anna’s Hummingbird lives here in our area all year.
Besides the hummingbird favorite plants, hanging a feeder will keep plenty coming to you all year round. Be responsible and keep them clean. Hot, soapy water once a week or whenever you fill them. Red dye is unnecessary, as most hummingbird feeders have red parts that attract the birds nicely.
The recipe is 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. If you forget, just look at your hand! I put 1 cup each, water and sugar into a large plastic measuring cup and microwave for 5 minutes, then I add three more cups of water. This fills two large glass feeders as shown.
Do you have one hummingbird who sits on a branch near the feeder and scares all the others away? This is territorial behavior! The solution is easy. Hang TWO feeders ten feet from each other or around the corner, out of sight.
Have you seen our ‘rare’ bird, the Rufous hummingbird? He is one of the feistiest territorial hummers.
- Use Vaseline or a product called Tanglefoot on the plastic cord to keep ants away.
- Apply vegetable or baby oil to the sippers on your feeder to discourage wasps
- I hang feeders from bungee cords for easy removal when they need refilling
- After I hang the feeders, I hose them off to remove any sticky sugar that will attract ants
Planting for Hummingbirds
Plant these to attract the most Hummingbirds.
Bee Balm, Butterfly Bush, Flowering Quince, Coral Bells, Manzanita, Petunia,, Salvia, Foxglove, Hosta, Snapdragon, Lupine and Columbine.
Flower fragrance has little effect on whether hummingbirds will like them…they go with the most colorful target. That’s why they’ll try to dive bomb you if you’re wearing a red or pink shirt.
If you want to skip feeders, Like I have for the past three years, just plant several Autumn sage plants near where you sit outside. This wonderful deer and drought resistant plant blooms all summer, with a big flush of color in Fall and the hummingbirds adore them,…they will still come to you!
Photos by Sue Langley unless noted..