Earth Sky Time

In the garden and beyond


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Attracting Hummingbirds

images.duckduckgo.com lantana

Ruby-throated Hummingbird feeding on lantana nectar

Some friends of mine who are passionate about gardening decided to plant native perennials and shrubs to attract hummingbirds to their property this past summer.  Their gardens soon became hummingbird magnets with mated pairs visiting almost daily throughout the summer.

They asked me to suggest more ways to help hummingbirds next spring, so I recommended The Hummingbird Society, which has a trove of excellent information. I especially like their “Top Eight Tips for Attracting Hummingbirds.”

Water for Bathing:

  • More than most birds, hummers need to bathe regularly, due to the sticky nature of nectar.

  • They prefer very shallow, moving water, or a spray mist.

Nesting:

  • Placing nesting material near a feeder may attract female hummingbirds to nest near you, so you will be more likely to see them during the 5-7 weeks they are brooding or caring for their young.

  • “Hummer Helper®” is a practical nesting material and is available at many bird stores and garden centers.

  • Hummer nests are often re-used, wholly or in part.

  • Leave a nest in place; it is illegal to possess a nest or any part of it without a permit.

  • Hummingbirds don’t use “birdhouses” for their nests, because they are not cavity nesters.

Spoil Them:

  • Hummers return to sites where they found good food supplies the year before. Give them a reason to come back to you!

To learn more about Ruby-throated hummingbirds, click here.