Kathy Lawler — Guest Blogger
In May of last year, Kathy wrote a guest blog titled Hummingbirds, Butterflies, & Bees . . . Oh My!, [scroll down a bit] about attracting these, and other friends, to your garden. That blog concentrated on bees and butterflies. So now she’s following up with another Guest Blog about Hummingbirds . . .
We have Ruby-Throated hummingbirds in Northern Virginia where we live. They’re golden green on their backs and crowns with gray-white under parts. They stop by on their way to South America, and will be gone by early fall. We spent many evenings last summer on the deck watching then whiz and dart around and did miss them when they moved on. But we’re looking forward to hosting them again this spring and summer.
Oh, and for those of you wondering if Chris got any good photos… well... he did get some shots... but they all look like:
Unlike when we decided to build the birdbath for the yard, we did a little research with this project. We really looked around at hummingbird feeders — all the different shapes, configurations, and colors. And we read several sources to find out what parameters are important to Hummies; what they like and don’t like.
There are several blogs to read about choosing a hummingbird feeder, often with varying opinions, and lists of what you may want to consider. Here were some of our top items to consider:
- Be sure to consider the ease of cleaning the feeder that you choose.
- Having red flowers (vs. yellow) on the feeder will attract Hummies to your feeder.
- Place the feeder among flowers that Hummies like. It can take them some time to discover your feeder and this will help.
- You can make your own sugar-water for the feeder with a cup of tap water and a quarter cup of white sugar. We made our own and it is much easier than remembering to buy nectar at your local nursery. One batch we made with organic sugar that was more of a tan color and was larger granules… the Hummies wouldn’t touch it! (clearly, they're not from California! ;->) Stick with plain ol’ snow-white, refined, regular, granulated, table-sugar.
- There is also a lot of discussion about the red dye in nectar not being good for the Hummies; and they certainly don’t need the red-colored solution to find your feeder. We left it out and they did just fine.
Here are some additional tips:
- Be careful with placement and don’t hang it too close a window. Your Hummies might fly into it.
- Do change your feeder solution often, sometimes daily depending on the weather, and wash it thoroughly. You — and your Hummies — don’t want any ookie junk growing it there!
- We found our best viewing time was close to dusk but they also seemed to have shorter visits throughout the day.
- A perch attached to your feeder is a welcome addition for the Hummies.
And, as it turns out, not only will your Hummies provide hours of circus-like amusement each evening, they are also great pollinators, servicing plants probably overlooked by insects. According to the Galveston County Master Gardeners’ web site:
“Considering insects use scent, and birds use sight, hummingbird flowers usually have little or no fragrance. ... Hummingbirds are important pollinators, for when they feed their forehead rubs against the stamens and pistils collecting pollen. They then move from flower to flower, pollinating as they go.”
So get those feeders going! Get your lawn chairs stationed! Position your beverage holders just right! And prepare to be entertained while you’re also helping with Global Pollination! . . . or at least Neighborhood Pollination. [give yourself a big smiley face emoticon here!]
Thank You for visiting,
—Kathy Lawler, Guest Blogger