Video: Attracting Hummingbirdscomments (3) March 26th, 2009 in blogs
Video Length: 2:07
Produced by: Matt Berger
Editor's Note: This video is based on the information available in Sally Roth's article Hummingbird Favorites from Fine Gardening magazine, issue #123, pp. 44-48.
SANDY HOOK, CT--Nothing signals the onset of Spring more than the arrival of the hummingbird. Here in my backyard in Western Connecticut, a red nectar feeder is a sure-fire way to attract these tiny fliers, which weigh about as much as a penny and buzz their wings at an average of 75 beats a second.
That’s because hummingbirds are hard-wired to investigate the color red, according to Sally Roth, the author of the Fine Gardening article Hummingbird Favorites: “While fragrance is the prime bait for pollinators like butterflies and insects,” she writes, “birds don’t have good sniffers, so flowers that depend on them must advertise with color. For hummingbirds, red rules the roost."
My plastic feeder is matched only by the variety of perennials that will satisfy hummingbird visitors from late spring through late summer. Hummingbirds migrate north in spring by following the flowers as they bloom. Wild columbine, an early bloomer in the eastern two-thirds of the country, is a great choice to attract early visitors.
Red firecracker penstemon and pink pineleaf penstemon are also hummingbird magnets, thanks to their hues and tubular shapes.
As summer settles in, another hummingbird favorite is bee balm. It flowers for weeks and can be revived mid-season by cutting the back the ratty growth.
While it isn’t red, the quieter-colored Garden phlox can keep your hummingbirds satisfied as the flowers are set above the leaves allowing hummers to easily zip around and hover while feeding.
'Firefly’ heuchera, with its brilliant tiny red flowers will virtually guarantee daily hummingbird sightings, and are a good choice to plant around the edge of a flower bed.
My family spends a lot of time observing our backyard hummingbird visitors. Each year, about four or five birds settle in and stop by several times daily. We get to know them pretty well, and find entertainment in their antics, which include regular spats over food and vigorous flybys.
If you suddenly notice that your regular hummingbird visitors stop dropping by in the middle of summer, don’t take it personally—it’s just part of their natural cycle, according to Roth. This is the time when these birds take up nesting territories and are busy with family duties. By late summer, traffic will again begin to increase as families disperse.
But when fall sets in, say your goodbyes, because hummingbirds will leave just as quickly as they arrive.
posted in: attracting hummingbirds, perennials, hummingbird
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