Tip of the Week

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Hummingbirds: What you want to know for your garden

This spring and summer I have noticed more hummingbirds in my yard then in past years.  As a result I became very interested in reading more about hummingbirds, their migration patterns and hummingbird feeders.  The reading was interesting and insightful.

If you know there are hummingbirds in your area, you might want to read about the different types since The World of Hummingbirds says there are 356 types.  I didn't even realize there were that many.  From what I gathered I think I see more of the Ruby-throated, Rufous, and maybe Anna's hummingbirds around my house.

And hummingbirds do make chirpy noises.  I listened to several in my Aunt's tree.  The hummingbirds would sit on branches, some would chase others away, and you could hear the chirpy noises with the trill of their wings when in flight.  Quite an amazing sight, most of us only see hummingbirds when in flight.

Here's my tips for picking out a great hummingbird feeder:
1.  Glass, not plastic - This is going to be in the sun so why would we want plastic chemicals to leech into the nectar and poison the hummingbirds?
2.  Select a feeder that holds a small portion of nectar.  The larger the feeder the more likely you will waste nectar if you only have a few hummingbirds visit your garden.
3.  Do NOT buy store nectar - most have red food dye and sodium benzonate (which is a chemical preservative).
4.  Buy simple cane (white) sugar and make your own nectar.  1 cup sugar to 4 cups water.  Boil and store in a fridge for a few days.
5.  Avoid feeders that are a simple straight bottle with a stopper feeder, more often than not these will leak.

Some of my favorite designs (instead of the more traditional) include:  A feeder stake, a circle feeder, and decorative bottle feeders.

And check out this link for some ideas for your garden to attract hummingbirds.  I planted some scarlet runner beans and am hoping they will sprout soon and attract more hummingbirds to my yard besides just looking pretty in the garden.  Hopefully my beans will grow and look like this:

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