If you’re like me, spring hasn’t quite sprung. I’m dealing with a February snowstorm dumping snow and ice outside. But that doesn’t stop me from planning for spring. It will be here sooner than you think. And that means, hummingbirds.
Hummingbirds are very easy to attract, and since they feast on mosquitoes in addition to sweet nectar, they’re little friends worth encouraging to hang around!
Tiny and enchanting, Hummingbirds are a delight to watch. They’re the only bird whose wings can rotate in a complete circle, allowing them to fly backward and forward, up and down, or even hover in one spot. If you’ve ever observed Hummingbirds feeding, you no doubt want to recreate the experience in your backyard.
Creating a Hummingbird Habitat
Creating a hummingbird habitat is easier than you may think; they need shelter, security, and a constant source of water. While they get enough water in their diet from dew and nectar, they need water to bathe in. So provide birdbaths and fountains for your Hummingbirds. And did you know that hummingbirds LOVE water-spray! If you’re watering your lawn, you’ll see these little guys flitting about the water-spray like children on a hot summer day! Consider putting a misting attachment on your garden hose and wait for the little ones to whiz around in the spray.
Planting for Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red. Flowers that are orange or red, and have good nectar production are ideal for attracting hummingbirds. Some good choices include:
To encourage Hummingbirds to nest, provide quiet, secluded areas where they can safely build their tiny nests. They typically make their dens over water, on overhangs of branches or bough covered paths between bushes. Since they prefer nesting near water, consider putting out a small tub with a few water plants in it, or adding a few water plants to your fountain! They craft their little nests using mosses, spider webs, and lichen. Fully built, their elaborate nests, complete with minuscule eggs tucked safely inside, look more suitable for the fairy gardens found in Irish folklore than the wilds of backyard Ontario.
There are as many differing feeder styles and designs as there are personal preferences. You should be able to find one to fit your individual décor without much effort. (Farmer’s markets can be an excellent source for finding handmade bird feeders with a rich natural ruggedness!) As far as your new friends are concerned, they all do the same job; they’re only interested in the contents of your feeder! So purchase high-quality nectar or nectar mix and plan on keeping your hummingbird diner open until late into the fall. Since Hummingbirds scan for the color red when searching for a food source, don’t hide your feeder; keep it in plain sight. And don’t forget to empty and clean your feeder every 3-4 four days.
Location. Location. Location.
Just as in real estate, location is everything. Along with selecting a visible spot for your Hummingbird feeder, be sure to choose an area high enough to prevent neighborhood kitties, or small dogs, from using them as bait. Wild birds in the province are at an increased risk from our living-room lions and backyard hunters.
Feeding Hummingbirds is highly rewarding. Social and friendly hummingbirds are pure enjoyment for the entire family. And there’s nothing quite like that identifiable hum as they whiz past your head, while you’re refilling their feeders.