Continuing on with our tips for attracting beautiful creatures in the garden, we now diverge to hummingbirds. Attracting hummingbirds into the garden can be a two prong approach. First, you can provide feeders specifically designed to deter other birds and allow the long slender beaks of the hummingbird to easily reach the created nectar. Secondly, installing plants that attract hummingbirds by both their color and nectar producing qualities. Believe it or not, the picture to the right (hummingbirds in hand) is something that can really be accomplished with a lot of patience and time.
Hummingbird feeders come in a large assortment of creative designs. You can purchase a powder that is easily reconstituted with water (often red in color) to place in the feeders. Pre-made liquids are also available for purchase or you can make your own out of granulated sugar and water. Use a 4:1 mixture of water and sugar, dissolve in hot tap water or boiling water (I prefer the boiled water to kill any potential organisms that may be harmful to the birds). Let the solution cool completely before filling your feeder.
The palette of plants that will attract hummingbirds is lengthy. Red is by far the best color to attract the bird. We have copies at the store of a list of trees, shrubs, vines and flowers that attract hummingbirds. Stop by and pick up your copy to take home. Some other helpful tips on attracting hummingbirds are as follows:
1. Position feeders near flowers that already attract hummingbirds.
2. Clean your feeder weekly with a water and vinegar solution instead of soap. If the water is cloudy…it’s time to clean.
3. Hummingbirds are attracted to the color red in any form. Use red tape around feeder openings to attract the birds to the feeder if your feeder or sugar solution is not colored red.
4. Plant hummingbird attracting flowers in areas that are protected by buildings or fences to minimize wind.
5. Do not use pesticides or insect repellents in or around feeders or on the plants that attract them. You can discourage insects from being attracted to the sugary solution in the feeder by applying petroleum jelly to the feeder openings or on the wire from which the feeder hangs.
Oh and as for the training of hummingbirds as in the picture above….wait until you have regular use of your feeder by a few birds on a daily basis. You can gradually approach the feeder a little closer each day until the birds will actually feed with you sitting near by. Removing your feeder and offering the nectar in a red plastic spoon as you draw closer may eventually be rewarded with a less skittish hummingbird feeding directly out of the spoon.
More info on humminbirds can be found at NC Ext. Agency
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