How to Attract Beautiful Hummingbirds to Your Backyard or Garden
Hummingbirds are amazing creatures. Weighing just an ounce or two (less than 10 grams), and no longer than three inches (8 cm), their irridescent colors and aerobatic antics entertain all who see them. And with just a little effort, you can easily attract them to your yard or garden to delight you and your family.
A common species, the ruby-throated hummingbird, has shining green back and (males only) a bright ruby-red throat. Hummingbirds can fly at up to 60 miles per hour (100 kph), and are the only birds that can hover in mid-air and even fly backwards. Their name comes from the humming sound made by their wings, which can beat 75 times per second.
Hummingbirds are attracted to bright flowers that have sweet nectar. These include the flowers of plants like azaleas, beauty bush, bee balm, canna lillies, dahlias, honeysuckle, impatiens, morning glory, sweet william and trumpet vines. Some trees have blossoms that attract humming birds, including apple, crabapple and hawthorn. Check with your local agricultural agent, library or garden club to see which species do well in your area.
Many of us also place hummingbird feeders outside. These need to be set up before the "scout" hummers arrive (Feb or March in the south, a little later farther north). Use sugar water and beware of ants climbing down the wire to the feeder...hummingbirds will not go near a feeder that has ants. Change the nectar every few days or when it starts to smell a bit like alcohol. It is best to place feeders in naturally sunny areas, where bright flowers would grow. You will be delighted as one, then several hummingbirds begin to visit your flowers and feeder regularly. If you leave the window open you can hear their humming and chirps.