Attracting Hummingbirds
Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Yard:

Of the many animals who may visit your yard in the spring and summer, hummingbirds are one of the most fascinating and beautiful, they are also important pollinators, and the only bird who can fly backwards!

To invite these beautiful birds to your backyard there are several things you can do. The first is of course a hummingbird feeder. The most common hummingbird in our area is the Ruby-throated hummingbird whose natural diet consists of nectar, insects, and tree sap. To feed them in your backyard you will want to provide a feeder containing sugar water. You can make this yourself by combining one part pure white sugar and four parts water, heating slowly until sugar is fully dissolved, and then allowing to cool completely before using. Refrigerate any unused nectar. It will keep in the fridge for about a week.

You can also purchase nectar powder to mix with water, no heating necessary, or ready to use liquid nectar which is ready for you to add directly to your hummingbird feeder.

Whichever type of nectar you choose it is best to use an undyed, clear nectar, as it is healthier for the hummingbirds. While hummingbirds are attracted to the colour red, choosing a hummingbird feeder with lots of red in it's design is sufficient to catch a hummingbird's attention. Dyed nectar is not necessary. Adding red flowers and decor to the area can also help attract them.

You should clean and refill your hummingbird feeder every few days, just like any other food if it's left out too long it can spoil.

Planting a Hummingbird Friendly Garden:

Incorporating pollinator friendly native plants into your garden will help you attract all manner of pollinators including hummingbirds.

Plants with tubular flowers in bright shades of red, pink, orange, and yellow will be most attractive to them. Perennial plants and shrubs that will attract hummingbirds include Butterfly Weed (Asclepias tuberosa), Lupines, Bee Balm (Monarda), Turtlehead (Chelone), Penstemon, Foxglove (Digitalis)*, Red Columbine, Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans), Honeysuckle (Lonicera), and Weigela just to name a few.

For your containers and baskets some annual favourites of hummingbirds include Petunias, Lantana, Angelonia, Salvia, Snapdragons, Verbena, and Fuchsia.

It's best to choose a variety of plants that bloom at various times during the season so that there is always something blooming for them from early spring onwards.

Remember that it can take awhile for the hummingbirds to notice a newly planted garden or a new feeder, so don't get discouraged if they don't show up immediately. It can take anywhere from weeks, up to multiple seasons for them to become regular visitors.

* Please note that Foxglove is poisonous to humans, cats, and dogs.
June 26, 2021 — Bud Laurin