No more hummers? Where’d they all go?
Spring time is nesting season. Shortly after arriving, the females establish a nesting territory. Females don’t like to build nests in a male’s feeding territory, and your feeder is probably part of one. Visits to distant feeders take too much time away from the eggs. When the chicks hatch, they need protein to grow, not sugar, so their mother spends most of her time catching small insects and spiders for them.
During this period, you may still see a male or two at your feeders, but typically only early or late in the day. Once their breeding duties are over, males tend to abandon territories and forage more widely to fatten up for migration. After the chicks fledge (leave the nest), expect the number of hummers at your feeder to be double what it was before the “disappearance”.
As summer progresses, there will be fewer natural hummingbird food sources available in many parts of the continent; feeders can have a real positive impact on the number of birds that survive, so please keep them clean and fresh. And keep notes on your tiny visitors, if you like!
Want Hummingbirds In Your Garden?
Hanging a hummingbird feeder is just the first step! Plant flowers in your garden that hummingbirds like to visit and get ready for the show! Hummers like trumpet shaped blooms and bright colors, especially red!
Since hummingbirds feed by sight on regularly-followed routs- called traplining- their inquisitive nature will quickly lead them to investigate any possible new source of food. A hummer garden is also a great way to capture the birds on film or video. Plan carefully and select a variety of plants that flower at successively later dates and you will be rewarded with happy hummers throughout the season.
Plants To Attract and Feed Hummingbirds:
||Trees & Shurbs||Vines:|
|Agastache – Hummingbird Mint||Begonia||Anisacanthus – Hummingbird Bush||Cypress Vine|
|Bee Balm||Foxglove||Azalea||Cross Vine|
|Canna||Fuchsia||Butterfly Bush||Morning Glory|
|Cardinal Flower||Geranium||Flowering Quince||Scarlet Runner Bean|
|Coral Bells||Nicotiana||Turk’s Cap Hibiscus|
|Hosta||Salvia||Rose of Sharon|
How Fast Do Hummingbirds Wings Beat?
It depends on the size of the bird. The largest, the Giant Hummingbird, has a wingbeat rate of 10-15 times per second. The fastest recorded rate was about 80 per second, on a tiny Amethyst Woodstar, and the slightly smaller Bee Hummingbird – the world’s smallest bird- may have an even faster rate. Common small North American hummers like the Ruby-throated and Rufous average around 53 per second in normal flight.
Want to know what plants attract butterflies and which ones are common host plants? By including both host plants and nectar plants in your garden, you can attract a wider selection of butterflies while providing an environment that supports their entire life cycle. Take a look at our list and choose some flowers that will have butterflies flocking to your garden in no time!
- Butterfly Attractors: Annuals, Herbs, and More! -
|Tithonia rotundifolia||Salvia coccinea
|Salvia splendens||Lantana camara
|Phlox drummondii||Lavendula (most kinds)
|Zinnia elegans||Liatris spicata
|Impatiens capensis||Nepeta gigantean
||Azalea (most kinds)|
|Nastirtium glauca||Rudbeckia hirta
||Rhododendrons (most kinds)|
|Petunis x hybrid||Echinaceae purpurea
|Justica brandegeana||Sedum (most kinds)
||Caryopteris x clandonensis|
|Nicotiana alata||Verbena bonariensis
||Viburnum (most kinds)|
|Plumbago aurantiaca||Verbena tenuisecta
|Pentas lanceolata||Verbena canadensis
|Centranthus roseus (vina)||Veronica spicata
||Herbs, Vegetables, & Fruits|
|Bouganvillea spectabilis||Gaura lindheimerii
|Antirrhinum majus||Amsonia tabernaemontana||Foeniculum vulgarel|
|Aster novi-beigii||Daucus carota|
|Salvia (most kinds)
|Aristolocia (most kinds)||Centranthus ruber||Ruta graveolens
|Passiflora (most kinds)||Kniphofia uvaria
|Impomea quamoclit||Lobelia cardinalis
|Lonicera japonica||Monarda didyma
|Camspis radicans||Penstemon barbatus||
|Passiflora (perennial sp.)|
|Solidago (most kinds)|
- Build A Butterfly Puddle -
Butterflies love the nectar from flowering plants but they also need minerals and salts for their diet. One of the easiest ways to give them what they need is to build a butterfly puddle.
- Purchase a shallow plastic or clay plant saucer at least sixteen inches wide. Fill with coarse sand. Mix in a tablespoon of composted chicken manure or mushroom compost. Wet the sand until it is completely soggy.
- Place on a short stand (an overturned clay pot will do) near your flower garden.
- Small stones can be used to line the edge of the container for decoration. Keep the sand soggy for the rest of the summer.
- As an added attractant, place a much smaller saucer on the sand along one edge of the larger saucer and put sliced fruit in it. Banana, apple, pear, and orange slices will bring dozens of butterflies to feed. Don’t replace the fruit regularly – butterflies prefer it slightly fermented.
- Courtesy of Walter Reeves
- Host Plants -
Even though host plants aren't top-of-mind when planning a butterfly garden, no butterfly garden is complete without these important “behind-the-scene’s” plants.
Host plants are the nurseries of the garden. If you keep an eye out you’ll see the female as she flits around the plant, gently laying her next brood’s eggs, sometimes on top of the leaves but usually on the bottom, hidden from predators.
Then, in 10-14 days, the tiny larvae, less than an eighth inch long, emerge and begin eating the plant. It’s a fascinating process as they much away, growing larger every day. Equally fascinating is watching the caterpillar leave the plant to form a chrysalis.
- Common Host Plants In Georgia -
|False Nettle||Little Bluestem Grass|
|Indian Paintbrush||Panic Grass|
|Swamp Verbena||Aspen Tree|
|Tall Verbena||Common Hop Tree|
|Water Dock||Flowering Dogwood|