For The Answer
have been numerous hummingbird reports in the
In the autumn, we are revisited by ruby throats and migrating black chins plus we usually see rufous hummingbirds, especially if you have a sugar water feeder. The rufous hummingbird is easy to recognize because of its red brown coloring and smaller size. The female ruby throats and black chins look alike with green backs and white chests. The ruby throated males and black chinned males are named for their identifying characteristic.
Hummingbirds are easy to observe in your yard if you have blooming plants and sugar water feeders. In my landscape right now they are visiting the columbine, cross vine, snapdragons, and larkspurs. For year round hummingbirds, consider the following plant list. One key is to have blooms that produce nectar all season long.
Cross Vine (Sun)
Petunias (Sun) (Container or Garden)
Mexican Honeysuckle (Sun)
Coral honeysuckle (Sun)
Late Spring/Early Summer
Salvia greggii (Sun)
Pentas (Shade or Sun) (Container or Garden)
Society garlic (Sun or Shade)
Hibiscus (Sun) (Container)
Dwarf ruellia (Shade or Sun)
Esperanza (Sun) Pentas (Shade) (Container or Garden)
Poinciana (Sun) Lantanas (Sun)
Blue salvias (Sun) Shrimp Plant (Shade)
Firebush (Sun) (Container or Garden) Turk’s Cap (Shade)
Hibiscus (Sun) (Container)
Salvia coccinea (Shade or Sun)
Lavender Lantana (Shade or Sun) (Container or Garden)
To enhance your enjoyment of hummingbirds, consider providing sugar water to the fast flying dynamos. They will become quite tame and even demanding in terms of keeping the feeders full. If you have children or grandchildren, hummingbirds are an effective way to introduce them to nature.
Select a feeder that is easy to clean. They need to be rinsed every week, and cleaned with a brush. It is also best if they have bee guards or some mechanism to discourage the bees in favor of the birds. The feeders are available at bird specialty shops, feed stores, pet stores, hardware stores, and even supermarkets. The brushes are available at the bird specialty stores.
Place the feeder under the house eave, on a post, or from a trellis. You must be able to easily reach it for refilling, but it must be visible from the area you most likely will be spending time. Outside the kitchen or living room window works well.
There are special hummingbird mixes for sale, but they are basically sugar so you may as well use the less expensive option if you own sugar. Mix one part sugar by volume to four parts water. Adding the sugar to hot water makes it easier to dissolve. If you mix a large batch store the rest in a recycled plastic milk jug in the refrigerator. A few drops of red food coloring is usually added, but it does not seem necessary to attract the birds.
In addition to bees the sugar water will sometimes attract ants or woodpeckers. If ants appear, move the feeder to a different site or hang it on a longer wire. Woodpeckers will pull bee guards out and enjoy long draughts of the sugar water. I enjoy them almost as much as the hummingbirds so just replace the bee guards until the next visit.
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For those of you
interested in SAWS Water Resources Projects, the Citizens Advisory Panel (CAP)
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