Attracting Them Is Easier Than You Think, So Pull Up a Lawn Chair and Enjoy
What a magical sight to see a tiny hovering hummingbird. Less than 3 inches long, these amazing-but-mighty birds seem more like big bugs. Weighing less than a nickel, their wings beat up to 80 times per second. The flapping creates an audible buzz, thus the “hum” in “hummingbird.” They can’t walk or even hop, yet can fly up to 30 mph. When the ruby-throated hummingbird migrates south twice a year, it makes the 500-mile flight non-stop!
The allure of these mini marvels is practically undeniable, so let’s help you draw them into your world. Start with a feeder, easily found and affordable, that you can hang from a branch or iron garden hook, about five feet off the ground. Next, mix up a batch of sweet food. How to make hummingbird nectar:
- Combine 1 part white sugar with 4 parts water (no artificial food colorings)
- Boil for 2 minutes, cool a bit, then store in the fridge
- Fill your feeder half way, and every three or four days, clean it thoroughly with hot (not soapy) water
Hummingbirds do not live on sugar alone. Consider hanging a small basket of ripe fruit near feeders, to attract the tiny fruit flies and other insects they like to eat. Plant as many nectar-rich, tubular flowers as you can: perennials like columbines, day lilies and foxgloves, and annuals like petunias, impatiens and morning glories.
Bright, warm hues like yellow and orange are good, but there’s one color that hummingbirds simply can’t resist: red! It’s a powerful magnet for these little birds, so consider tying red ribbons on tree branches, flying red garden flags or even buying red outdoor furniture.
Three More Hummingbird-Friendly Facts
- A “resting perch” will be much appreciated. Place it within sight of the feeder.
- If you’re hanging more than a single feeder, place them at least 10 feet apart.
- They like water, especially when it’s moving. Creating a misty shower for the birds is easily done, starting with a top-quality Teknor Apex garden hose.
Once you’ve succeeded in welcoming these awesome little birds into your world, just position your viewing chair and make time to enjoy the show!