Simple tips to attract Hummingbirds to your yard
FAMILY FEATURES – Throughout the warmer months, many backyards play host to a variety of birds, including Hummingbirds. When you see flowers and trees begin to bud and bloom and other migrating birds, like Warblers, that’s nature’s way of letting you know it’s time to ready your yard for hummingbirds.
It’s enchanting watching Hummingbirds – named for the humming sound of their fast-flapping wings – as their tiny size and speed make them natural wonders.
Hummingbirds can fly 25-30 miles per hour, flapping their wings an estimated 70 times per second. They fly in every direction, even backwards, which only hummers can do, and float majestically in midair.
The birds get their brilliant color from the iridescence in the arrangement of their feathers, not color pigment. Plus, they have the fastest metabolism of any animal on Earth, burning 1-2 times their body weight in food daily. Hummingbirds draw nectar from its source into their mouths, lapping it up almost 12 times per second.
TEXAS HUMMINGBIRD MIGRATION
Most Hummingbirds arrive in Texas between mid-March and early May, and these spring months offer great opportunities to spot Hummingbirds in parks and gardens across the state.
Parts of South Texas and the Gulf Coast see the first arrivals, occasionally as early as February.
Some Hummingbirds stay in Texas to nest during summer, while others continue to areas farther north.
The southward migration that takes place in August to September offers arguably the best opportunities of the year to see these birds as they return to their winter homes in great numbers.
Only a handful of Hummingbirds stay in Texas year-round, but winter sightings are fairly common in some areas.
HUMMINGBIRD SPECIES IN TEXAS
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the most commonly-seen Hummingbirds in Texas, according to a study by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. This species, along with the Black-Chinned Hummingbird, nests in Texas before returning to Mexico.
Lucifer, Broad-tailed and Magnificent Hummingbirds do the same, but follow a more westerly migration route. These species can be seen in parts of west Texas, but are much more common in Arizona and New Mexico.
The Rufous Hummingbird, another common species, follows a different schedule, breeding in Canada and passing through Texas in summer on its way back to Mexico. A handful of Rufous Hummingbirds have been known to overwinter in parts of Texas along the Gulf Coast.
A few other species, including Anna's, Buff-Bellied, Calliope and Costa’s Hummingbirds are also seen sporadically in Texas.
BE CONSCIOUS OF BENEFICIAL INSECTS
Hummingbirds rely on insects, which provide essential protein, to complement the nectar they crave. To attract insects, try placing rotting fruit near feeders and leave it until insects arrive for hummers’ easy eats.
LEAVE SPIDERWEBS ALONE
Hummingbirds use spiderwebs as construction material to hold their nests together and pluck insects caught in the webbing.
OFFER A WATER MISTER
Hummingbirds adore bathing; a mister gives them the fine spray they prefer. Once soaked, they’re off to find a preening perch.
PROVIDE TINY PERCHES
Leave small, sturdy, bare branches for Hummingbirds, to perch on for rest, preening and hunting. Perches provide vantage points to see danger and launching pads to swiftly pounce on insects. Once Hummingbirds find a favorite perch, they’ll use it repeatedly.
HANG HUMMINGBIRD FEEDERS FIRST
Feeders are one of the most effective ways to consistently entice and encourage Hummingbirds to come visit. However, not all feeders are created equal. For example, Cole’s Hummer High Rise Feeder is scientifically designed with elevated perches to make Hummingbirds feel safe and comfortable, which encourages their consistent return.
Although Hummingbird feeders can attract bees and ants, this feeder is uniquely designed to keep pests at bay. It doesn’t drip, so large bees can’t get to the nectar, plus it has a built-in ant moat to keep ants away from nectar when filled with plain water. Since birds drink from the moat, never use any repellents or additives.
Hummingbirds are territorial and not likely to share feeders, so hang multiple feeders far enough apart to attract more birds. To ensure a steady stream of birds, hang feeders in the shade to avoid fermentation of sugar-based liquids, check feeders bi-weekly to keep food fresh and clean feeders as needed with one part white vinegar to four parts water.
Trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm and sage plants are particularly attractive to Hummingbirds and provide rich nectar. Hummingbirds consume 1 1/2 times their body weight daily, eating every 10-15 minutes and visiting 1,000-2,000 flowers per day.
CHOOSE THE RIGHT NECTAR
Not all nectar is alike, and Hummingbirds can taste the difference. Almost all commercial nectars contain one sugar source – sucrose – because it’s cheaper to make. However, real flower nectar contains three sugar sources – sucrose, fructose and glucose – in varying amounts depending on the flower.
Researched and designed to attract the greatest variety of Hummingbirds, Cole’s Nature’s Garden is a high energy, nutrient-rich nectar that combines all three types of organically sourced sugars North American Hummingbirds love, with a spring water base. It closely mimics the sugar ratios they favor and provides a healthier, nutritious, all-natural alternative to table sugar.
Don’t forget, Hummingbirds have memories like elephants; once they discover your hummer-friendly habitat, they’ll come back every year if there’s a reliable food source. Learn more at coleswildbird.com.