09 May HOW TO ATTRACT HUMMINGBIRDS TO YOUR GARDEN
I have an older sister who religiously sets out her hummingbird feeders every year by her back patio, and she has so many of these visitors that I always joke that the hummingbirds must have had a neighborhood meeting to decide which properties are the ones to hit up. “194 Magnolia Drive used to be good,” I imagine them telling each other, “but they’ve stopped putting out the goods. But 204, on the other hand — she’s ready for us!”
These charming little birds are fascinating to watch, but even more importantly, they do a great job at pollinating our plants. If you’re looking to attract hummingbirds to your garden, here are a few tips to help you lure them in.
Plant flowers they like. Hummingbirds like flowers with nectar, so start planting! Great native choices include columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), wild bergamont (Monarda fisulosa), lemon beebalm (Monarda citriodora), scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis), and native salvias.
Add a feeder. Hummingbird feeders are critical sources of nectar, particularly during their spring and fall migration. There’s a simple system for keeping hummingbirds flocking to your feeders, and you can find it by reading Hummingbird Feeders 101.
Flower color doesn’t seem to matter. There’s a rumor that hummingbirds are attracted to red flowers or just to the color red in general — which is why hummingbird feeders are almost always a scarlet hue. But research shows that the color of the flowers isn’t really important to these tiny creatures; they’re simply seeking a nectar source. Whether the nectar comes from flowers or your feeder, aim to keep them in the same spot — hummingbirds often go to the exact same spot they are used to feeding in, and, if you’ve moved a feeder even a couple of feet away, the birds won’t see it and will move on.
Create a safe habitat. In addition to the flowers listed above, plant native trees, shrubs, and vines to create safe places for resting and nesting. Provide a water source — even a shallow pan of water or a simple misting system helps! Make sure your property is pesticide-free, and encourage your neighbors to join you in foregoing pesticides and adding native plants.