By Rob Huff
Are you having trouble attracting hummingbirds? Sometimes hanging a feeder is simply not enough. Consider creating a hummingbird habitat.
It does not take a lot of space to create a hummingbird habitat. In fact, you can attract hummingbirds with plants in hanging baskets or patio planters. No matter what your situation, with a little planning you can create a habitat for attracting hummingbirds.
When planting flowers to attract hummingbirds, use flowers of like color in large groups instead of single plants scattered around. Hummingbirds are attracted to color and it will be easier to catch their attention with a large patch of color.
Perennials are a good choice since they grow back year after year. Studies have shown that hummingbirds will return to the same feeding places from year to year and perennials will provide a consistent food source.
Some of my favorite perennials are: Coral Bells, Red Bee Balm, Foxglove, Cardinal Flower, Bleeding Heart and Red Columbine.
Annuals will work well in a new garden since they bloom quickly. They are also relatively inexpensive, making it affordable to plant them in large numbers. I have had good success with salvia and red petunias. You can also save money if you grow your own plants from seed. And if you start them early indoors, they will bloom sooner when planted outside. You should plant your gardens as early as possible to insure that blossoms are available when hummers arrive in your area.
It is also helpful to use a variety of flowers that will bloom at different times. This will insure that nectar is available throughout the spring and summer.
You should minimize the use of insecticides. Nectar is only part of a hummingbird’s diet. They also enjoy feeding on tiny flying insects and spiders.
Adding a water source is another great way to encourage hummingbirds to visit your yard. A shallow birdbath or mister is a major attraction for hummingbirds. They get all of the water they need from nectar, but hummers love a daily bath. If you use a shallow birdbath, place it in the hummingbird garden near a shrub, preferably in the shade. If you use a mister, place it near broad-leafed plants. Hummers will bathe in the pools of water that collect on the leaves (this is especially fun to watch).
Once you have created your beautiful, natural hummingbird habitat it is time to add a few hummingbird feeders. Since hummingbirds are territorial you will attract more birds if you spread your feeders out.
Finally, make sure you set up a place for hummingbird viewing. Choose a spot in the shade (a respectful distance away) to quietly enjoy the fruits of your labor.
This project is a great way to get the entire family involved in the wonderful hobby of bird watching. Your children will be fascinated with the success of your natural hummingbird habitat. You can use this project to show them just how wonderful nature is and how easy it is to improve the world around us.
Rob Huff and his family have enjoyed attracting wild birds into their yard for many years. This love of watching wild birds has grown into a hobby that the whole family enjoys together. For more information on birding and attracting birds visit http:
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