Of all the many delights of creating a backyard nature preserve, few can compare to the pleasures of watching hummingbirds visit your property. These fascinating creatures will provide hours of interest for you and your family, as you witness their vigorous aerobatics over your feeders or your hummingbird-attracting plants. Not only is it fun for you, but you're also helping hummingbirds survive by providing nectar, either in a feeder or in your choices of backyard plants.
If you've taken the plunge and bought a home from among Mansfield or Ashland homes for sale, attracting hummingbirds is just one more way to maximize the enjoyment of your property while also helping out wildlife. Read on and try out these tips from our REALTORS® for attracting hummingbirds.
- Put out a hummingbird feeder.
While the main food of hummingbirds is insects (they catch them on the wing) these tiny mites of the avian class famously adore nectar—both from feeders and flowering plants—for extra energy. This summer, try putting out feeders in strategic locations, high enough off the ground to be safe from cats and close to some tree canopy so they can feel secure. Hummingbirds may prefer actual hummingbird-attracting flowers, but it could take you some time to get these going. In the meantime, serve up some nectar in a couple of feeders.
If you get quite a few hummingbirds, locate at least two feeders in different parts of the yard so the birds don't waste energy fighting.
- Keep your feeders clean.
It's crucial to keep your feeders clean. Spritz the feeding holes and perches daily with bleach and water; every two or three days, especially when it's hot, take the feeder down and wash it thoroughly, inside and out, and change the solution. It will ferment and grow bacteria if left in the sun for days. You don't want to make the birds sick. Place the feeder in the shade so the sun doesn't spoil the solution.
- Don't bother with the red solution; clear is fine.
Hummingbirds don't require the commercially sold red dye solution. Make your own with one cup of sugar and four cups of water. Boil the sugar a bit till dissolved. Let it cool before putting it in the feeder. Refrigerate the leftover solution till you fill the feeder again.
Hummingbirds are attracted to the feeders by their red parts, as they resemble the flowers they like. They also like pink, yellow, and orange.
- Plant hummingbird-attracting flowers.
In our zone (6a), there are a number of hummingbird-attracting plants that thrive. One of the best for our region is Major Wheeler Honeysuckle Vine, with myriad red tubular flowers just right for a hummingbird's bill. Other hummingbird favorites are Red Hummingbird Tree; Sesbania Grandiflora (grow this outdoors in a container so you can put it on the patio and protect it during the winter); Kismet Red Coneflower; Tango Hummingbird Mint; Lantana Camara; and Heavenly Blue Morning Glory.
- Take in your feeders in the fall.
Hummingbirds need to migrate, but you won't be preventing this by keeping feeders out a few weeks into fall. Remove the feeders a couple of weeks after you see the last hummingbird. It's fine to leave the feeders a few weeks into the fall so migrating birds can feed for energy after nectar-producing flowers are gone.
Fun Fact: The most common types of hummingbirds we are likely to see in our region are the Rufous and Ruby-Throated.
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