Small as a thumb and weighing as little as a penny, the Hummingbird is one of the smallest species of birds. This most loved bird is often mistaken for a large insect. Short legged, the Hummingbird, shuffles along but is able to scratch its head without losing its balance. Beautiful, charming, delightful are just a few of the words used to describe the Hummingbird and just about everyone wants them in their yard.
Ruby-throated Hummingbirds are the ones you will most likely find in your yard. As they travel up and down the Eastern Coast and West to the middle of the United States. A flash of light like a jewel in sunlight will tell you they have arrived from their Winter homes in Mexico and Panama.
Hummingbirds feed on the nectar of red or orange tubular flowers such as trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, honeysuckle, jewelweed, bee-balm, red buckeye and red morning glory, as well as, hummingbird feeders and sometimes, tree sap. They also catch insects in midair and remove them from spider webs. Their favourite insects include mosquitoes, gnats, flies, spiders and aphids.
A while back I started a Hummingbird and Butterfly garden without a clue of knowing what I was doing. I read endless articles and still did not know what to plant for sure. I planted the above plants I listed and they did well but they were small and some did not make it through the first Winter. The next year I planted plants I knew would grow and are native to where I live. I spent one afternoon on the edge of a sinkhole gathering small elderberry bushes that grew beautifully in my backyard and was loved by Butterflies and Goldfinches, but no Hummingbirds.
The following year I became a little bit smarter and I planted perennials such as columbines, daylilies and lupines. Next came the biennial such as foxgloves and hollyhocks. I finished the garden off with many annuals including sunflowers, clones, impatiens, purple petunias and anything I liked.
To my surprise, the purple petunias really paid off. They grew beautifully and all birds and butterflies loved them. I planted the petunias in hanging baskets
My last plants (which should have been my first) were a butterfly, raspberry, and blackberry bushes plus milkweed. All of these plants are good and important starters for any gardens if you want Hummingbirds, Butterflies, Goldfinches and other birds.
This year I am going to try growing a birdseed garden. I don't know if it will work, but it will be fun to try. And who knows in a couple of years I may be selling Yesteryear Bird Seed in our store!
Photo credit: Blackcat Photography. Many thanks.