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Attract Hummingbirds to Your Yard
"As the Garden Grows, So Grows the Gardener"
Aren’t these little creatures simply fascinating? They fly up, down, forward, backward, sideways, and yes, even upside down while their tiny wings beat 78 times per second. Yet they cannot walk. I love to sit on my deck and watch them feed and if I am very still, sometimes, we come face-to-face. You can only imagine the startled look on both our faces!
Attracting hummingbirds to your yard is fairly easy. Provide plenty of food and water and they will come. They crave tubular flowers like I crave chocolate! These birds can’t resist petunias, verbenas, impatiens, phlox, red zinnia, snapdragon, scarlet sage, columbine, Bleeding Heart, butterfly bushes, Trumpet vine, Abelia, Jasmine and Weigela. A hummingbird feeder is a must and more than one is highly recommended since the glutinous male Ruby-Throated hummingbird is very territorial. Two of my favorite feeders are Droll Yankee's flat top feeder with a built-in ant moat and Par A Sol’s decorative feeders that hang from an ant moat. Yes, ant moats are a must for me; otherwise, those little sweet-loving ants will be everywhere and dining for free!
Keep your feeder clean and the nectar fresh and your hummers will return to you year after year. You can make your own nectar by using 1 part sugar to 4 parts water. In the Dog Days of Summer, I refill my feeders at least twice a week and try to clean it once a month with a 50/50 mixture of white vinegar and water. Rise thoroughly.
Even though most of North Carolina’s hummingbirds start heading south in July, I leave my feeder out through October for those late migrants. These little guys need plenty of fuel for their long trip back to Mexico and Central America. I’ve even read that North Carolinians have attracted winter hummingbirds by leaving out their feeders during the cooler months. The nectar solution does not freeze unless temps drop below 27°F and feeders only need cleaning and refilling about every 2 weeks. If you see a winter hummingbird, we would welcome a picture. Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Happy hummingbird watching!
Map of Ruby-Throated Hummingbird Migration Period