Hummingbirds Are My Favorite
Allen's, Calliope and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds.
Photos from Thayer's Birds of North America CD
Hummingbirds are fascinating to watch as they dart around the feeders. Males become very aggressive and try to drive away other hummingbirds.
You might want to consider having more than one hummingbird feeder in your yard to provide food for many "hummers" at the same time.
Feed hummingbirds a mixture of 1 part sugar and 4 parts water. Boil the water and then mix in the sugar. Let cool. You can store this mixture up to two weeks in your refrigerator. Change the liquid in your feeders every three days. Keep the feeders and tubes clean. Do not add red coloring to the liquid.
Hummingbirds are attracted to red, so tie a red ribbon on the feeder or buy a feeder that is red. Bees are attracted to yellow, so do not buy a feeder with yellow plastic on it.
Feeders that are flat, enclosed saucers (birds sit on the perches) seem to be easier to keep clean than feeders with tubes (bird hovers while feeding).
You can plant flowers in your yard that attract hummingbirds. Red, tube shaped flowers are best. Try Trumpet Vine (Campsis), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia) or Honeysuckle (Loniceria).
In eastern North America, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird you will probably see. But in places like Arizona, you may see over a dozen species. There are famous backyards in Portal, Arizona (near Cave Creek Canyon) and Patagonia, Arizona where rare hummingbirds buzz around your head all summer long!
In the fall and winter you may find some unusual hummingbirds in your yard if you live in the southern United States. If you see anything other than a Ruby-throated Hummingbird, please contact your local "Bird expert" or Audubon club! Scientists are discovering that many western hummingbirds frequently turn up in the south -- but most people do not recognize them.
Email us your favorite hummingbird photos and stories!
Here are the 21 Hummingbirds found in the U.S. and Canada. All are western birds with the exception of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird and the Bahama Woodstar:
Ruby-throated Hummingbird (east)
Black-chinned Hummingbird (low mountains)
Costa's Hummingbird (dry areas)
Anna's Hummingbird (west coast)
Broad-tailed Hummingbird (mountains)
Calliope Hummingbird (mountains)
Rufous Hummingbird (pacific northwest to Alaska)
Allen's Hummingbird (California coast)
Southwest Arizona Specialties:
Berylline Hummingbird (very rare)
White-eared Hummingbird (very rare)
Plain-capped Starthroat (very rare)
Green Violet-ear (very rare)
Green-breasted Mango (very rare)
California and Florida Specialties:
Xantus's Hummingbird (CA - very, very rare)
Bahama Woodstar (FL - very, very rare)
Question: How much liquid sugar-water does a hummingbird eat in a day? My husband and I go through several cups - in June it was 10 per day! So how many birds do we host Thank You, Paula
Answer: A Ruby-throated Hummingbird weighs about 3 gram, or 1/10 an ounce. If you assume the bird eats twice its weight a day in nectar, and that it gets all its food from the feeder, that's 2/10 an ounce per day per bird. A 16-ounce feeder could thus feed 80 birds a day, assuming no leakage and no other entities are also feeding.
In the East, racoons can empty a feeder, but usually do so only at night. In the Southwest some nectar-feeding bats can also empty a feeder pretty quickly.
If one were to use 10 cups a day, that implies 800 birds a day, which on the East Coast is a staggering number, so high as to make me look for alternative explanations. On the other hand, if you were in Arizona, it wouldn't be so surprising.
Answer provided by Ross Hawkins of the Hummingbird Society.
You would not believe how many books there are about planting gardens to attract hummingbirds and butterflies. Visit the Attracting Birds Aisle of the Online Nature Mall to see what we mean!