Sunday, April 27, 2008

The hummers are passing through

Attracting visitors to your garden is one of the biggest benefits of gardening! There is much information out there that can guide you in specifically what to plant in order to attract a particular bird or animal. These hummingbirds have been entertaining us with their aerial acrobatics. At times, a dozen or more will be hovering on and around one individual feeder. They've been going through 2 or 3 cups of nectar each day - so I don't have to worry about the feed spoiling in the hot sun! Currently, we have two species hanging around the garden: ruby throated hummingbirds, which are just moving through, and and the much larger buff bellied hummingbird, which will nest in the Lower Rio Grande Valley. Hummingbirds feed heavily on sugar water or nectar in a feeder - but you'll need some flowers to attract them to your garden in the first place. This one is feeding on Jatropha integerrima. Generally anything that the butterflies like, the hummingbirds will like. They are attracted to red flowers - which is why most feeders and some brands of nectar are red. Since I have read that the red dye is not good for these small birds, I always use a clear hummingbird feed or make a simple sugar mixture. My favorite brand of hummingbird food is "Best" - it dissolves easily in warm water and the hummers seem to love it!
A male ruby throated hummingbird feeds on an African Iris bloom.




Did you know that a hummingbird will beat his wings 80 times a minute? No wonder they need to stop and rest every so often? I do love to watch them hover, dive, and fly straight up or back. What little wonders they are!

These little guys can provide hours of entertainment!






7 comments:

Pam/Digging said...

Wow, did you take all those pictures? Fantastic! You have a LOT of hummers. And you showed me something new---I didn't know they fed on African iris flowers.

Mary Beth said...

Today was the first time I've ever seen hummers feed on African Iris. Ever since out bottlebrush hedge bloomed, the hummers have hung around - the most I have counted at one feeder is 12 - Aren't they the most amazing little creatures?

Titania said...

mary beth, the photos of the humming birds are so very beautiful. what a pleasure to have them in the garden. are hummingbirds native of your area?
have a nice day, mary beth.

Mary Beth said...

Titania - Hummingbirds are only found in the Americas - I think North, Central, and South America all have hummingbirds. I live in the path of two flyways so we get a nice number who are migrating through. They are quite amazing.

No Rain said...

Great photos. I wish I could capture hummingbirds this well!
Aiyana

Mary Beth said...

Aiyana - I used a 100-300 mm zoom lens and the high speed setting on my camera. The hummers cooperated too by perching on nearby plant stems! Any you can't begin to imagine the number of bad shots I got for each good one.

Nicole said...

What great shots! That must be marvelous to see all those hummingbirds at one.