Garden Clippings: Attracting Hummingbirds

Tips for attracting hummingbirds to your garden.

| July 2008

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    FEASTING: Hummingbirds are attracted to red and orange blossoms. They especially like long, tubular flowers, such as these from a honeysuckle shrub, which tend to hold more nectar than other types of blossoms.

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This article originally appeared in CAPPER'S July 10, 2001.

There are many things in the garden I anticipate seeing each year before the Kansas wind and heat rob them of their luster - the Juddi viburnum blooming, the appearance of the fall-planted bulbs, and the lush, new growth of the perennials. But one of the most astonishing sights is a side effect of the garden plants - the return of the hummingbirds.

I find it hard to believe that a bird that weighs approximately as much as a penny will leave my yard in the middle of the United States each fall, travel thousands of miles to Mexico or South America for the winter, and then make the return trip to the Lang residence in the spring.

Feeding Activity

Hummingbirds, of course, get their name from the humming sound produced by their wings, which can flap up to 150 times a second. The tremendous activity of the hummingbird requires it to feed every 10 to 15 minutes during the day. The birds consume half their weight in food, and many times their weight in water daily.

Many people notice that the feeding activity of hummingbirds is heightened at sunset. The build-up of reserves at dusk, along with a decrease in heart rate and body temperature, allows them to make it through the night without starving.

Flower nectar is the main component of a hummingbird's diet, but it also feeds on insects to receive the protein necessary for its diet. The solution of sugar and water that we use in hummingbird feeders closely resembles that of flower nectar.

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