Attracting Hummingbirds to your Backyard Wildlife Habitat
From the National Wildlife Federation
Tiny, iridescent hummingbirds can be an exciting addition to your backyard
wildlife habitat. If hummingbirds live in your area, you can attract them by
planting red, tubular flowers. There are many red-flowered plants to choose
from. Over 160 native, North American plants depend exclusively on hummingbirds
for pollination. Many of the red-flowered annuals, perennials, vines, and shrubs
available from mail order sources or local garden centers have been developed
from the native red-flowered plants of the western hemisphere.
Here is a list of some of the plants that most successfully attract
- Trumpet honeysuckle
- Scarlet penstemon
- Scarlet morning-glory
- Cypress vine
- Scarlet paintbrush
- Scarlet salvia
- Fire pink
- Scarlet petunia
- Red buckeye
- Geiger tree
- Coral bells
As a supplementary source of food, hummingbird feeders can be hung in your
Backyard Wildlife Habitat. Many types of feeders are available and all should be
filled with a boiled solution of four parts water to one part white refined
sugar or a commercial "nectar" mix. Do not use honey solutions in
feeders as they may produce a fungal disease fatal to hummingbirds. Sugar water
feeders should be cleaned every three to five days using a brush and a mild
detergent solution. Rinse well.
- The smallest bird in the world, the Cuban bee hummingbird, is 2 1/4 inches
long - about the size of a bumble bee.
- Hummingbirds, like helicopters, can hover. They can also move ahead,
sideways, or backward at will.
- A ruby-throated hummingbird, weighing about one tenth of an ounce, can
travel 600 miles in migration.
- Hummingbirds not only sip nectar, but also eat tiny insects and spiders.
They may drink up to eight times their body weight daily in water.
- Although their normal body temperature is about 103°F (40°C), it
may drop to 70°F (21°C) at night. They have the ability to endure
temporary cool weather or cool nights by becoming dormant.
- There are 340 species of hummingbirds in the world and all are found only
in the western hemisphere. Of these, only one, the ruby-throated hummingbird, is
found regularly east of the Mississippi.
- Flying consumes a great deal of a hummingbird's energy. Wingbeats have been
measured at 20-200 beats per second.
National Wildlife Federation
1400 Sixteenth Street, NW
Last Updated: April 25, 1997: firstname.lastname@example.org
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