We Love Hummingbirds!

Male ruby-throat hummingbird
Male ruby-throat hummingbird

Why are we so fascinated with hummingbirds? Is it their tiny size, incredible energy or maybe it is that we can really observe them close up in comparison to other birds?Hummingbirds love red and bright pink flowers,, and as in this video they will visit absolutely every bloom of  a plant they love.

My local newspaper did two stories on hummingbirds this week and I had to share thoughts about these amazing little pollinators.  1. The female raises and feeds the babies all on her own. After June male ruby-throats in the north country, become almost non-existent.  2. Amazing, she builds her nests to expand as her babies grow. Read Val Cunningham’s article and see hummingbird nest pictures here

What can you do to attract hummingbirds to your yard and neighborhood?

1. Put up a feeder, and make your own nectar** 2. Never use chemicals on your plants, and purchase neonicotinoid free plants. 3. Plant colorful flowers like cardinal-flower, and red bee balm.

**From Nature Notes and Jim Gilbert: “Their food consists of nectar and small insects. They will come to sugar-water feeders. I like to use a mixture of one part granulated white sugar dissolved in four parts water to lure them close enough so we can hear the humming sound from their rapid wing beats. Rinse your feeder with water and scrub with a stiff brush to remove any dirt or sticky spots to help halt fermentation and mold growth. Do not add food coloring, some of which is not safe, or honey. Hummers are drawn to colors, so use a feeder made with colorful materials.” Link to the entire article on hummingbirds.

Female ruby-throat hummingbird
Female ruby-throat hummingbird

Fall Gardening is for the Birds

Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds but not to the human eye. I took this picture in July
Dried up cone flowers are a gift to the birds. I took this picture in July

As I write this the goldfinch are eating seeds from dried up purple cone flowers, and hummingbirds are still flitting around for nectar.  Below is an excellent article on fall gardening by writer Val Cunningham.  My suggestions follow.

“As they fly around your neighborhood, birds won’t be attracted by gardens with flower stalks cut neatly to the ground and plant debris raked up and removed.” V Cunningham .http://www.startribune.com/leaving-your-garden-a-little-untidy-this-winter-helps-birds/327498161/

My additional suggestions for fall gardening are:
*Pull out all the invasive and bad plants
*Plan for next year. What worked and what didn’t work? How can you add more native

Hummingbirds and bees love this red menardia nardia
Hummingbirds and bees love this red
menardia

plants ?  (My favorites are milkweed, Liatris, cone flowers, bee balm  hyssop, wild geranium and asters)
*Plan where you can add a rain garden next year to capture the rain from your house, driveway or yard. http://bluethumb.org/raingardens/

011Birds love driveways with seeds and leaves, but please keep our waterways clean by sweeping sidewalks, driveways and street from leaves and debris.