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Category:  Gardening

How to Attract Hummingbirds

By Marilyn Pokorney  

Planting a garden full of red flowers is the best way to attract these beautiful jeweled birds.

Plant bee balm, butterfly weed, columbine, cardinal Flower, coral bells, cosmos, dahlias, four-o'-clock's, fuchsias, morning glory, petunias, zinnias, trumpet vine, or honeysuckle.  A web search will reveal many more.

Be a hummingbird magnet by having as much red in your backyard as possible. Besides flowers use gazing balls, backyard furniture, ribbons, and other yard decorations. Create both sun and shade areas in your hummingbird garden. Offer an abundance of nesting materials to encourage nesting females.  Hummingbirds prefer downy like materials, spider webs, ferns, moss and lichens for their nests. Make certain that there is always fresh water available for drinking as well as for bathing.  Set up misters. Hummingbirds love to take "leaf baths," rubbing against wet leaves or just sitting on a branch having the mist fall upon them.

Avoid pesticides. These chemicals kill the insects that hummingbirds eat for protein and can also sicken or kill the birds.

Add plenty of places for the birds to perch.  Hummingbirds spend around 80% of their time sitting on twigs, shrubs, and other available resting places.

Provide red hummingbird feeders hung about thirty feet apart throughout your yard. Never fill your feeders with anything but a sugar-water mix of 1 part white sugar to 4 parts boiled water. Do not use food coloring or artificial sweeteners of any kind, and never, never use honey which can develop a fungus which can be fatal to hummingbirds.  Clean and refill the feeders every 3 days.  More often if temperatures are above 85 degrees F.

Hang the feeders on a pole in a flower bed or on a porch or deck near flowers hummingbirds are attracted to.

You can also tie 18 to 24 inch strips of red ribbon to the feeder. The blowing ribbons will make it easier for the hummingbirds to see.

Place feeders at various heights.  Some hummingbird species like to feed at heights of 12 to 15 feet, while others feed on low growing flowers and prefer feeders placed closer to the ground.

Avoid hanging feeders in direct sunlight, which will cause nectar to spoil more quickly.

Once a week the feeder must be washed with vinegar and water or a 10% chlorine solution and scrubbed clean.

Create a separate feeder for Bees and wasps.  Fill it with a mixture of 3:1 or even a 2:1 ratio of water to sugar. The insects have a very strong preference for rich, high-sugar mixtures and will quickly decide to use the feeder with the higher sugar content.

To repel ants, apply vinegar or powdered cloves to ant trails.  Put adhesive tape applied sticky-side-out to the hanging wire.  Experts advise that petroleum jelly not be used because the greasy substance gets onto the birds and make it hard for the birds to clean their feathers properly. Use ant traps instead. For more information visit:http://www.apluswriting.net/garden/hummingbird.htm

Author:  Marilyn Pokorney Freelance writer of science, nature, animals and the environment. Also loves crafts, gardening, and reading. Website: http://www.apluswriting.net  

 

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