One of the things I look forward to most about summer is the hummingbirds buzzing around the cottage. They are mesmerizing to watch, like tiny sequined acrobats. Because so many of us enjoy their presence in our gardens, I thought I would share a little piece of advice about attracting them. Keep in mind I am no expert, but I believe there is just one important thing to consider:
Provide flowers rather than a plastic feeder. Here’s why.
One of a hummingbird’s most important jobs is pollinating. Bees, butterflies, birds, and even bats play a crucial role in this life cycle. Every time they visit a flower, they carry its pollen onto the next flower, regenerating the plants, which in turn feed everyone and everything on the planet. If you want to learn more about why pollination is important, there is a beautiful documentary (currently on Netflix) called Wings of Life. Its amazing cinematography features slow-motion footage of hummingbirds in flight.
Most people don’t realize how often a hummingbird feeder should be cleaned. The general consensus seems to be every couple of days, since the sugar solution can ferment and grow bacteria that can make birds seriously, even fatally, ill. It is an easy thing to forget, and some feeders can be a pain to take apart and clean.
I think we can all agree that flowers are much prettier than a plastic. Photographing birds in their natural surroundings can be more of a challenge but has a much greater reward. When choosing flowers, look for blooms that are brightly coloured and tubular. Beebalm, columbine, buddleia, foxglove, verbena, and honeysuckle will beautify your garden while attracting hummingbirds. Find a list of flowers online and check your hardiness zone to find out what you can plant in your area.
If you decide to use feeders, don’t hang them directly in front of windows. If you have a lot of birds around your home, make sure your windows are “bird-safe.” We’ve all seen the birds of prey silhouette decals, but I recently found some new versions that are more subtle on your windows. They are essentially reflective stickers that show birds a window is a hard surface to be avoided. View them HERE. While it is lovely to see them up-close, it is heartbreaking and TOO close when one hits your window. Believe me.
I hope this inspires you to create a natural environment to bring hummingbirds to your garden. You will love having them visit and you will be doing your part to help pollinators!