Hummingbirds have always fascinated me. At first glance, a hummingbird looks like a large insect zipping through the flowers. Then, it pauses and hovers in mid-air sipping sweet nectar from the blooms. Their tiny bodies seem to be hanging suspended until you realize their tiny wings are beating so fast that your eye cannot catch up.
The hummingbird is an aeronautical and anatomical wonder.
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- The ruby-throated hummingbird has the relatively largest heart in the animal kingdom. Its heart makes up 2.5% of its body weight.
- Hummingbirds hearts beat an average of 250 beats a minute when resting and 1200 beats a minute when flying.
- Hummingbirds can flap their wings 80 times per second.
- Hummingbirds eat nectar, pollen, insects, and tree sap.
- There are more than 300 species of hummingbirds.
- Hummingbirds are only found in the western hemisphere.
Attract Hummingbirds To Your Yard
If hummingbirds are native to your part of the world, you can attract them to your yard by planting their favorite flowers or hanging hummingbird feeders. Here are some tips:
- Plant flowers that attract hummingbirds. Here’s a list to get you started.
- Go for native flowers if possible.
- Plant bright red or orange flowers. Hummingbirds are attracted to those colors most of all.
- Tubular shaped flowers hold the most nectar and will keep the hummingbirds sipping longer.
- Provide perching structures near the flowers or feeders.
Choosing Your Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbird feeders can be found everywhere. We picked ours up at the local hardware store. There are, also, some great hummingbird feeders sold in specialty stores and online. All have reservoirs that hold sugar water and are red in order to attract hummingbirds.
While there are many shapes and types of hummingbird feeders, hummingbirds will feed from anyone that contains fresh sugar water. Find the one that you like the best and is easiest for you to clean.
Where To Place Your Hummingbird Feeder
Hang your feeder near plants that naturally attract hummingbirds. This might up your odds of attracting hummingbirds to your feeder. Or, you might just hang your hummingbird feeder out your window so you can easily observe these beauties. Both can be successful.
Hummingbird Nectar Recipe
Your hummingbird feeder needs to be filled with fresh nectar every 2 or 3 days. Hummingbirds will not eat spoiled nectar. This easy recipe can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- 1 part cane sugar and 4 parts water
That’s it! So easy.
Is It Bad To Artificially Supplement Hummingbirds’ Diets?
Some people will say that feeding hummingbirds artificial nectar (sugar water) is bad for the birds and keeps them from getting the nutrients they need to survive. Actually, artificial nectar is not that artificial and it makes up a small part of the hummingbird diet.
Sugar that we buy at the store for baking and for making hummingbird nectar, is made up of sucrose. Sucrose is also the primary sugar in the nectar of most flowers that the hummingbirds visit. Artificial nectar is giving the birds the same basic sugar that they would get from flowers.
Sugar water nectar might be missing a few trace minerals and amino acids that can be found in flower nectar. However, since nectar makes up a small part of the hummingbird diet, the birds won’t be affected. Nectar gives hummingbirds the energy they need to catch the insects that make up the bulk of their diet. Insects are where the hummingbirds’ real nutrition comes from.