Accessorizing Your Hummingbirdscape for Maximum Attractiveness
The place to start is with good, hummingbird-oriented feeders. If you already have a hummingbird feeder but think it doesn't contain enough bright colors in it, try tying a bright red ribbon to it – a colorful, flickering ribbon (thanks to the breeze) of flashing colors will be sure to get their attention. Or, you can put some red or orange surveyor’s tape on the feeder.
Thanks to having landscaped your hummingbird habitat with appropriate flowers, vines, shrubs and trees, you have the perfect setting in which to put your feeders. Place them among the plants, being cognizant of where you will be located to watch the action. Be aware too, that some species of hummingbird (such as the Ruby-throated) are relatively territorial and will defend their food sources and favorite roosting locations. If you see this happening, simply put up one or several feeders closer together so aggressive hummingbirds will feel as if they can't defend all the feeders and ports – essentially, they'll stop trying and there will be plenty of food for everyone.
Don’t forget to clean your feeders frequently, and to change the nectar every few days. If the weather is hot, do this more frequently. Also, be aware that bees and ants can be a problem with hummingbird feeders because the sweet nectar attracts them too. Luckily there are a number of different styles of feeders to keep out both of these insects – so be sure to ask about these options when you purchase your feeders.
Water and Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds need fresh water as much as they need nectar. Away from suburbia, they will often build their nests near streams or ponds, as water is critical for them. You can lure them closer to home and into your yard by putting up shallow birdbaths filled with fresh, clean water. Or you can use a Perky-Pet® waterer to provide them with their much needed water source. Another idea; install a fountain – the sound of the splashing water will attract them too.
Hummingbirds love to take baths, especially during hot summer days. One of their favorite water sources are fine-mist water sprayers; you can witness hummingbirds taking quick “aerial” baths as they fly back and forth through your misters.
Dangers to Hummingbirds
Don’t use pesticides. Hummingbirds need protein to survive and a lot of their diet is made up of bugs. They will ingest whatever is in their habitat, whether it be the nectar from flowers that have been sprayed, or bugs that have been killed by pesticides. If anything, find ways to attract bugs to your yard – hummingbirds will follow right behind.
They also need protection from wind, continuous hot sun and predators. A well-designed habitat with trees and shrubs provides them a respite from all of these; a windbreak and shade to perch, rest and nest – as well as protection from domestic cats and the more aggressive birds (such as blue jays).
Attracting, and watching, hummingbirds is one of nature’s finest back-yard delights. There’s something wonderfully satisfying about putting in the time and energy to create a safe, hummingbird-oriented habitat – by trying as many attraction-getting methods as you can – and having these flashy aerial acrobats take advantage of your efforts.
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