Lately, around sunset, I’ve been seeing the same hummingbird resting on a phone wire that stretches from my apartment building. He is the cutest thing; and, I absolutely love that this little hummer is happy in his spot, doing what hummingbirds love to do, perch!
Interestingly, many hummingbirds migrate in the fall or spring, but this particular species of hummingbird, (Anna’s hummingbird)
stays year round, in the mild climate of the San Francisco Bay area.
From what I’ve read, this may have more to do with the fact that this particular species’ diet relies more heavily on insects for food, as opposed to flower nectar, when flowers are in shorter supply.
Though this locally perching, 3 to 4 inch long, Anna’s hummingbird may have adapted to being a full time resident, HE – like butterflies, moths, birds and beneficial insects – relies heavily upon plants and flowers for food, shelter, sleep and to rear his young.
Some Interesting Information about Hummingbirds
Hummingbirds, moths and butterflies probe deep tubular flowers to reach nectar with their tongues.
If you’re familiar with the butterfly bush (Buddleia), you may have noticed a flurry of butterflies enjoying the nectar from the massive amounts of tiny tubular flowers which make up just one flower spike. To a butterfly this richly colored flower spikes is like catnip to a kitty cat.
As for hummingbirds, there are 338 species, and these tiny sweethearts are tropical and subtropical birds. Though they are found only in the Americas, you’ll find fewer species in those colder, higher latitudes.
The book, Hummingbirds and their Flowers, sited an interesting study, watching a male hummingbird’s activity. It noted that its’ “active time”, which was 12 hours and 52 minutes, was spent doing four things: Perching — nectar flights — catching insects — and defending its’ territory.
But check this out – it also mentioned:
The nectar secretions of about 1022 Fuchsia blossoms can supply the hummingbirds daily needs.
Wow! That’s a lot of blossoms!!! However, relative to their body weight, they must consume enormous amounts of food each day.
If you want to learn more, as I do, there are some excellent field guides available. If you want to learn more about them, and their quirkiness, the book, The Secret Lives of Hummingbirds looks interesting.
Here are some interesting facts from the Hummingbird Society:
- Adult males often display iridescent plumage, rarely females (sexual dimorphism).
- Their feet are tiny and not well suited for walking but well designed for perching
- It is illegal to possess a hummingbird, feather, nest or any part of it without a permit.
- Hummingbirds migrate in the fall or spring at a time determined by genetic programming.
How to Attract Hummingbirds
According to the Hummingbird Society, if you want to attract hummingbirds to your garden and have them returning each year, you’ll have to supply them with what they need and want.
The check list includes: water for bathing, as they get very sticky from the nectar and bathe frequently. Placing nesting material near a feeder to hopefully attract female hummingbirds to nest near you. And, spoiling them by giving them good food supplies – their favorite flowers and or supplying them with nectar (sugar water) with a hummingbird feeder. Read the reviews of some popular
hummingbird feeders. Also, you can buy hummingbird nectar, although it’s very easy to make your own with sugar and water. Here’s a nectar recipe with photos.
Flowering Plants Hummingbirds Love :
This list of flowers is not even close to complete. Certainly check with your local plant nurseries to find out what’s bests in your area. But here are some good ones to get you started:
- Kniphofia species
Love to hear some hummingbird stories and see some of your photos. What plants do they love in your garden? Let us know in the comments below, so we can post below and share with others. 🙂