Hummingbird - Infrared

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In our world of flowers and plants, we sometimes forget just how much Mother Nature is the boss in all aspects of flora and fauna. How flowers and plants and their relationships with animals and us affect our world. From fruit and vegetable production to erosion control, plants and animals are the essential part of the building blocks of life on this planet. WOW! That sounds quite heavy, but oh, so true. We need to understand the relationship between us and the important role that flowers, plants, bees, birds, bats, insects and animals play in our well being and the health of our world. One such character is the amazing hummingbird and the relationship they have with the plants they love.

Lantana

Lantana

Our friend, the hummingbird, can fly forward, hover and then fly backwards and is the only bird that can. They weigh less than a penny; fly 500 miles non-stop from Mexico and Central America and thousands more miles to reach their destinations. Their tiny hearts can reach 1,200 beats a minute. They have the highest metabolism of all animals and are always on the brink of starvation. Their daily search of nectar is vital and they visit hundreds of flowers to feed. Placing feeders certainly is appreciated, but planting flowers is the best solution to helping our little friend.

Hummingbirds revisit a route they follow year in and year out, this practice is called “traplining.” If you establish a garden of beautiful plants they will be lured to you and return. Red is their favorite color. Orange and purple seem a close second and third. They will hang around all summer, raise a few eggs and leave in the late summer or early fall.

Trumpet Honeysuckle

Trumpet Honeysuckle

So, plan your “hummer garden” carefully with some plants I’ll suggest. The huge bonus is, butterflies are attracted to the same plants — who could ask for more? A side note: the use of pesticides around our tiny friends is not cool, so be safe and natural.

Trees and shrubs hummingbirds love:

  • Azalea
  • Butterfly bush
  • Flowering quince
  • Lantana
  • Weigela
  • Red buckeye
Columbine

Columbine

Vines hummingbirds love:

  • Honeysuckle
  • Morning glory
  • Trumpet creeper
  • Scarlet runner bean

Perennials they dig:

  • Bee balm
  • Cannas
  • Cardinal flower
  • Coneflower
  • Columbine (my state’s flower)
  • Coral bells
  • Four o’clocks
  • Foxglove
  • Agastache
  • Lupine
  • Penstemon
  • Yucca

Hummingbirds will be your new best friends if you supply these annuals:

Fuchsia

Fuchsia

  • Fuchsia
  • Impatiens
  • Petunias
  • Salvias
  • Shrimp plant

Attracting hummingbirds to your garden can make for a pleasant summer, and create an adventure for kids and adults alike. Share the story of the hummingbird and their relationships and flight plans with your friends and family. If you want to know more about hummingbirds, check out www.hummingbirds.net, and my friends at the Colorado State University have facts on attracting butterflies.

Petunia

Petunia

Tell me, what plants in your garden do hummingbirds and butterflies like? What other birds and animals do you enjoy attracting to your garden? Please share your experiences.