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Name: Tricia Tandle
Takoma Park, Ma
ttsiot4kids
Jun 23, 2018 4:31 PM CST
Hi:

I have planted the following flowers that are supposed to attract hummingbirds:
Hollyhock
Snapdragon
Columbines (Aquilegia)
Bleeding Heart
Foxglove
Gladiola
Coral Bells (Heuchera)
Daylilies (Hemerocallis)
Touch-Me-Not
Moon Vine
Torch Lilies (Kniphofia)
Cardinal Flower
Bee Balm
Petunias (Petunia)
Garden Nasturtiums (Tropaeolum majus)
Variety of wildflowers

In addition, I have six feeders in six different areas of the yard. I begin putting out and filling the feeders as soon as weather permits, usually end or April or beginning of May. I live in Maryland two miles from the Washington DC boarder.

I don't, however, have any hummingbirds in my yard until sometime in August. Even then, I get at the most one female and one male. How can I get more and have them earlier?

Thanks for your input.

Tricia
Name: Daisy I
Reno, Nv (Zone 6b)
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DaisyI
Jun 23, 2018 5:33 PM CST
Hummingbirds are migratory. They don't fly in flocks but do return to the same place on both ends of their migration. If the few hummingbirds were nesting in your yard, the group would slowly increase. What having just a couple return each year tells me is that you are not a destination but rather a stop over on their way to wherever they are going.
Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and proclaiming...."WOW What a Ride!!" -Mark Frost

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Name: James
Fabens,TX (Zone 8a)
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Txtea
Jun 23, 2018 9:08 PM CST
I wish I could send you of a few from my yard. Just with all the plants I have and 3 feeders, I am going through almost 10 lbs. of sugar every 10 days. But the temps here have been any where from 103 to 108 for days now. And for the past 4 weeks almost 100+ daily. So I guess poor little ones need a lot of fluid.
Name: greene
Savannah, GA (Sunset 28) (Zone 8b)
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greene
Jun 23, 2018 10:18 PM CST
My X-husband was crazy for feeding the hummers. Week in and week out he filled the feeders. I did not use feeders; only provided plants for the hummers and I had more visitors than he did.

One thing I learned. In addition to the flowering plants, the hummers like to have a certain size branch nearby so they can sit a spell. If you provide a place for them to perch they may stick around for a bit. It only needs to be a branch thin enough for their tiny feet; the branch should be fairly bare of foliage. There are also some fancy hummer perches available but really, any thin stick/branch/wire at a decent height where they can rest and feel safe would be fine. Thumbs up
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Name: Karen
New Mexico (Zone 7b)
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plantmanager
Jun 23, 2018 10:23 PM CST
I agree that having good perching places helps keep them around. We have a couple of pine trees near where I hang my feeders. When they're not actively feeding, they hang out in the trees. In between feeding, they all go back to the tree.
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Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Köppen climate classification Cfa
Region: South Carolina Native Plants and Wildflowers
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scvirginia
Jun 23, 2018 10:25 PM CST
Ruby-throats don't nest here, but travel through to and from their nesting sites, and I see juveniles and strays throughout the year.

The plants that interest hummers here are mostly natives- Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), Turk's Cap Mallow (Malvaviscus), Bee Balm (Monarda), Penstemon and Sage (Salvia). They really love most sages, whether native or not. I don't grow it yet, but Spigelia marilandica is supposed to be popular with Ruby-throats. You can tell by the name that it's native to MD. They like some non-natives, also... coleus is popular in late summer and fall.

It may help to remember that hummers are insectivores, so the nectar is nice, but if you don't have a good assortment of tasty bugs, they'll go where there are some. If you want a nesting RTH pair, they'll need a safe (no outdoor cats or other persistent predators) area to nest, and access to nectar, insects and spiders, and water.

https://www.audubon.org/conten...
http://www.rubythroat.org/Plan...

Good luck,
Virginia

PS In your area, male ruby-throats may be scouting for nesting sites earlier than you have your feeders out, so having plants blooming in late-March/early April could catch the eye of a bird in the market for a summer home.
[Last edited by scvirginia - Jun 23, 2018 10:29 PM (+)]
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Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
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BigBill
Jun 24, 2018 8:28 AM CST
You can have dozens and dozens and dozens of Hummingbird friendly plants blooming from late March through September and still not attract hummers!
There is more to it then that. You need suitable branches for resting, you need suitable sites for courtship display. The males use intricate courtship flights to compete with one another to attract females. They use those displays to impress females as well.
They need suitable cover with potential nesting sites. All of these things need to be close by, together. Hummingbirds can't afford to waste valuable energy flying from display areas to nest sites to feeding sites. The closer these areas are to one another, the more suitable the area becomes for successful nesting,
Otherwise your yard with all of its beautiful flowers becomes a "rest stop" along their migration routes.
The middle of suburbia might not be as attractive to them as an isolated home sitting on the edge of appropriate woodland.
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Name: Sue
Ontario, Canada (Zone 4b)
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sooby
Jun 24, 2018 8:40 AM CST
We have hummers here every year, starting at least as early as Pulmonaria flowering (which they utilize), but not a lot at any one time. The plants they seem to use most often are Nepeta 'Walker's Low' and they love hostas. But the absolute hummer magnet is Fuchsia 'Gartenmeister Bonstedt'. If we haven't got one out on the deck early enough in the year, we see the hummer out there looking for it and off to the garden centre to get some we go! One year it even looked as though the hummer was peering in the deck door - where's my plant Hilarious! I don't know that we'd ever get a lot at any one time, because only ruby-throats come here and I believe they're territorial (I did once see a major hummer squabble going with shrieks and dive-bombing at each other) but they're here every year.

Name: Virginia
Charleston, SC (Zone 8b)
Köppen climate classification Cfa
Region: South Carolina Native Plants and Wildflowers
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scvirginia
Jun 24, 2018 11:17 AM CST
Sue,
That looks a lot like my coral honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens) which is definitely the favorite for hummers when it's blooming. This photo is from March, so it's ready when they are.

Thumb of 2018-06-24/scvirginia/53a403

Virginia
[Last edited by scvirginia - Jun 24, 2018 11:18 AM (+)]
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Name: Tricia Tandle
Takoma Park, Ma
ttsiot4kids
Jun 24, 2018 7:01 PM CST
Thank you all for your answers. I do have the honeysuckle and bee balm. My hostas don't flower until late June. I will try to find the others that I don't have. I have noticed that hummingbirds like to "rest" on the branches of my weeping cherry tree (tall up to the second story of my house) on the thinner branches. That tree's branches are only about two feet from one feeder and four feet from another feeder. In my area, the weather is very "Iffy" for plants in the ground because we sometimes still have frosts (this year we still had them in April). That may also be why they don't nest/breed in this area. So I will try to have some blooming plants growing inside over the Winter to put on the deck during the day and bring in at night in March. I have watched the two I have chasing each other and laugh at their maneuvers. At least I get to enjoy them for the few months in the fall where they stick around.

GiddyBang
Jul 3, 2019 4:16 PM CST
Hydrophobic hummingbirds? My hummingbirds appear to have absolutely no interest in water, and I'm not sure what to do because live in a desert. I have three fountains and a mister, and they could care less. I have followed every instruction I can find about watering them, and they don't work.

I put the mister on the bottlebrush tree where the long leaves would drip, and while the hummingbirds stopped visiting the tree while it was on, the tiny Lucy's Warblers loved it.

I put the mister in several other places, all day long, and they just avoid it.

I wrapped the mister in red ribbon and bows, which the hummingbirds attempt to drink nectar from...as long as the mister is off.

I made a shallow bath out of a red platter, put yellow flowers in it, and a bubbling solar fountain, placed it by their favorite feeder, but they ignore it.

I'm all out of ideas, and it's over 100 degrees. Any help?
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jul 3, 2019 4:27 PM CST
Hummingbirds feed on nectar. Which as we know is a sweet syrupy liquid. They do not really require water. Except perhaps to take a bath.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!

GiddyBang
Jul 3, 2019 4:30 PM CST
I know that, but they look so cute when they're bathing, and everything I've read says they need to clean the sticky off of their bills and feathers.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jul 3, 2019 4:46 PM CST
These people who claim that Hummingbirds need to clean the stickiness off their bills, how do they know that? To me it is just speculation.
I would think that any type of water be it bird bath, dish, man made contraption is scary to them. They are so tiny, they operate on instinct, they can't reason that a particular bit of water is safe.
I think that they might rely on showers, rain, morning dews dripppng from trees, etc.
I would think that if they perceive stickiness, they just use their tongues and "lick" it off.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!

GiddyBang
Jul 3, 2019 5:05 PM CST
Those people would be the Audubon Society and the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, so I'm going to go ahead and trust their years of scientific research on the matter.
Name: Big Bill
Livonia, Michigan (Zone 6a)
American Orchid Society Judge
Region: United States of America Critters Allowed Growing under artificial light Echinacea Hostas Region: Michigan
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BigBill
Jul 3, 2019 5:40 PM CST
Then why not ask Cornell what to do? We are a bunch of plant growers, we have all types of experience with plants, some with orchids, some with aquaculture, some with house plants, some with succulents, some with animals and some with birds. My suggestion is to ask Audubon if Cornell can't help you.
When you grow orchids, it is all about the ROOTS!!!
Name: Tricia Tandle
Takoma Park, Ma
ttsiot4kids
Jul 5, 2019 1:11 PM CST
Thank you all for your messages. Three days ago I saw a very tiny male fly from my BeeBalm to the feeder but haven't see him since. I believe those of you who suggested my area is just a stop-over during migration because I see them most at mid-July and sometimes into September. I have placed all of my feeders near places that provide small branches Weeping Chair tree and very tall Lilac bushes (twice bloomers-spring and late summer). The hummingbirds like to sit on the taller branchs and I take pictures of them in those positions. One of my favorite pictures is one in profile outlined by the sinking sun so the bird is dark, looking like an old Victorian cut-out. I didn't know they like Colues, so I will put some out before the birds return.

Again, Thank you all for your replies.
Northwest US zone 8
LK99
Jul 5, 2019 7:19 PM CST
I guess nobody asked THESE hummingbirds whether they liked to bath and play in water:

Go to YouTube and search for: Hummingbirds Bathing in the NEW "Tabletop Hummingbird Bath"

:-)

ps GiddyBang, it sounds like you're doing everything you can. Not all hummingbirds migrate. Some, once they find a favorite place with ample food and shelter, will stay all year but, as others have mentioned, they need all their needs met in one place. If you keep this up long enough, you'll get some who stick with you.
[Last edited by LK99 - Jul 5, 2019 7:33 PM (+)]
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Name: Carol
Santa Ana, ca
Sunset zone 22, USDA zone 10 A.
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ctcarol
Jul 5, 2019 8:35 PM CST
I doubt any hummers stay year round in Ma., but they do love to play in water. Mine fight over the bird bath fountain as much as the feeders. I keep feeders year round, as I have hummers year round. They are very territorial, and will run off any others , male or female, but where water is concerned they love anything short of a deluge. Maybe it's because other birds take dust baths to eliminate mites, but hummers will play in the rain or sprinklers if they don't have access to a bath.
Northwest US zone 8
LK99
Jul 5, 2019 8:46 PM CST
ctcarol said, "I doubt any hummers stay year round in Ma." Good point - I didn't notice where ttsiot4kids was from and actually responded to GiddyBang (sorry about that). Yes, I'm in an area where they can choose to stay year round and frequently do as well. MA is probably too cold. NOTHING is more precious than watching hummers playing in the water (except maybe watching my grandkids)!

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