Hummingbirds are among the tiniest bird species living in the Pacific Northwest. Hummingbird’s tiny wings move so quickly that they often make a humming noise – hence the name. Hummingbirds are not social birds and the males can be very aggressive when defending their territory against other males. Females can be aggressive when defending their nests. Even with this unsocial behavior, they are lovely to observe and most gardeners want to attract them.
Many gardens are devoted entirely to attracting hummingbirds. Hummingbirds have excellent memories. If you provide a welcoming hummingbird garden, they will return year after year.
Follow these easy steps to create your own hummingbird garden:
- Incorporate plants that attract hummingbirds into your garden. Hummingbirds have a poorly developed sense of smell; they rely on their eyesight. Plants that attract them have bright flowers and red is probably the most popular. Some common plants that are attractive to hummingbirds include:
- Red Flowering Currant (Hummingbirds arrive in my garden as soon as this shrub’s flowers open. Please visit my blog, How to Propagate a Red Flowering Currant, for information on how to easily increase these shrubs at no cost.)
- Boxwood (Boxwood’s little flowers may not be noticeable to humans, but hummingbirds in my garden flock to them.)
- Butterfly Bush
- Coral Bells
- Trumpet Creeper
- Plant dense shrubs and trees for hummingbirds to build nests in. Hummingbirds also eat tree sap and insects so planting trees and shrubs provides natural sources of these important dietary elements.
- Install a water fountain. Hummingbirds are attracted to spraying water, not birdbaths.
- Offer perching opportunities with clotheslines or string. Hummingbirds spend about 80% of their time perching, not flying. Hummingbirds cannot walk; their feet are designed only for perching.
- Provide a hummingbird feeder.
- Hang fluorescent ribbon in your garden. Hummingbirds are attracted to bright colours and will visit these ribbons to check them out. My father has a hot-pink nylon belt that he wears hiking and the hummingbirds will fly right up to his waist believing the belt is a flower!
Interesting fact: The smallest bird on earth is the Bee Hummingbird native to Cuba. It is only about 5.7cm long so it truly is not much larger than a bee.
The Canadian Wildlife Federation is a good source of information on hummingbirds and other BC bird species.