Did you know that one hummingbird will visit an average of 1000 flowers per day for nectar? That’s incredible! These visitors delightfully flit around our gardens arriving each spring as they migrate. Fun fact: The Rufous Hummingbird travels the farthest north of any other starting in Mexico and traveling all the way to Alaska. In Chicagoland we typically see the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird and they also migrate the long distance from Mexico to our neck of the woods.
Because of their high metabolism, these jewel-like birds need to eat almost constantly. They can eat a half to 8 times their body weight in one day! Using their narrow beaks and grooved tongue they lap up nectar. Occasionally they will dine on insects, so be careful of your pesticide use.
Hummingbirds see ultraviolet light and head for masses of their favorite color—red, but they also like orange or blue tubular flowers. The plants listed below are among hummingbirds’ favorites. While reds dominate the list, there are plenty of other colors suggested to allow a varied planting. Choose a wide variety of plants that bloom at different times and plant them in drifts for easy foraging. This will ensure an good supply of nectar from spring to fall. Best of all, hummingbirds are attracted by many of the same plants that butterflies like.
Ceanothus americanus/New Jersey Tea
Iris shrevei/Blue Flag Iris
Silene regia/Royal Catchfly
Silphium laciniatum/Compass Plant
Annual Salvias like 'Black and Blue' 'Wendy's Wish'
Trees & Shrubs
Rose of Sharon
You may also choose to put out a nectar feeder. To make nectar, add one cup of sugar to four cups of boiling water. Stir until sugar dissolves, cool the solution and fill your feeders. The solution may be refrigerated up to one week. Change the nectar and scrub the feeder every three to five days to prevent mold growth and fermentation.
Posted on 7/9/2015 at 12:10:00 PM