Hummingbirds: Jewels in the Yard
From their dazzling, iridescent colors to their needlelike bills and extraordinary flight, hummingbirds are among the most fascinating birds in the world. They have the ability to hover in midair while lapping nectar; they can also fly backwards, shift sideways and move straight up and down. Normal flight speed is 25 to 30 mph, but they can dive at speeds up to 60 mph. A strategically placed feeder or hanging basket will provide hours of entertainment watching their comical and territorial antics.
Plants do not have to be red to attract hummers; they will feed on numerous other color plants from gold lantana, to purple durantas. Nectar in a feeder is better for the birds if it is not colored as artificial coloring may at times be harmful to these tiny jewels. Nectar can easily be made with one part sugar to four parts water, boil for five minutes and allow to cool before filling the feeder. Feeders should be cleaned daily to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. Leaving a feeder up will not keep hummers from migrating as some, for unknown reasons, will stay in the area year round. Having the feeder out will insure food during the winter when there are no nectar-producing flowers blooming.
Hummers migrate through Texas twice yearly, in the spring and again in the fall, mostly Ruby Throated and Rufous (see pic above), but occasionally others drift off course and can be spotted here on the way to Central and South America. From birth to migration, it’s no wonder so many people are captivated by these flying jewels. They are amazing!