I have a question

Protego(9)August 1, 2014

Good week to you!

I'm not getting an answer on a different message board. Currently I have a feeder only. Is there anything else I can provide/help the 3 local humming bird species out with? Thank you! I have no idea how likely they are to build like a nest near a house. And I don't have trees in my small back yard currently.

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CA Kate

If you can plant flowering Salvias they would love that. I've recently found several large, ready-to-plant, already flowering Salvias for my yard. Any flower with a small tube is good too.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2014 at 11:13PM
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There are some great ideas here:


Also they really like running water, a little recirculating fountain or birdbath is a good idea for all birds!
Mine like native california fuchsia best:



    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 12:11AM
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iris_gal(z9 CA)

Mine love the tall (4 ft.) Salvia 'Indigo Spires'. Not as willing to dip down to the shorter salvias.

They adore the Buddleia!!! I hate its disfiguring dead blooms. Requires strong pruning yearly. Mine grows 12-15 feet. A small tree. It's for the birds.

They also love the Grevillea 'Canberra' which I didn't realize grows to 12 feet. Its needles are sharp. Love it.

In partial shade they come to the kitchen window to feed from the red Abutilon (Japanese False Maple). It reaches 8 feet here. Easily cut back. They are more attracted to the red than the pink or yellow.

If you put in hummingbird-loving shrubs they make your garden part of their route. Last evening one even came to check me out. Must have been wearing red.

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 3:26AM
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The hummingbirds seem to love my Winifred Gilman sage, which has a dark purple flower and is a variety of cleveland sage. I've tried a number of autumn sages, but Winifred Gilman seems much easier to grow and won't get huge. Hummingbirds also go crazy for agastache. They also seem to like grevillea, penstemon, and several trees including Callistemon viminalis, melaleuca, and Vitex agnus-castus (which a variety of butterflies also like). After killing a variety of autumn sages, I've had good success with a native desert penstemon (Penstemon baccharifolius) which has a red flower and has done well in hot, dry spots (and pots).

As for nesting, we had a hummer nest in a birch tree, and was invisible because the nest was tiny and her brown/gray color matched the color of the bark. Apparently, they like the branches on a tree to fork just so. We didn't even know she was there until she started dive-bombing us whenever we came near, so we stopped going to that part of the yard until the fledglings left. There's someone who's developed a "platform" that you can buy which can encourage them to nest.

Here is a link that might be useful: Hummingbird nesting platform

    Bookmark   August 2, 2014 at 11:10PM
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hoosierquilt USDA 10A Sunset 23 Vista CA

They love Cleveland sage (many different salvias are visited by hummers as previous folks have mentioned, you can plant several different varieties that will bloom at different times all year 'round. ' Amistad' salvia is particularly attractive to hummers, Pineapple Sage blooms in the winter), Aloes (probably the most prized bymy hummers), Lantana, California Fuschia, Cape Fuschia, Penstemon (any color, but reds and purples will attact them faster), Bottlebrush (Callistemon), Grevillea ('Robyn Gordon', 'Marshall Olbricht', 'Red Hooks', 'Noel' & 'Coastal Gem', 'Scarlet Sprite' are some that come to mind. Any cultivar with large red or orange flowers. My Grevillea are ALWAYS frequented by hummers, especially in the evening),Ceanothus (darker colored cultivars such as 'Dark Star'), Iochroma cyaneum (I love this tree, the flowers are spectacular in color), Cupea ignea, Perovskia (Russian Sage), Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis), Abutilons, Ipomoea quamoclit, Pentas,Zauschneria,Trumpet honeysuckle, Melaleuca, and even my Agapanthus and citrus tree blossoms get visited. This is what I have growing in my yard (and more, just can't think of everything at the moment).

Set out several feeders in different areas of your yard. Do not color the water. Use a 4:1 water to sugar mix. Bring to a boil, then let cool. Store extra in the refrigerator. Hummers get very territorial, and will "stake out" a feeder in the summer, keeping other hummers away. I probably have 10 different feeders throughout my yard. Buy feeders with perches, as long as you do not have cats that roam your yard (I ask my gardening friends to keep their house cats in the house, they are the number 1 predator of song birds in the USA, including hummers. House cats should be just that - in the house). Position your feeders near any of the above plants. You'll end up with lots and lots of hummers year 'round. My Annas are here all year 'round, with another contingent of migratory Anna's that show back up here in February. In February/March, I will see my Costas and Black-Chinned will also show up about this time, hang around for about 3 months, then mosey on. It may take up to a month, possibly more for hummers to get used to your feeders, so patience is a virtue, but they WILL come, and they will provide you hours of entertainment. Hummers are surprising un-picky when it comes to nesting. I have nests everywhere - in my tree roses, my bougainvilleas, fruit trees, on the handle of a shovel (that was fun - had to buy a new shovel that year), my tree hibiscus (dive bombing issues due to being directly above our two pool lounge chairs - daughter thought they were "out to get her", lol), Oleanders, etc. Often/mostly at eye-level, but as surfcity mentioned, VERY hard to find, they a well camouflaged. I usually find out because I start to get dive bombed, if I'm hanging out too long near a nest.

Here are some links for you that will help to garden for hummers. It is SO much fun, plus the great bonus is you'll have a yard FULL of gorgeous, blooming plants, most of which are very drought tolerant.





Lastly, try putting up feeders to attract other birds as well. It makes all birds feel more comfortable and welcomed. Try putting up Lesser Goldfinch feeders with Niger seed. Provide a water source if possible (running water is preferred over a bird bath). And, lots of cover for birds to flock to and hide in if necessary. My yard is a certified wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation, and it is so much fun to see all the wildlife that is attracted to my yard. Very worthwhile, and you will get so much out of making your yard more attractive to your hummers!

Good luck, and let us know how you make out!

Patty S.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2014 at 8:11PM
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