First Time Trying to Atract Hummers

davesselsMarch 29, 2014

This year I am in the process of planting a garden for Hummers, having good luck last year with the bees and butterfiles. But it is in the process, so nothing is blooming yet. I purchased two Hummingbird feeders that I am going to put out next week with a small amount of syrup in them. Does anyone know when I might expect some Hummingbirds in zone 6 of the Panhandle of Texas to attract? The phrase "If you build it they will come", comes to mind, but living in the Texas Panhandle for 20 years, I have seen very few. I have a large amount of seed wintersowing, plus many plants I have ordered online, but nothing blooming yet. Thanks, Deb

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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

There are probably more hummingbirds in your area than you realize, Deb, although it's probably too early in the season for you to see any now. If you hang a feeder, those in the area will undoubtedly find it, and you'll have the joy of watching a hummer(s)!

You can make sugar water easily with a ratio of 4:1 or 3:1 water to sugar. Just bring a cup of water to a boil in a clean pan, add 1/4 - 1/3 cup sugar, stir it until its well dissolved, let it cool, and when it is room temperature, put it in the clean feeder and hang the feeder. DO NOT BUY THAT RED HUMMINGBIRD FOOD THEY SELL IN STORES! That stuff should be against the law, since the red dye has been shown to hurt hummingbirds.
Some people don't boil the water first, so I guess it's alright.

You could also plant flowers that hummingbirds like, like most any type of salvia (they especially love Salvia guaranitica and its cultivars), honeysuckle, and turk's cap/Malvaviscus drummondii.

According to my bird book, black chinned hummingbirds are the ones that breed in the Texas panhandle.

Good luck!


    Bookmark   March 29, 2014 at 5:58PM
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Thank you misssherry,
I grew up in Southern New Mexico, and my Mother was an avid Hummingbird feeder/watcher. I will not put red color in my feeders!
I will have a feeder on the east side of the house and one on the west, where I have lots of plants for butterflies, but will be adding more for them and the hummers. I have some huge red Cannas that I think they will like, Cardinal flower, cardinal vine, Salvia, but will be looking for the Black and Blue, as it seems highly recommended. I have tons of Daylilies all around. My main concern is the wind we have here. If I were a hummer I think I would avoid the Panhandle. I see from the map that the Ruby Throated hummers are just east and south of me last week. I am sure they probably get blown to the Northeast from now on as our winds are from the
Southeast. LOL But you never know, so I will keep and eye for them as well.
I will let you know how I do. Debra

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 12:03PM
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Hi there....there are many of you who plant flowers, gardens, and successfully attract hummers, but I promise, there is nothing like feeders. I have just a few hummer loving plants, but many feeders, gradually increasing the number of feeders as the season progresses. By late Aug/Sept., there will be hundreds swarming around! And I've never observed the wind being detrimental to them. The feeders will definitely attract them, probably before flowers and plants reach maturity.

    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 3:38PM
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misssherry(Z8/9SE MS)

Hundreds of hummers? Where do you live to get so lucky, donnalovesblue? I've got at least two males and two females now, and by summer, I usually get a lot more, but never hundreds!

Debra, I included the information about the stuff they sell in stores, because I never know whether somebody's a newbie or what.

I'm seeing and hearing those hummers everywhere I go outside, now, so I may have more than four.


    Bookmark   March 30, 2014 at 8:22PM
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A lot of hummers should be passing your way from mexico and cental america as hummers are moving north for breeding purposes and Im also guessing you will see many in late summer as the move back down. You may even have some winter guests. But I agree even up here hummers will use the feeders when they first arrive as we wont have any plants in bloom at that time. It will be june before my I have any in bloom. Even buying plants from stores to give them something never seems to work for me. So I keep feeders clean and fresh every 3 days or so. Good luck with your hummers.


    Bookmark   March 31, 2014 at 11:19AM
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misssherry, I understood what you were saying, my Mom always added red food coloring to her sugar, not knowing it was not necessary. I will definitely be putting out 4 feeders this week, one for each side of the house. In a different zone and climate I am a newbie at this. But determined to attract some hummers this year. I hope I will be camera ready!
Donnalovesblue, yes, I agree, I will not have anything in bloom until summer, so knowing me I will have a dozen feeders out by the middle of summer, once I see just one.
hummersteve, I will keep everyone posted on my sightings, and I will be sure to keep my feeders fresh.
Thanks for the replies, all will not be lost, I know I can attract bees and butterflies with all of the flowers, a hummingbird will just be a huge bonus.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2014 at 10:44PM
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March issue of Accents West magazine published in Amarillo has an article on attracting hummingbirds in the Texas Panhandle. Canyon's Edge Plants in Canyon grows lots of hummingbird favorites that are very well adapted to Panhandle growing conditions. They will be opening for the spring season on April 10.

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 2:00PM
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Thank you plainsman50,
I am familiar with the Canyons Edge Plants website. It has great information. I will have to make a trip down to see what they have. I will look for the magazine, or see if I can find the article online. I did read a very old article about a woman in Amarillo that has been feeding Hummingbirds there for 20 years, she has recorded some not thought to ever be seen in this area. Thanks again, Debra

    Bookmark   April 5, 2014 at 6:24PM
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Hi Debra and welcome to the joy of feeding and watching hummingbirds! I plant flowers that attract them - Lady in Red salvia and Coral Nymph salvia. I also feed them - never store food and never add food coloring! I mix up my own nectar. During migration times I use 1 cup of water to 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. Most of the time I use 1 cup of hot water to 1/4 cup of granulated sugar. I do not boil the water or the sugar. I've tried it both ways and it seems to make no difference in the number of birds I get.

Let us know when you start getting them.

    Bookmark   April 10, 2014 at 2:44PM
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Thanks all for the advice. I have four feeders out, all sides of the house, not too much nectar, but it is there, as I will be changing it often. I haven't seen any yet, but then who can watch four feeders all day. The new butterfly/hummingbird garden is planted, except for the cardinal vine and Hollyhocks. I may to restart some seeds as I only had one Hollyhock sprout. The herb garden is planted with fresh dill and parsley, I am ready, just need sun and water to make everything grow. In the meantime, I will diligently make fresh nectar, what's a little sugar cost next to seeing hummingbirds and such! Thanks all, Debra

    Bookmark   April 11, 2014 at 8:27PM
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Debra, I am in east central Miss. and have enjoyed hummers for many years. By the time August arrives, I will have total of 12 feeders up, so they keep me busy. Every year I say I am going to decrease the number of feeders, but guess what! Doesn't happen! By that time, I am cleaning out the grocery store of sugar!!!! I hope it's a wonderful season for every one!

    Bookmark   April 12, 2014 at 10:37AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Cardinal vine is a slow starter, but a great plant. In the fall, cardinals and chickadees come for the seed, a wonderful thing.

    Bookmark   April 19, 2014 at 12:08PM
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Right now, the plants I've seen them going to are Coral Honeysuckle, penstemons and salvias. Mostly they visit the feeder, however.

    Bookmark   April 20, 2014 at 1:12AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Debra, have you had any more visits?

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 3:25PM
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mehitalbel, no I have not. but. I did see one at the local nursery when I was purchasing a Black Night Butterfly Bush and a Major Wheeler Honeysuckle last week. I know they are out there, but I still have nothing blooming for them. I have planted everything possible that I have room for, plus my feeders are clean and filled with fresh nectar. I am putting my energy into July, I should have tons of blooms for them on their return visit. I am just pleased that I had one come by for a short visit. Now I am watching for the Black Swallow Tail to leave some eggs on my dill plants, like they did last year.
I am keeping up with your posts, I hope you get some to stay for a while. We have seriously had 30-40mph winds for a week or more, can't imagaine a tiny hummingbird wanting tp hang for a bit. LOL I hope your weather has been better. I will let you know if I see another.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 7:49PM
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I live in Arizona and lucky us. we have hummers all year. My hubby makes his own nectar, 4 to 1, and boils it, when it's cool, fills feeder and keeps remainder in jug in fridge. We don't use that jug for anything else. What I've noticed over 20 years of feeding, keep your hummer feeders a distance from other bird feeders. For expample, dont' have the hummer feeder on the window and feed wild birds on the ground below it. I read of a strange idea a few years ago. People were making giant red "flower" shapes with red plastic tablecloths and putting them in their yards to attract hummers. Lost the site and didn't find out if it worked. I hope it did. As long as your feeder has some red, not the nectar, they'll find it. May take awhile, but they'll keep coming back once they know it's there. I hope you see some soon, and enjoy it as much as we do. :)

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:08PM
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Here in the DFW area I usually see my first one about Mid April. Numbers increase in May, then July and Aug are our peak times.

Usually Labor Day Weekend is the last of the hummer wars. After that I'll see one or two every few days. By the end of Oct I'm not seeing any at all. Thanksgiving I take the feeders down and throw the poppy seeds out.

I tend to see mostly black chin, sometimes its a ruby. Neither of these will share a feeder for me.
The only time I've seen hummers sharing is down in the Hill Country. If you get some of those hummers maybe they'll share at your place?

I've had lots of visits today to both the feeders and my native coral honeysuckle. Don't have anything else blooming that they like. There are tons of bugs for them though.
By July I'll have a yard full of both bugs and blooms.

Good luck building your hummer haven **** and **** getting them to claim it their own.

    Bookmark   April 28, 2014 at 8:13PM
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I found recipe for a consecrated sugar mix that you can keep in the fridge and add with water but lost the numbers. Anyone know?

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 8:14AM
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mehitabel(z6 MO)

Els, most people use 4 water to 1 sugar, but you can use 3:1, 2:1 or even 1:1.

Lots of nectar plants have 3:1, so that's what I use.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2014 at 10:02AM
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