Hummingbirds in SE Pennsylvania?

bella_trix(z6b SE PA)June 25, 2006

I just moved from Brisbane, California to Pottstown, Pennsylvania. What are my chances for getting hummers? Do you only see them as they migrate through the area or do they stick around for the summer?

I drove across the US with cuttings of my favorite hummingbird plants, so I'm hoping that PA hummers have similar taste to CA hummers. Any suggestions on the best plants for this area? Tricks and techniques for bringing potted plants (salvia, mexican lobelia) inside for the winter? I currently having an argument with my mother about why I should plant a mimosa tree at my new house. She thinks "junk tree", I think "hummingbird magnet"

I don't know what I'll do if I never see hummingbirds again. I just love them!



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Hi Bella,
Welcome to SEPA! You will see hummers here but only Ruby Throats. They do stay here and raise their young. Here is a video link to someone from Collegeville, PA with a female on her nest.
I have three females right now visiting my yard and my feeders. I really just started trying to get them to visit this year although I do see them each year I didn't see them as often as now. I got a few hummer plants. I will try to overwinter my B&B salvia in the garage this year. From what I hear you cut it back but leave some stems and the roots, then cover it and water it very occassionally so it doesn't dry out too much but it supposedly doesn't like "wet feet". I will do the same with a snowfire fuschia that I have and my gartenmeister fuchsias will overwinter on my sunporch. I was able to collect seed from the S. B&B so that is a little insurance for now cause they love that one! I did have a male for the month of May but have'nt seen him since the first of June. All others have just flown by in early spring for the migration and the southern migration will be towards the end of Aug.

Oh, here is that video link.....

you may have to cut and paste cause I'm not sure how to make it link on this site. :)

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 7:00PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Pottstown is about 30 or so miles west of Philadelphia and there are definitely hummers all around this area. I get them in the city and they are residential! The primary hummer here is the Ruby-throated, although we'll see occassional western migrants like Rufous/Allen's and other exotics who somehow manage to get over this far.

Many of us are growing plants that are tender here but not in California or more southern areas and will either grow them as annuals, save seeds, take cuttings, or just winter the whole plant indoors. I have a couple Salvia coccineas (incl. 'Lady in Red'), elegans, & guaraniticas ('Black and Blue', which is marginal here although some have been able to overwinter it in the ground with lots of mulch and good drainage). I tried overwintering B&B outside in its container last winter in a protected spot. However I think the one cold spell that we got in December (temp went down to ~12° F) may have done it in along with it being a bit too moist. I may just trying bring the whole thing in my cool bedroom this winter.

I have always liked mimosas (grew up with one), but as an alternate, if you can find it, they like the blooms of the red buckeye (a horsechestnut).

Some other things that I have that they have nectared from include Jacob Cline monarda, 'Red Prince' weigela (as well as 'Wine & Roses'), red-flowered heucheras, dianthus, agastache (I've had both 'Tutti Fruiti' and now A. rupestris), scarlet runner beans, and cypress vine. I still have some things left to bloom - eg., crocosmia 'Lucifer', hyacinth bean vine, sweet peas, and some other salvias. They have ignored my pentas and my penstemon so far (although the penstemon is just starting to bloom).

If I were you getting started, put up a feeder definitely and check through the forum to see what others are growing. Chances are that you'll see a definite overlap of plants - whether hardy or tender or even subtropical or tropical (I had a hummer nectar from my Stephanotis last year). There are also a number of hardy salvias and agastaches that you could plant that they will use through summer until frost.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 7:11PM
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pinwheel(SE PA)

Hi Bellatrix,

I'm in the West Chester area. I usually see ruby throated hummers in July, when bee balm is in bloom.

I don't know what variety I have, since it was given to me from a neighbor's yard. It is sort of a raspberry-red color.

    Bookmark   June 25, 2006 at 7:30PM
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Welcome Bella!
I'm in Delaware Co, just west of Philly. I've seen Ruby throats here from late April to mid October, with the most sightings from June 21 to Labor Day. Natives for this area include Columbine (A. canadensis), Aesculus pavia, Monarda (sure fire in these parts), Lobelia cardinalis, Jewelweed (a native Impatiens), Lonicera sempervirens, and Campsis radicans. Other non natives (in addition to the good suggestions above) include Rose o'Sharon (Hardy Hibiscus), Hollyhock, Coral Bells, Tithonia, Asclepias curassavica, Streptocarpella, Pachystachys, triphylla type Fuschias (such as Gartenmeister), and smaller flowered Cannas (such as 'Robert Kemp'). I try to take cuttings in late Summer of tender plants, but often end up just buying starts in the Spring. Mimosas can be a bit messy, and are sometimes a bit tender here, but if you have space and like them, they should also help to bring in the little guys.
Happy Hummingbird Hunting to you! :)

    Bookmark   June 26, 2006 at 12:12PM
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Do mother hummingbirds take their young to feeders?

    Bookmark   August 6, 2007 at 9:44AM
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Hello, I am dan, originally from Delaware County, but too close to the city to see hummingbirds. We just moved up to Lower Bucks area and while moving in, noticed one of the little creatures fly by my head. Now I'm hooked and have many questions. Do mothers bring their young to the same feeder that they use because I noticed one day, a female and two males at my feeder? I think the one male must have been older because they were being territorial, but not actually hurting one another.
Another question. Will sparrows scare hummingbirds from the feeder, if the sparrows' food is too close to the the nectar?

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   August 27, 2007 at 7:40PM
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We have hummingbirds from May through September in the Dover PA area. We have 2 feeders out and see the hummers all day.

Today we had some trees cut down and although it appears there were no nests in the trees that were cut, some trees were brushed by the trees as they went down and I am concerned that we may have dislodged some hummer nests even though I don't have any idea where they might be nesting.

Does anyone know when hummingbirds lay their eggs in this area? And how many times per season do they lay their eggs? Do they nest in trees or bushes?


    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Mimosa ARE hummer magnets! I have been at my current location for 3 years and have not planted any (south AR), yet. In 5 years they can be 20 feet or so. I have some on the front of this property. They are probably the only thing keeping me from having 3 times as many birds. It hasn't rained here in over 2 months, but I was at Walmart the other day and got to see hummers getting nectar from a Mimosa.

    Bookmark   July 7, 2011 at 4:40PM
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At 5:30pm A hummingbird that I believe to be a Ruby-throated hummingbird approached a red flowered plant on my porch, 4 feet from me in Glenside PA. I am not a bird watcher but I thought You would want to know.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2011 at 7:02PM
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I put in crocosmia in the fall, I've never grown them before, most of them died, I dug up the last 4 and put them in a pot trying to save them, it has been extremely hot here but I have watered well and often, what am I doing wrong?

    Bookmark   July 29, 2011 at 11:10PM
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