Hummingbirds in Florida?

SnickerKitten(Z9b FL)July 11, 2005

Ok, I've lived in Florida for 20 years now and have NEVER seen a hummingbird. However, every garden center has tons of hummingbird feeders and nectar. Am I missing out? If I plant more hummingbird attracting plants will I start seeing hummingbirds here in Orlando?


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I know there are people on this forum from Florida but I am not sure if it's near Orlando I think they live in North florida but there is someone near fort lauderdale that gets them but at different times of the year hopefully one of them will answer your question as I'm not sure where they are. Sarah

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 10:42PM
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You sure will! I'm in Valrico, 15 min outside of Tampa and I see them. Right now, I currently have several visiting, but I have to look for them constantly. Today my daughter got a thrill as we were working in the garden, one that we had been observing visited just a few feet from us.

They seem to love my cigar plant the most, although I have planted many others just to attract them. The cigar plant was purchased on ebay, it came as three small sticks and grew from there. They are about 4 feet in height and I believe that is as tall as they get.

Right now is a good time to pick up what is called a firecracker plant from Lowes, Home Depot and possibly Walmart. They grow into large shrubs and will alert the hummingbirds for miles that you are there. My hummers may be visiting those plants, I just don't see them from the view I have.

I haven't had any luck with the feeders lately, maybe because there are plenty of plants to choose from, I don't know; I know I had seen them there in the past.
Good luck, today I wached one for about 10 minutes, loving every minute of it.

    Bookmark   July 11, 2005 at 11:10PM
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Lee lives just north of Orlando, he can answer your questions for you.
He has hummers sometime but i'm not sure how many or how frequent.

A good friend of mine also lives north of Orlando and she always had several hummers.
They loved a vine that she called a jasmine, it had lots of white sweet smelling flowers on it.
It looked like an Autumn Clematis to me but I don't know anything about flowers in Florida.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:07AM
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SnickerKitten(Z9b FL)

Thank you, Kathy!
I've looked at firecracker plants a few times and kept putting them back down, should have taken one home.

I have a Mexican Firebush which has semi similar flowers on it to the firecracker but extremely different foliage.

My poor husband doesn't know what to do right now, I used to just take in orphan kittens and now I've got a kitchen full of caterpillars and I'm digging holes all over the place and loving on all these green babies. Now he's going to have to deal with me trying to get hummingbirds to come visit.

I'll just tell him I'm trying to attract them for the kitties to have something to watch


    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:09AM
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Welcome to the forum. Only problem with the kitties is that they might try to catch them a hummer for dinner.

I have found that in planting all the hummingibrd plants I have also added all these beautiful butterflies to my yard. I don't do the caterpiller rainsing thing though. I have tried to plant host plants do they can do their own thing and it sure seems to be working.

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 11:16AM
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SnickerKitten(Z9b FL)

The kitties can try to catch a hummer for dinner all they want but until they learn to open the front door for themselves they're not going to have much luck ;)
I do the caterpillar thing. Well, sort of. My FRIEND looks for caterpillar eggs all the time and brings them to me for *me* to raise and then expects me to call her when I'm letting them go. HA!

I have several jasmines so if hummingbirds like them then hopefully they'll find me soon. I'll have to look into the firecrackers again. I have this thing against ornamental grasses (called "I picked up an ornamental grass to move it and it had a pound of ants trying to escape the flood on it") and firecrackers look an awful like ornamental grasses to me. BUT I wanna see hummingbirds. I like birds.... I LOVE birds, but all we get around here are the cocky sandhill cranes and a bald eagle. Boo hoo, eh?

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 7:15PM
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Nothing wrong with that I've never seen a sandhill crane in person. I have seen bald eagles that's neat! Sarah

    Bookmark   July 12, 2005 at 9:10PM
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SnickerKitten(Z9b FL)

The sandhill's are real pretty and neat to watch... but they can have real attitudes. My friend was on her way over one time and one was standing in the middle of the road so she sat there for a few minutes, honked her horn at it, tried moving forward very slowly to see if she could herd it out of her way, etc. Finally she got out of the car to try to shoo it away and it finally deigned to notice her but still didn't move till it was good and ready to.

She got to my house and was shocked when my husband and I told her how lucky she had been. You really don't want to get out of the car to try to shoo these guys away. They can turn pretty dang aggressive.


    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 10:01AM
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Really I had no idea Do you see whooping cranes too? I always thought the sandhill cranes looked so elegant in pictures. Sarah

    Bookmark   July 13, 2005 at 2:47PM
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I,too, am wondering about getting hummers where I am at here on the east coast of Florida near Vero Beach. I've never seen a single hummer in the almost 40 years I have lived in Florida. I would sure like to read a post from someone who lives in the central east coast regions of Florida. I have planted a LOT of flowering plants and a few small trees over the last couple years that I was told attract hummers, but I've yet to see one. I have a feeder but have not put it out this year. Gave up after trying for months last year after a no-show from any hummers! I did see one of those moths that are often mistaken for hummers. But that's about as close as I've gotten to seeing anything remotely close to being a hummer!

The garden centers that have been selling me these plants all insist that I will get hummers! I wonder if that is just a tactic to get me to buy their plants? But I am attracting quite a few beautiful butterflies to my garden with some of the plants. I, too, raise and release butterflies. Mainly Monarchs and Black Swallowtails and sometimes Queens and Gulf Fritillaries. I decided to try to attract hummers after I started seeing the feeders for sell and plant sections marked "nectar plants for hummingbirds". I'd really like to know how abundant they are in my area. I currently have about 25 different plants most of which are blooming that are supposed to attract the little birds. Many of these plants have been mentioned here on this forum.

I will say that I was really disappointed to read in another post that the Trumpet Creeper takes a number of years to actually blossom! I just planted one and it is taking off, but no flowers. I wonder if a flowering fertilizer would jump start this plant to bloom? Anyone know?

Anyway, I'm hoping that a hummer will show up and surprise me in the near future. I'd be so thrilled!!! My family thinks I am crazy to believe that hummers would actually visit my garden. They don't believe there are any at all in our area or this part of Florida. I'd love to prove them wrong! Anyone have knowledge of hummers in my area?

I'm enjoying all the great posts with so much info! Great forum! Wish me luck that a little hummer finds his way to my yard!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 11:42PM
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I wanted to reply about the Sandhill Cranes. They are in abundance in the area I live in. The most amazing thing about them that I have ever seen is a one-legged Crane. Not sure how she lost one of her legs, but she has been like that for more than a year and has mated and had babies. One of her babies broke his leg after flying out in front of a car. Everyone who saw them were calling animal control and local vets and trying to catch them. I called the local wildlife preserve and they said NOT to touch them. They said that they are of course on the endangered list and do not survive in captivity. They told me the baby's leg will heal in time and to leave the bird family alone. I passed the word on to as many people as I could. Then we didn't see the little fellow for awhile and thought perhaps a predator got it. But 2 weeks later, he showed up with his parents and his leg was almost healed! He only had a slight limp! We know it was the same bird because of his parents - Mom is the only one-legged Crane around! They are the most amazing birds. I never tire of seeing them. They can most definitely be aggressive if one of their babies is threatened.

They don't seem to be afraid of anything. Everyone waits on them to cross the roads around here. This bird species is really loved by everyone in the community! They mate for life and I was told they will die shortly after losing their mate. You always see them in pairs or as a family unit. It's really awesome!

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 12:06AM
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garyfla_gw(10 Florida)

Can't speak for central and north Florida but I get bunches of them but only during winter. I'm located in Palm Beach county. They seem attracted by the Cape Honeysuckle.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 6:02AM
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I'm in Zone 9b also, and I have *tons* of hummingbirds. They practically swarm over my red bottlebrush tree. Other favorites that they visit frequently throughout the day are pineapple sage, bat faced cuphea and the red, purple and especially the coral porterweeds. Where I used to live in northern Palm Beach County, they were partial to powderpuff trees and Turk's Cap hibiscus. I've also seen them visiting the Black & Blue sage.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 12:59PM
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Hi, Snickerkitten. I live in Clermont--about twenty miles due west of Orlando. I have at least three hummingbirds visiting my flowers these days. I accidentally notice my first hummer on my Rose of Sharon four years ago or so. I started planting hummingbird plants from that day on. Now I sit by the window and watch them come to that same plant--but I have many other plants that attract them.

The easiest plant to get to attract them is the giant red penta. Make sure it's the big kind and red--not pink or white or purple. They come to all pentas, but they prefer the red ones. The best plant in my garden is the coral honeysuckle. I have a fence full of them. I have many other plants that attract them also. I've got lots of butterflies also.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 10:46PM
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I appreciate the responses about central Florida having hummers. I'm encouraged and hope to eventually get one or two in my yard. Should I try using my feeder again this year or wait for them to spy my flowers? I remember reading that a homeowner tied big bright red ribbons around their backyard to attract them. Does that really work? Do these hummers spotted in Florida gardens stay year-round or do they migrate?

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 11:21PM
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Most of the ones in Florida migrate. They are ruby-throats. There are some way south in Miami that don't migrate, I hear.

There are also some rufous around in winter months, but they are scarce.

The ruby-throats should be around another few months at least.

Personally I've never had luck with feeders. They come to the flowers and seemed to ignore the feeders I used to put up.

    Bookmark   July 17, 2006 at 1:46AM
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I'm not that crazy about Bottle brush trees, but I found a dwarf powderpuff bush and bought it. I have seen bees, butterflies, and have heard hummers love these types of flowers. The powderpuff is really an attractive plant. I am hoping it will do well in the winter here in zone 9b. Anyone know if I need to take precautions for this plant come cooler weather?

No hummers yet! Still hoping to catch a glimpse of one before winter!

    Bookmark   July 20, 2006 at 12:26PM
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I got so excited reading this thread that I had to join the forum! I've been a lurker here for a while.

I saw a hummer over the weekend!!! :) I'm in St. Petersburg and --YES! WE HAVE HUMMERS!!! I only saw ONE --I 'think' it was a ruby-throat. Contrary to what you are told, Ruby's are not the only hummers in Florida.

I got so excited by this that I ran out and bought 3 feeders to see if I can entice more and a yellow dipladium vine.

I have actually seen a handfull of hummers in the past few years in Florida and have to think that this area must be a stop on the migration trail. My recent hummer was dining on over-grown red-orange trumpet vine on my fence. Then, he'd rest in the oaks in between feedings. He'd swoop down and taste the yellow lantana I have in a hanging basket too.

Unfortunately, I have not seen any more hummers since. :(

I lived on the west coast of the US for a number of years and had TONS of hummers. I really miss the little guys so I am beyond thrilled to have seen one in my backyard in Florida. I just want to know what the heck to do to attract more and to keep them coming!

How often do you guys change your hummingbird feeders in this heat? It's hard to maintain it in 90+ degree weather.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2006 at 2:29PM
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I have not had any luck using a feeder. And yes! they are a problem to clean. In the high temps in FL they get nasty pretty quick. I have also been told that the birds actually prefer the nectar plants to a feeder because the plants are in abundance in Florida.

I have been told by numerous folks to just plant some flowering plants that attract hummers and they will come. We'll see if that is true when my plants start spreading and offering more blooms for nectar. I have heard that hummers feed all day and need hundreds of blossoms for food. But they also need small insects such as spiders and small bugs. So the more lush a garden area, the more apt to attract everything! Something that I was told was to plant vines such as the trumpet creeper, but also cross vines, passion flower vine, coral honeysuckle, and cape honeysuckle because each plant blooms at different times of the year. That way you have favorite nectar plants of the hummers year round which might entice them to set up camp near your yard. This is advice that I have recently been told, so these are the things I am doing in my own yard in hopes that it works. I want the little birds in my yard, too!

You are lucky living on the west coast to Florida because that is in the path of their natural migration to South America in the winter. They actually fly the long journey over the gulf from Florida to get there.

That's cool that you actually saw one! Good luck!!!

    Bookmark   July 28, 2006 at 10:20PM
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I don't live anywhere near Florida. In fact, I've never even visited Florida! I can Google, though, and wondered if this site might be of interest.

You can read the page of info, and/or click on "Distribution Map" in the upper left of the page to find their breeding range in Florida. Although the map will show you where the birds are breeding in the state, it doesn't show the spring and fall migration occurrences.

To summarize, as far as breeding goes, it looks like they're pretty common throughout the northern half of the state, but as you move south, they become less and less common. There doesn't seem to be any breeding at all in the extreme south. I would bet, though, that they can be found almost anywhere in the state during spring and fall migration. I'm still looking for more detailed information on routes and timing of migration, and will pass it on if I find it.

Here is a link that might be useful: Breeding range of Ruby-throats in Florida

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 4:03PM
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Thank you, Kristin! That is an interesting website. I wish the info was a little more current.

I've tried googling too, but didn't come up with much. I appreciate you mentioning any additional sites on this forum if you find some others of interest!

Do you get hummers in PA?

Thanks again!

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 12:55PM
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Oh goodness, yes, we get lots of ruby-throated hummingbirds, and I think they're generally pretty common all over the state. We have wild flowers that they enjoy like Monarda didyma, Lobelia cardinalis, Jewelweed/Touch-me-nots, Campsis radicans, plus all the flowers that people plant in their yards and hummingbird feeders.

Sadly, we're only blessed with them for less than half of the year. Now that we're getting into August and September, we can usually expect additional migrant birds passing through on their way south from Canada and New York state. In the spring, although a few may show up as early as mid April, I only saw my first on May 2nd, and will probably see my last no later than mid September. Goodness, that's less than 5 months! Then we have to wait all autumn, winter, and most of the spring for them to come back.

Because of the spring migration routes, it seems to take longer for them to get back to western Pennsylvania and neighboring West Virginia than almost anywhere else except for the extreme north. They're in Minnesota and Michigan before they get here, even though those states are farther north. They also get to the eastern part of the Pennsylvania before they ever get to us. Judging by the first sighting maps in spring, I think ours come up the Mississippi valley, and then have to take a long trip eastward to reach us. I think that's why it takes so long.

If you want more current info, why not contact the local Audubon chapter in Florida, and ask if there is a breeding bird atlas for Florida? Most states publish these frequently, and they are based on hours and hours of survey work, so have pretty good info. This will at least give you current information for breeding in Florida. Migration is a much trickier issue, and I think it is very poorly understood, even by the "experts."

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 4:25PM
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I agree that the 'experts' are limited on their info on hummers. I feell like there is a huge knowledge gap in migration and actual population on hummers in Florida.
I think that's a good tip about the local Audubon chapter.

I am happy to report that I saw another (female ruby this time) hummer in my yard. They complete ignore the feeder and seem to prefer the flowering vines. That's a total of two now that I've seen. Both at the same time of day 6pm-ish until 7:30pm.

I work from home and my office faces the garden (and hummingbird feeder...). I have seen no action at all. I don't get it...out on the west coast, hummers all went for the feeders-- even over blooming flowers! In California, there are hundreds of hummers.

But, they are quite elusive in Florida. They are absolutely amazing little creatures.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 6:43PM
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Kristin - Good idea about trying the local Audubon chapter here in Florida for more info on hummer sightings and info! I think I'll do that! Thanks!!

Saintpfla - That's interesting that the hummers are visiting you in the early evening hours. Or is that just when you are able to look for them? Are they going for the Trumpet vine? (Is that a "Trumpet Creeper" vine?) How long do they hang around and feed off the flowers in your yard?

Maybe I'm not watching at the right time? I know butterflies, but not birds. That's my goal starting next year, to start inviting more birds into my yard with a feeder. And learn more about the local birds in my area.

I've definitely got the gardening, butterfly raise-release-and-watch, and now the bird watch obsession! (lol!)

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 12:26AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I also live in Vero Beach and yes we have hummers. My grandson kept pointing out the glass doors yelling Butterfly, Butterfly.I almost didnt look as I have lots of butterflies but I did and it was no butterfly it was a hummer.Since then I am more aware and REALLY look. Just last week I saw a blue Jay zigging and zagging , he looked drunk .Nope, he was on the tail of a very smart hummer who did eventually lose him.
I have heard they prefer the plants and honestly, I dont need one more thing to attract fireants or to have to clean. Since I have planted Florida Natives and other butterfly plants I am getting all kinds of wildlife and birds.It truly is Paradise!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 9:23PM
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Another thing to remember about hummingbirds is that you are most likely to see them first thing in the morning and right at dusk. They need almost constant nourishment, so they stock up just before they go to sleep at night and the first thing in the morning they are starving. They will visit at all hours of the day, but especially the times mentioned.

If you do see a hummingbird try to remain still. They are frightened by movement. I have found that if I remain absolutely still they often ignore me and go about their business.

I think that what the people at the nurseries are saying is largely true. If you plant enough hummingbird plants they eventually will find them. We are getting close to the time when most of the Rubythroats will be leaving Florida. I think most of the males have already left, although I know a few are around. In my yard the Ruby Throats generally don't show up after the beginning of October.

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 10:15PM
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Thanks to goldenpond and tom123 for your personal experience, encouragement, and suggestions! I'll continue to keep my eyes open when I am outside. I keep thinking that I will hear the sound first and then actually see a hummer. The bees make quite a bit of sound in my yard as it is, but hummers have a different sound.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2006 at 2:08PM
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goldenpond - just curious.... when did you see the hummer in your garden? Was it recently?

Here is the feedback I recieved from my local Audubon Society:

Below are some of the local hummingbird comments that have been generated so far:

Most hummingbirds seen in our area are in the winter (October-March). There may be a few breeding
hummingbirds around in the summer, but we are at the southern end of their breeding range. Perhaps
someone else has a recent sighting.

Paul Tritaik
Refuge Manager
Pelican Island NWR/Archie Carr NWR

For what it's worth Mary Ann and I currently have at least one breeding pair at our fish camp on Lake
Hatchineha (Kissimmee chain of lakes) which is approximately 10 miles north of Lake Wales (as the
hummer flies). Given the speed with which our nectar feeder empties I am inclined to think we are
actually seeing more than one pair. Either way they appear to be year round residents. None are
banded as far as I can tell.
For perspective I would guess that Dundee (the closest town and on about the same latitude as our
place) is perhaps 25 miles north of VB's latitude.

Kevin Doty

I am not sure if this will get to Becky or not. When I had my nursery I
really didn't see Humming Birds until I started growing salvia and then the
first year I had several and they multiplied after that.
As Paul said they seem to be here mostly from late fall to mid spring. The
same seems to be holding true at our house as well. Plant lots of red tubular
flowers and put up some hummingbird feeders. Jancie Broda knows the native
plants that attract them the best. Jens

Jens is correct. I failed to mention this. They go bananas for coral honeysuckle.


Bob Montanaro

    Bookmark   August 4, 2006 at 8:29PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

My latest hummer siting was in July. I have been a Floridian for 18 years and only recently (2 years or so)have begun to see them. Do you think the recent hurricanes had anything to do with that? Just wondering.
I am mainland and do not know if they see them beachside.

    Bookmark   August 5, 2006 at 11:16PM
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Now that is interesting that you've "recently" seen a hummer in Vero Beach! That kind of blows the theory from the members of the local Audubon Society that they only winter here.

It's possible the weather (hurricanes) has had some effect on hummer migration and nesting areas. Another reason could be that Central America is cutting down more and more of the forests and perhaps there are less nectar plants and nesting areas than there used to be. I've heard this about the Monarch butterflies that fly south to Central America in the winter. I see these butterflies year-round more and more in Florida.

It would be interesting to tag the hummers and start logging sightings of them. I wonder if we have more staying year-round than previously thought. I'm hoping that with more folks planting hummer nectar plants in their yards that we start seeing more birds locally. I'm certainly doing my part with all the plants I've added to my yard this year! I do think it is just a matter of time before I get a glimpse of one in my yard! (I hope so.)

Plant it and they will come!!!

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 12:38AM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

Is that the same Kevin and Mary Ann Doty from Vero Beach?
Because I know them.

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 1:52PM
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I find the comment "Most hummingbirds seen in our area are in the winter (October-March)", very interesting. In most of Central Florida the Ruby-throats show up in March and leave by October. Looking at the Ruby-throat migration map it looks like they don't go much further south than Kissemmee, Florida.

I'm wondering if the ones that you see a little further south in the winter are Rufous hummingbirds?

I didn't think there were year-round residents in Florida except for some in the extreme south. I thought almost all migrated? Do you know what kind of hummers you are seeing, Kevin. Are you sure the same ones remain year-round?

Here is a link that might be useful: Ruby-throat migration map

    Bookmark   August 6, 2006 at 4:31PM
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I've apparently caused some confusion by posting what was sent to me in an email from Kevin Doty. He is not posting on this forum. And yes, he is from Vero Beach. I don't know any of the folks that emailed me. They were just replying to an email I sent to the local Audubon Society here in Vero Beach. Sorry for the confusion!

I received an email today listing a name and phone# of another Society member. So I called her and she told me that she usually gets around 11 hummers from Sept. - March every year. She doesn't find they care for the feeder either, but she has many of the flowers they like in her yard. She said that she gets both ruby-throats and Rufous and also another one (that I can't remember). She says they usually claim one of the plants and perch nearby to watch "their" plant. She said that they like the flamebush in her yard. She said they feed heavily at dawn and dusk as has already been verified by others here.

She said they stick around for the fall/winter months and then migrate in the Spring. She said the year we had the hurricanes (2004), that her plants were stripped from the high winds and the poor little birds came looking for their nectar plants afterwards. She put up feeders instead so they would have a food source. But other than that, they usually don't pay much attention to the feeders.

She said they were very territorial and are not afraid of bigger birds. So it seems they are the little "bully" on the block! She felt sure that I would eventually get hummers in my yard. Perhaps soon! Fall is just around the corner. Got my fingers crossed!

    Bookmark   August 7, 2006 at 10:18PM
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goldenpond((Vero.Beach FL 9b))

I am usually in a state of confusion ,no apologies neccesary!
I just think it is cool to find people who are in the business world with you ,in the same town with you and you never knew shared the same interests with you!
I also am thankful for the info about putting up a feeder after a hurricane. I will go get one to have on hand just in case(PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE let us not have any need for it!)

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 9:31AM
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OK, sorry if this was already mentioned...I was too lazy to sit and read all the posts. But I am in Palm Beach Gardens and I have never seen a hummingbird either. And we have hibiscus and other flowers all over the place. Any suggestions? Thanks!

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:25AM
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crescentdove(USDA 9 FL)

I just put up a humming bird feeder in Tampa, the level is going down, not sure if they are visiting or if it is evaporating? According to this forum they are in St. Pete and Valrico, so I have high hopes I will see them eventually. Like anything... if you build it... they will come. But first they have to find it... LOL.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 5:28PM
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I've been seeing them in my yard alot lately. They love my purple porterweed, red salvia and cuphea (sp?). In fact, just the other evening, I saw one drinking from the cuphea and then it flew over a dead branch on one of my climbing roses and it sat there for what seemed like five minutes. She cleaned herself and fluffed her wings and then finally flew off.

I've had them hover over me like they were investigating me. Now that almost brought tears to my eyes!!

I used to have some dwarf firebushes that they really loved but I had to remove them because they got huge (yes, they were dwarf). Don't tell anyone, but I transplanted them on a vacant lot down the street so all is not lost. They only get rain for water but they've made it. I can't wait for them to get large again so the hummers can revisit them.

I've also got alot of Old Garden Roses and I've seen them drink nectar from the roses too.

I've never had any luck with the feeders either, but I think that's because I have so many flowers in my yard.

Oh yeah, I've lived in Titusville, East Central Florida, for 40+ years and until 3 years ago I never saw a hummer either. Three years ago we did a major landscaping job on our lot - if you build it, they will come...

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 8:06PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

I am in Jupiter Farms and the ruby throats arrive at the end of September and stay till Feb/March. The favorite plants seem to be red firespike, turks cap, bottlebrush, Chinese Hat plant, Cape Honeysuckle and coral porterweed. The painted buntings usually arrive a couple of weeks after the hummers and stay till about April.

    Bookmark   August 8, 2006 at 10:50PM
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Im not sure about this flower business of attracting hummers for I only have a couple varieties and I have lots of hummers , in fact they seem to ignore the flowers. I will say this about feeders. You have to change the nectar every 3 or 4 days and in extremely hot weather ,more often. For a hummer will not feed from soured container, they will starve first. Hope you see a hummer soon-steve

    Bookmark   August 9, 2006 at 1:02AM
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judy33837(z7 Texas)

I am a native Floridian and have lived in the Central Florida area for nearly 60 years. Originally from Leesburg, I remember as a child watching hummingbirds feed on the flowers around our porch. I currently reside in Davenport and have been attracting hummers with flowers and feeders for about 8 years. The earliest that I have seen a hummer in this area is February 19th and the lastest I have seen a hummer is October 5th. I also saw hummers feeding on my feeders the day after Hurricane Charlie. I have never seen a hummer during the winter in Central Florida, but I have only left my feeders up once for the entire winter.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 3:16PM
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This is most interesting as well as confusing. It appears about half the folks in Florida say that the hummers are here from Oct - Mar and the rest say they have hummers from early Spring until early Fall. I wonder if it depends upon which coast you live near? The Gulf Coast or the East Coast of Florida? Or which part of Florida - North, Central, or South?

judy33837 - Where is Davenport located?

vireyafl - Where is Jupiter Farms?

Is it possible that hummers migrate around the state of Florida? Or do they stay here year round and we just don't always see them? Or do they travel as their favorite nectar plants bloom during the year? Or .... what?

My yard is in full bloom, but no hummers yet! I wish a group would track these little fellas. I think there is much to learn about them just in the state of Florida! This is quite amazing that for years few saw them and now they can be spotted during all seasons from one location to another.

Maybe the Ruby Throat Society should start tagging them here in Florida. They might get some surprising data!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 11:11AM
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judy33837(z7 Texas)

Beckygardener, both Davenport and Leesburg are located in Central Florida. Leesburg is in Lake County and Davenport is in Polk County.
I also am a little confused, but it seems like people who live on the coasts of Florida and in South Florida see hummers from Oct to Feb and the people in the center of the state see hummers from Mar to Sept. This would make the most sense to me because the coast of Florida is warmer in the winter than the inland area. (Also, some of these hummers may be rufous that are spotted during the winter months.)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 10:19PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

Beckygardener- Jupiter Farms is in northern Palm Beach County just south of Martin County. It is a rural/equestrian community west of the turnpike and I 95 and west of the city of Jupiter.

I have never seen the hummers all year round just end of Sept till Feb/March. I read somewhere that the lengthening days cause them to migrate north in Feb/March so perhaps shortening day length causes them to migrate south in Sept. Anyway my firespikes are covered with blooms now so you can send them all south for their winter feast! They must have figured out where their nectar sources are blooming and follow the flowers and the warmer temperatures.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 11:39PM
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Thanks for the clarification on location of where some of you folks live.

I have another question ... because I am trying to attract hummers to my yard. I've heard most of you mention that you have certain plants in your yard that the hummers are attracted to. Are these plants mature, large plants with lots of blooms?

I've planted alot of young plants this year and I am trying to figure out the size my plants need to be and the number of blooms that might catch the eye of hummers so that they will investigate my yard. Someone mentioned to me that I should tie bright large red ribbons around my backyard to make my yard stand out when hummers are flying overhead on their migration route. Anyone ever heard of such an idea?

Thanks for everyone's personal insight on local hummers!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2006 at 10:01PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

Beckygardener- I think you need a variety of nectar producing plants with as many blooms as possible to attract the hummers. A mature plant will be larger and consequently have more flowers to attract the attention of the bird. You need to figure out when the birds are supposed to be in your area and what favorite nectar sources are in bloom in your area at that time. For me they are present in fall and winter and firespike and cape honeysuckle(tecomaria capensis)among other plants are in bloom at that time so I have plenty of these in my garden. As the birds are territorial, the more nectar plants you have spread around your yard the better chance of getting several birds. They are also supposed to be attracted to moving water so a small fountain among your flowers may help as well. I have never tried the ribbons and I never see them at my feeder either.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:59AM
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vireyafl - I have a lot of different nectar plants in my yard that are listed as attractors for hummers. And I have 2 of the cape honeysuckle (which you mentioned) that are actually older (3+ years old) that are huge and bloom like crazy during the cooler months. Yet I've never seen any hummers around them at all. I have a gieger tree (which is actually a large bush that's been blooming for several weeks now), red salvia, firespike, necklace pod, powder puff, firecracker plant (which has tons of red flowers), Columbian red Petunia (blooms non-stop), regular petunias (red and deep purple), cigar plant (flowers galore), firebush (also tons of flowers), blue salvia, cross vine (which continues to blooms), coral honeysuckle vine (lots of blooms), trumpet creeper vine, passion vine, jatophe (which blooms non-stop), maypop vines, scarlet hibicus (which is blooming again!), bee balm, basil that has been blooming for months, batface cupea, pentas, red lantana, yellow lantana, creeping lavendar lantana, porterweed, etc. I am naming most of them because I wanted to show that I do have the right plants in my yard. Most are young plants, but with all the different plants I have that have continued to bloom each and every day, I know that I could definitely feed a hummer daily without a feeder of any kind. The plants are spread around my back and front yard so that more than one hummer could set up it's territory without seeing another hummer in a different part of my yard.

I have butterflies, bees, and dragonflies in my yard. But not a single hummer!

I have a small home depot waterfall that runs non-stop year round. Plus a small waterlily pond (without moving water). I have plenty of places for the little birds to perch. I don't know what else I could do to entice them to my yard.

The only other thing that I can think of is maybe the hummers in my area only come in the winter months when many of the plants I have are dormant. But goldenpond (from above post) is just 20 miles directly south of me and has had hummers in her garden this summer. So, I have to agree with cresentdove (above) .... "Like anything... if you build it... they will come. But first they have to find it"

I guess the real question is just that - "HOW DO you get hummers to find your yard and flowers? Which is why I took note of the red ribbons tied around the yard. I haven't done that yet, but I'm seriously considering it!

Maybe I need to play a recording of a female hummer chirping to attract a male hummer?

I don't know. I guess what I really need is patience.

I am just surprised that I don't have a single hummer come visit. My yard is a smorgasboard for hummers!

I keep thinking that there must be many juvenile male hummers that need to find their own territory. So come on down, fellas! LOL

Thanks for all the great suggestions and replies here on this forum! Ya'll are great!!!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2006 at 10:44PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

Beckygardener- with that list of plants it seems that you have both winter and summer blooms covered and it should be a hummer paradise. The only other thing I can think of is insects-are you using any insect sprays outside as they eat bugs as well as the flower nectar?

Perhaps when all of your plants mature you will have more luck. If Goldenpond is south of you and has had them all summer then you would expect it to be the same in your area.All I know that in N.Palm Beach they are winter visitors not summer(in my yard anyway!).

I guess it comes down to Crestdove's advice-just plant lots of attractors and have patience and maybe try the ribbons.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:35AM
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vireyafl - Thanks for your encouragement and advice. I don't use pesticides in my yard at all, because my front and back gardens were also created as butterfly gardens. Besides butterflies, I get a lot of bees and dragonflies as well as tree frogs and lizards. Plus lots of small spiders and various bugs, which attracts all kinds of birds. I currently do not have a seed bird feeder in my yard, but I always have bluejays, cardinals, and even sand cranes that frequent my yard to eat insects. There is always critter movement going on in my yard day and night. So I know it's a good habitat. Honestly, the only thing I just haven't seen yet is a hummer.
Fortunately, I like red flowers, so even if I never get a single hummer, I'm enjoy all the red flowers and other nectar plants that I planted to try to attract them.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 7:55PM
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I found an interesting article about Florida Hummingbirds at this link:

    Bookmark   August 23, 2006 at 10:39PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

Interesting article but they they don't seem to have the range correct for South Florida. I have them wintering here not present year round.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 1:57AM
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That article was originally written in 1990 and then updated in July 2001. Perhaps something has changed since it was revised. Hurricanes and other weather conditions, de-foresting in South America, etc. I, too, thought it was contradicatory of what has been shared on this forum. I think a research group needs to tag the little fellas and do some monitoring and study on hummers in Florida.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2006 at 9:54AM
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Here is another rather interesting website to read about the various breeds of hummers sighted in Florida. Far more than I would have ever thought:

    Bookmark   August 25, 2006 at 7:05PM
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Becky, let me reinforce what others have told you. If you have the right plants you will get hummingbirds eventually. I live in Clermont, which is directly west of Orlando, so you should be relatively near me. I've had hummers since March. I've seen four at one time, but I think I have two females now.

Remember, they come most often at dawn and dusk. It's better if you remain completely still when they are around. When they get used to you it's possible to move around without scaring them off.

I'm still not clear if the hummers seen in the winter months are Ruby-throats. I know that the vast majority of Ruby-throats migrate to Mexico in the winter months. The ones that I see arrive at exactly the same time as the migration map predicts. They leave at the end of September or early October. Most of the males leave in July.

Are the ones seen further south Ruby-throats or rufous or some other kind? Steve Backes in Valrico gets three or four different types of hummers. I only see the RTs and the Rufous.

I don't know about the one I saw today. It didn't have much of a tail. I'm wondering if it's a different type of hummer, or if it's a Ruby-throat that had it's tail wacked off.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2006 at 10:28PM
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Tom - I wonder if a cat or something else tried to get the little hummer without a tail?

Do you suppose if an area where there are lots of homes and some gardens get hummers as often as folks in rural areas? I don't know how many of you live on acreage or in rural areas. There are so many homes where I live. I wonder if hummers avoid highly populated areas where there may be more of a threat to them?

Do most of you live in neighborhoods on standard lots (80' X 125') or do you live in less populated areas on larger acreage?

Just curious.

    Bookmark   August 29, 2006 at 10:05PM
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judy33837(z7 Texas)

We currently live in a rural area on 5 acres, however, it is for sale and we will be moving to Ft. Worth, TX to be close to our daughter and grandson as soon as it is sold, so I sincerely hope there are hummers in large cities as well. I have gone online and researched and as best I can tell, they do have them there. I would think so, since that is where Sheri Williamson if from. :)

    Bookmark   August 30, 2006 at 10:34AM
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I live in a subdivision, but I have a big lot--about 2/3rds of an acre. I'm not far from a lake and a park.

I know there are lots of people in semi-urban subdivisions who get hummers. I think it depends upon the vegetation in the subdivisions as well as their proximity to parks, lakes and other uninhabited areas. It also clearly depends upon what zone you are in as to when and what kind of hummes you will attract.

    Bookmark   August 31, 2006 at 3:07PM
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I must say, as a life-long resident of Pennsylvania, I've read and skimmed through this entire lengthy thread and really enjoyed it. What a complex picture. I wish someone would do some banding studies and try to figure out what is going on down there. Unfortunately, the recovery rate for banded hummingbirds is terribly low. You can band thousands but they fall, unnoticed. From thousands, you're lucky to get a single recovery. I've also read that some researchers have taken to marking the birds with large dyed patches. When people notice the birds, they call zoos or the Audubon society, or wherever, and it eventually gets back to the researcher. That's the idea, anyway.

Around here, in Pennsylvania it's comparatively simple. The ruby-throats come north, they breed, and then they fly south. The only complication is that we sometimes get Rufous Hummingbirds, and I think, maybe some other species, too. The Rufous are quite uncommon if we're to believe the number of sightings. However, it's possible that there are more around than anyone imagines, and they are just being overlooked.

Still, your situation in Florida sounds complicated--winter, breeding, inland, coastal, north, south. What a confusing and fascinating picture. I do hope someone does a study and figures out what's going on!

    Bookmark   September 1, 2006 at 12:55AM
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Thanks to Tom and Judy on your response to my question of your yard size and where it is located - rural vs. sub-divisions. We have lots of lakes, ponds, and the river nearby, plus the ocean is just east of us. There is an abundance of wooded area surrounding my neighborhood as well. But as I mentioned, there are lots of homes on smaller standard lots. I don't know how skitish the hummers are around people, traffic, etc. From what I am gathering from the comments on this forum, it seems that the hummers prefer rural yards in undeveloped areas. Though that apparently doesn't mean that they don't visit developed and populated communities.

Kristin - I, too, wish that some studies were conducted on hummers throughout the entire state of Florida. One thing that I have noticed over the recent few years ... is that there are more and more plant and feeder sales and talk of hummers in Florida (including my local area). I always thought that hummers were rare in my state. But it's amazing the varieties and number of plants that are now sold at most local nurseries for their hummer "attraction". Many of these plants I have never seen at nurseries in Florida before until recently. So something is definitely going on. Either folks in Florida are suddenly noticing and becoming interested in these little birds or the hummers are becoming more commonplace. I hope it's the latter!

Fascinating to say the least! Happy Hummer Watching!!! I'm looking forward to the day when I can join the ranks as a observer myself.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 12:01AM
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I was born and raised in Tampa, then lived in Sarasota for many years. Never saw a hummer until I moved to Dade City, a small rural town 35 mi Northeast of Tampa (this is considered West Central Fla.) There are plenty here, I saw them almost immediately, they would literally fly right up in front of my face! I had lots of great shrubs in my yard that they loved too. No look with feeders, tho'.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 3:13PM
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Gypsyrose - From the responses, it looks as though folks that live in rural areas have a better chance of getting hummers! What kind of shrubs do you have in your yard?

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 7:58PM
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Hi, I live in a rural area on about 5 acres in NW Volusia Cty. I have gardened specifically for hummingbirds for years now without success, until this spring. I was sitting on the back porch in the early evening when a Ruby throat flew right up next to me and tore up my blooming clerodendrum. I thought I would fall out. I put up 2 feeders and have had the most incredible summer of my life watching these guys.I clean and refill my feeders every 3 days, and they are usually about empty in this time even though I have plenty of flowers available. Unfortunatly, it seems they have left for parts unknown now. I havn't seen one in about a week, but still refilling the feeders just in case. I am excited to learn that they usually return to the same area every year. I have started several vines for them. Have patience, they will come.

    Bookmark   September 13, 2006 at 10:45PM
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mistymorgans - Does your clerodendrum have blue flowers? If so, I am always surprised when I hear that hummers like other colors besides red. They seem to be so attracted to anything red.

You stated that you have been gardening for years specifically for hummers without success, what other plants do you have in your garden? Were they feeding from any of your other flowers or just the feeders?

    Bookmark   September 14, 2006 at 12:12AM
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Hi becky, my clerodendum has a red and white flower. Go to to see a picture of. I have alot of volunteers, If you live anywhere near me or go to a swap , I'll be happy to share. I also have Cardinal flower, Asclepias, Rose of Sharon, Buddleas, Red morning glory, Orange Trumpet Vine. After I saw my first hummingbird here, I went out and bought a hanging fuschia at Target and hung it about 4 feet from my feeder, didn't take them one day to find both. I battled ants at one feeder all summer, was very aggravating. I saw on one of these boards to use vaseline on the hanger, but I don't think petroleum products should be used around these guys. I am working on a moat to use now. I used mint extract around the ports and that helped with the yellow jackets. I aslo ( gasp) killed a praying mantis I found on my feeder one day. So sorry, just couldn't bear to think of a hummers death after all this. I have learned so much by reading everything here. I feel like I have come out of the closet as far as my birdwatching goes. I had no idea there were as many wacky people as me.

    Bookmark   September 15, 2006 at 6:22PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Becky - I am not in Florida but live in the city of Philadelphia. I am not downtown but live in one of the neighborhoods, where row homes (10ft wide fronts and driveways instead of a backyard) abound, with some larger lots are nearby across the street from me. I actually live on the 18th floor of a 19 story hi-rise apartment building with a balcony and I have hummers. I am living about 1.5 miles from where I grew up and don't recall seeing any hummers at that house during the time I was there, although I now realize that they were obviously around. In my spot now, one saw one of my container shrubs that was reblooming in August 2004 (a weigela), and she returned the following year, where she would find the feeder I put up, along with some other hummer plants (morning glories and honeysuckles). Each year I add more plants and feeders and I have been seeing more hummers now. This is despite living on a very busy 4-lane street with blaring sirens from police cars, ambulances, and fire engines, along with alot of commuter car, truck, and bus traffic, etc (not to mention it's a straight street and thus often becomes a motorcycle raceway... sigh). The hummers ignore it though.

So i think once one spots your place, others are sure to follow. You don't have to live in a rural area. There are many hummers reported in downtown NYC across from and in Central Park. And I would agree that they are most active early in the mornings (in the 5 - 6 am range) and late in the evenings near dusk. Once the babies are fledged, you would see more during the day.

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 4:11PM
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mistymorgans - I don't know what I was looking at before when I thought your bush had blue flowers. Must be something else with a similiar name. Bleeding Heart is what it is!!! I too had one which was red and white. Beautiful! But unfortunately, I decided to dig it up and transplant it and it didn't survive the move. I tried taking a cutting to root before it completely died but to no avail. I have tons of blooming hummer plants in my yard! It's just a matter of hummers finding my yard. Plus I don't know their migration habits for my area. I've heard they can show up in my area year round. But who knows?!
I have heard that hummers love fuschia! Maybe I'll pick one up to hang on the pole in the middle of my garden. What city are you located in?

Jenny in Philly - I have to tell you that I am amazed that you get hummers on the 18th floor in a noisy and busy neighborhood! Yes, I have heard that once they find a good feeding place that they do return and sometimes bring their mate/babies if there is enough food. You mentioned 5-6 am to spot them. It is dark here at that time. I have sat out on my back porch at sunrise, but have never seen any hummers. And I usually work out in my yard in the late afternoons until after dark. No hummers then either. So apparently they haven't found my yard yet.

I do get tons of the large bumble bees. They literally crawl up inside the various red tubular flowers that are growing throughout my yard to get to the nectar. It's actually kind of funny to watch them. They are so fat that they sometimes have trouble staying on the flower and squeezing up through the tube of the flower. They totally disappear once they are completely inside the flower and then have to carefully back out before flying to the next bloom. In all honesty, there is a lot of action going on in my yard when it comes to insects! I do notice right now various birds sit on my phone, cable, and electrical lines zeroing in on their next meal. It seems like there are birds swooping down in my yard all the time.

I have maypops and passion flower vines on some sections of my fence. Does anyone know if hummers are attracted to those flowers? Mine are purple, not red.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 1:44AM
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Becky, you were not wrong, there is a blue clerodendrum. As I said before , you are welcome to some. I tried the clipping thing with them without much success, so I have just dug up several volunteers throughout the yard for an upcoming plant swap. They are looking like they are going to make it. I went back and re read your post about the plants you have, with the smorgasborg of flowers you provide, it is only a matter of time before you have them . With what you have, they will come. My neighbor put up a small feeder but didn't get any hits, so we tied red ribbon to her feeder, still didn't attract any. Amazing that they are at my house, but won't fly 10 acres away to her house. I have done several google type searches to learn more about these guys, like, when they have taken up residency, how far from the nest will they routinely fly for a meal? I guess they are gone for this year, but I keep cleaning and filling in case any stop for a drink on their journey. I was interested to hear about the winter overs in S. Florida, I think I am to far north for these. I live about 25 miles N.W. of Daytona bch on a small farm.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 8:48AM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Becky - this time of year it is dark at that time of the morning but in early - mid-summer, there is more dawn light at that time. Before mine left last week, they were coming ~6:21 am, when it was barely light enough for them to see! Earlier in late spring - mid-summer, they were coming ~5:45 am.

I bet if you continue to get some more plants that they like, some that are passing through might finally spot your place along their migration path and will remember you. One nice one that they apparently like that blooms this time of year that isn't on your current list, is the pineapple sage. I love the scent of the leaves and the flowers are definitely neon red! They grow to be large shrubs down your way - even in 1 season (my little 3" pots of them grew so that they are in 10" pots now and should be in at least 12" or

I guess all you can do is wait. It took 10 years for one to find me - and I never expected it in such an odd spot. I don't know if they are attracted to passies - I had a blooming P. belotti out there last year and they didn't pay attention to it. If anything, they seem to prefer tubular flowers as their beaks are made just for them.

At least one of my juvie males learned what pentas were and should recognize them in his wintering spot. Maybe he'll find yours!

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 5:32PM
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mistymorgans - Thanks for clarifying the flower colors. I didn't know that bleeding hearts came in blue flowers!

Unfortunately, I don't get up your way unless I am evacuating (because of a hurricane). But thanks for the offer of sharing a plant! If you ever have any seeds, I'd love to do a seed swap! They are easy to mail. :-)

Jenny - Great photo! What a cute little hummer! Is it a rubythroat? I sure hope it doesn't take me 10 years to finally attract hummers! Gosh, I can't believe that it took that many years for you to finally get hummers! I don't even know if I will still be living in the same house in 10 years!

I figured the hummers would come to feed once the sun either starts coming up or going down. I didn't know that they would come when it is still dark. How do you see them in the dark? Only some of my plants are right next to my screened porch. Most are planted in beds bordering the sides and back of my backyard around the fence.

The various vines are really taking off around the fence. Everything has doubled or tripled in size and continues to bloom. I did buy a tray of red salvia today. This is the salvia that has the larger red flowers, not the tall and skinny salvia that I have in my front yard. I don't know the different names for each variety.

I have heard that pineapple sage is wonderful. I haven't had any luck finding it locally, though. I might have to grow it from seed. I have had quite a bit of luck this year growing plants from seeds. First time ever to try growing my own. The seeds were some that I purchased and also got some from friend's gardens. Much easier than I thought it would be. I was really amazed that I'd have so much success! I have been gathering the seeds as my plants produce them this fall, for spring planting. Though, a lot of my plants are perennials and should return. Can you ever have enough plants?! LOL!

I have basil that is growing everywhere in my herb garden. It produces tons of seeds that grow like weeds. The bees love it and it seems to bloom constantly! I wonder if hummers would like basil flowers, too? The butterflies and bees target my herb garden. Are hummers attracted to many herbs?

Ya'll are great and I appreciate the advice and stories! I am enjoying hummers through all of you, even if I don't have any in my own yard! I am living vicariously through all of you! ;-)

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 10:30PM
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Jenny, Here we are at the opposite ends of Pennsylvania, talking about Florida hummingbirds. This forum is fun! I was thinking that you should thank your lucky stars that your garden is up on that terrace. I tried to grow Pineapple sage this year, and it seems to be a deer magnet. Every time it looked to be on the verge of blooming, it would get chomped down to bare twigs! I don't think it will survive the winter, so it turned out to be a dud for me. It's a good thing I have other hummer flowers and feeders.

I've had Maypops (Passiflora incarnata) blooming steadily since late July, and haven't noticed any hummers at them. I don't think there's nectar in the flowers, so I doubt the hummers would be interested in them. They do have nectaries at the base of the leaves that exude sweet liquid, but I don't know if the hummers would go for it or not. I sort of doubt it. I have never noticed them listed on any "hummer flower" lists.

As for the flower color point someone brought up, I've seen hummers at white lilies (Casa Blancas) and also at my violet blue Lobelias. I've also heard they're just crazy about Salvia "Black and Blue," which has a very deep purplish blue flower. I also have been making home made feeders that are patterned after natural flowers. My first efforts were red, but then I decided to make one modelled after a blue Lobelia. Even though it was a fake flower, and it was purple, the hummers had no trouble finding it immediately and sipping sugar water from it. Although everyone seems to be in agreement that they are partial to red, I think they are apt to investigate anything that is brightly colored, especially if it looks even vaguely like a flower.

Next spring I'm going to fool around with my feeders and see how they respond to other colors. It should be fun.

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 1:28AM
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I talked to another gardener who works at the same place I do who had told me back in the spring that she gets hummers. But we never much discussed it. Today I inquired and she said that our area should be getting them very soon!


I told her that another person from this forum who lives just south of us has had at least 1 hummer over the summer. She was quite surprised to hear that. She told me that the hummers love her porter weed. She has the same variety that I do that is just HUGE! True porter weed is a much smaller plant. But hers and mine are just like a huge bush or small tree. I have cut mine back 4 times just this summer to keep it compact in size and it is huge again. She told me that she cuts hers back every summer, too. She wondered if by doing that, it may be discouraging hummers into her yard if they are here in the summer months as well. So now we both are wondering about year-round hummers in our area. The mystery continues!

She lives about a mile away from me in the same subdivision. Her yard is a garden jungle that she works on every day. She loves gardening as much as I do, but got into it years ago, so her yard is well established. She said her hummers are particular to what they like. I think she mentioned that she has firespike and pineapple & tropical salvia which they also love. And of course, the purple porterweed.

Kristin - I think you are right about the passion flowers not having much nectar. I don't even see butterflies at the flowers. Though they are definitely the host plant for the gulf fritillary butterflies. I get lots of cats on it.

That's really cool that you make your own feeders! Your yard must look awesome with the handmade flower feeders. You should post a photo of them! :-)

I am going to ask tomorrow if this other co-worker uses a feeder. I don't think she does because she notes the flowers she sees them at. She told me they also perch around her yard to guard "their" plant. LOL!

    Bookmark   September 18, 2006 at 6:11PM
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I talked to the co-worker today and she does not use a hummingbird feeder. This is consistent with what Goldenpond (who lives about 20 miles south of me) said about not using a feeder either. I am really beginning to think that some hummers are possibly here year round probably in small numbers. I know not all migrate. I also emailed a nursery 20 miles north of me that sells only native plants and asked about hummers. She also said that they should come into our area between now and late winter.

I noticed some of you have mentioned rufus hummers when the weather starts cooling. Do they handle colder weather better than ruby throats and migrate later? I don't know much about the different species of hummers, but I assume they all like the same type of red tubular flowers.

What's a good website or book on hummers?

Thanks ya'll!

    Bookmark   September 20, 2006 at 9:13PM
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Becky, some of us hummingbird enthusiasts are getting together in Winter Garden (just West of Orlando) at Biosphere nursery this Saturday morning. We will be sharing stories and plants and will get to listen to Jim Thomas, who is one the most knowledgeable persons in this area about hummingbirds and the plants that attract them. He also sells many different plants at his nursery.

As to your question about the Rufous hummingbirds, the answer is yes, they are much better able to take the cold weather as compared to the Ruby-throats.

I think that pretty much all the Ruby-throats in my area migrate to Mexico and back. There seems to be a line that begins with somewhere south of Kissemee where hummingbirds appear in winter months. There are some here in the winter, but in my area there are no Ruby-throats that I know of. We get the Rufous starting in October or so--but we don't get many.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 7:07AM
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Tom - The Biosphere nursery event sounds really interesting. If I lived closer, I would definitely come! Perhaps you would be kind enough to share any interesting info here on this forum? And if I am not imposing, perhaps you could ask Jim Thomas on my behalf if he knows what hummer species and when they appear on the central to south "east coast" of Florida. (Indian River county - Sebastian area.)

The co-worker I know told me that she gets mainly Ruby-throats and some rufous hummers in the fall/winter months. They come for her flowers. So I am hoping that one or two find my yard this year. I certainly have lots of flowers for them. I really don't know the difference between the species and if they move as quick as I have heard, I don't even know if I would be able to tell a ruby-throat from a rufous unless they are perched for awhile.

I am out working in my yard every late afternoon until dark. I've been keeping my eyes open. I keep seeing those moths that look and fly like hummers. But I know their behavior now, so I am not fooled into thinking it's a hummer. I'm going to be optimistic and expect to see a hummer this fall/winter! My family thinks I am totally crazy to think we'll have hummers. I'd love to see their faces if we actually got one or two! They would be shocked!!

I'd still like to pickup a good book on hummers. Any recommendations?


    Bookmark   September 21, 2006 at 9:06PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

Kristen - sorry to hear about your Pineapple sage! As I understand it, they are short-day bloomers and mine still haven't bloomed yet since I bought them with a few blooms. They're quickly becoming woody too. They aren't hardy up in our area but can be brought in and overwintered.

Becky - yes that is a ruby-throated in the picture - a juvenile male. Because I'm up above the trees, it appears lighter to me than down on the ground where the trees can make it darker during pre-dawn and post-dusk times. They seemed to appear just when it was light enough to see clearly and would come in the evenings until it got too dark to see without any external light source.

Regarding the Rufous - they are sortof distinct-looking (at least as adults), with reddish brown feathers all over and generally on their backs and tails as well (where the rubys tend to have green backs).

Regarding some good books - you can look for "A Field Guide to Hummingbirds of North America" & "Attracting and Feeding Hummingbirds" by Sherri Williamson, who is an occassional poster here.

Another is "Hummingbird Gardens" by Nancy Newfield, who posts at various hummingbird forums.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 1:35PM
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Jenny - Thanks for the information about your hummer photo! And the explanation about Rufous vs. Ruby-throat hummers.

I will check out those books you recommended from my local library. Thanks for the list!

Tom - How did the Biosphere get-together with guest speaker Jim Thomas go today? I hope you will share some of the info on this forum! :-)

    Bookmark   September 23, 2006 at 10:14PM
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So happy to find this forum and learn about how to attract hummers to Vero's mainland. We just moved here from the Carolinas. We always had hummingbirds there, so I thought it would be the same here. After asking around, I see I will need to learn different tactics to attract, ie.put away the feeders and start planting! Also, we have a terrible problem with "midgets"(no-see-ums), and I've learned that hummingbirds eat hundreds of them in one day! Yeah! Thank you.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 10:23AM
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Welcome countrystore! I always love hearing from folks - that are local to me - to hear their reports of sightings of hummers! Please let us know when you get hummers and what they are feeding on! Since they do feed on small insects, perhaps no-see-ums are on their menu! ;-)

I was reading another post on a different forum and saw someone from Port St. Lucie who stated they recently spotted their first hummer. That's about 45 miles directly south of me.

I think that I may try the red ribbons in my yard. Couldn't hurt and might look pretty colorful among my flower gardens! lol!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 12:12PM
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jenny_in_se_pa(USDA7 Sunset 32)

The hummies definitely will eat through swarms of gnats and similar bugs. I used to have huge spider webs on the balcony (the spiders taking advantage of the gnat swarms - with dozens trapped a day) until the hummers came and now no more spiders either!

Becky - I just put up... and don't laugh... some red Solo cups upside down on some of the stakes I have for various plants. LOL I originally used a red vinyl "lunch bag" hung from a shepherd's hook and the hummers would buzz around it wondering what the heck it was and would then find the feeders and flowers. I'm trying the cups because I happened to have had one on a window sill near my door (I used it to water some smaller pots) and 3 times I had hummers come inside if I had the door open, all apparently having seen the cup and trying to investigate it. There are various red-colored wind chimes, banners, and other danglies available at nurseries that you can hang from trees as well. The past couple years, I've seen long red plastic spirals that twist in the wind for hanging outside and have considered trying some too.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 2:14PM
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Just a quick bit of info. for Vero residents looking for pineapple sage. Horizon's Nursery on Oslo Rd. said they will have some in 2-4 weeks. Today in Lowes I bought what looks like the pineapple sage we used to grow near Charlotte,NC. The hummers loved it. Lowes had it labeled "autumn sage". New growth comes onto the woody looking stalks, so don't cut it back. This time of year in the Carolinas it goes dormant and woody looking but comes back in the spring. I also bought a large red penta at Lowes, so....okay....I'm READY!

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 7:40PM
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Jenny - I LOVE the red solo cup idea!!! I just might try that myself. I was also thinking of red pipe cleaners that I could twist around some of my trellis along the fence and on my metal hanging planter pole. Maybe adding some red Christmas bows and the red solo cups might just do the trick! I am sure my neighbors will be curious as to what in the world that I am doing! LOL! It will just confirm to them that I am an eccentric gardener .... which is what I am aspiring to be when I grow up! ;-)

I have a lot of red pentas blooming in my front yard garden right now. I understand they love pentas. So maybe that will entice overhead flying hummers to take a nectar break on their flight south (wherever that might be .... Miami, the Florida Keys perhaps my yard ...? lol).

I've been noticing those long stick bugs. Most are mating when I see them. And I have a lot of them in my back yard right now. I wonder what is attracting them to my yard? They stay hidden during the day and then move around after dark. Smart bugs!

Love is in the air ..... we also have our famous love bugs that have been swarming the past several weeks! I am sure hummers would find them yummy! Two for one swoop! LOL!

One thing about Florida .... there are LOTS of bugs, snakes, frogs, lizards, and other lovely creatures in abundance! No lacking of insects, that's for sure! They feed anything that moves on legs or by wings. And mesquitos aplenty! I hope hummers like to eat them especially! We have bats that like those nasty biting bugs! Maybe hummers find them just as appetizing, too!

Bats are also on my list of creatures to attract. I want the little brown bats in my yard so I am looking into building a bat house to erect at the corner of my backyard. I heard that their droppings are some of the richest fertilizer you can use. Sounds like a good deal to me ... eat mesquitos and fertilize my garden at the same time! Sounds like the perfect creature to me. :-) I wonder if there is a bat forum .......hmmmm. I might just have to check that out.

Countrystore - Sounds like your on your way to a red flowering garden! Good luck! From what I understand, pineapple sage smells like pineapple when the leaves are crushed. Hence the name. It's possible that it also goes by the name "autumn", but I really don't know. I was thinking it also goes by the name of "tropical sage"? There are so many varieties of sage. I have the strong smelling sage used as a cooking spice in my herb garden and when a leaf is crushed it overpowers all other plants! Very strong odor! I have not seen any blooms on it yet, though.

Southbound hummers going to Florida - Perhaps it is the flower nectar and protein feast for the little birds when they hit Florida. Maybe that is why the feeders aren't used as much by hummers? Fall is a very active time in my garden. Everything seems to like the slightly cooler weather - especially the plants and bugs. It's a happy place to be!!! :-)

    Bookmark   September 24, 2006 at 10:49PM
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Here's a link to the red deco that I created in my yard with the hopes of attracting some hummers! (Thanks to Jenny for the red solo cups idea!) I decorated the metal pole and hung a feeder at each area where I have red flowering nectar plants in case the birds prefer the flowers. Don't know if it will work, but my family sure thought it was amusing! LOL!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:43PM
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Here's the other area of my backyard garden with more decorations!

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 10:47PM
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That's interesting .... my 2 photos actually have a different .jpg name, but for some reason they are listed here using the exact same name. That's odd.

Jenny - I tried to actually display the photos in my post on this forum but couldn't figure out how to do it. Bummer!

    Bookmark   September 25, 2006 at 11:06PM
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Okay, i see that this thread has been around since July 2005, but i still wanted to respond since i JUST found it. We live in western Palm Beach County, FL and have had our first sighting of hummingbirds which started in late summer/early fall 2006. Bright red Pentas are what we saw them going for at first, but then we planted some firecracker bushes in giant pots on our patio and they have been chowing on the nectar from those regularly! I have lived in Florida since 1992 and this is the first time i've ever seen hummingbirds in the wild and it is very exciting! Also, they seem to be enjoying another giant bush we have, i think it's called firebush? The flowers aren't as neon-red as the firecracker, but more of a bright to deep orange color. But yesterday,(it is now January 2007) we witnessed a really big thrill! While walking around on our property, we found TWO ruby-throated hummingbirds flittering about in our oak tree. One was air-hovering and zig-zagging while the other observed. Obviously, one a male and the other a female. We believe they were performing their little mating ritual! Very cool! And wow, they were chattering too. We watched for at least a half hour and were able to take photos and some video. Not an easy task, as they are SOOO teeny and way up in the tree! Today, i went out there and only see the female sitting in the same oak tree, flying off for awhile and then returning to perch. From what i've read online, she may be working on a nest in the area, since the male should be gone now if they did indeed mate. Anyhow, just wanted to let you all know that YES, there are definately Ruby-throated hummingbirds in Western Palm Beach County! You don't need any fancy feeders which to me would be a pain to constantly clean and keep filled. Just plant some firecracker bushes, preferably near a window or area that you would be able to see the area throughout the day such as the kitchen sink window or patio door. They don't seem to be too shy to come that close. We happened to see our first hummer while we sat down to eat our lunch in the breakfast nook when my 4-year old son said hey - look at that fat dragon fly -- and it turns out it was a hummingbird! We see them most frequently in late morning, noon, and then again before supper time, usually on very sunny days. They are SO quick that if you don't take the time to look you will miss them. I'm convinced that we've had them all along but never saw them because we didn't have the plants in a common area where we could monitor pretty much all day long. So good luck attracting hummers!

    Bookmark   January 6, 2007 at 6:01PM
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i posted a couple of weeks ago about seeing what I think was a young male here in Lakeland. However after about 3 days he disappeared and I haven't seen it since. He did the same zig zagging as you described. I thought he was catching bugs since there was only one. How cool that you have them to watch! I am jealous!

    Bookmark   January 9, 2007 at 10:36PM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

I am in Western Palm Beach County as well and have hummers all winter - they arrive towards the end of September. I have previously stated (on the Florida Gardening Forum I think) that they don't use the feeders. Well I must correct this, I guess I never put the feeder in a spot where I could observe it properly. Not only do my hummers use it but they consume about half a cup or so of sugar water every few days. They visit the flowers of course but go from flowers to feeder and back and forth. I think the #1 plant is red firespike which for me seems to start blooming just before they arrive. They also like Turks Cap, Shrimp plant, yellow and red russellia, Costus woodsonii, Cuphea mandevillea, Calliandra, Chinese Hat Plant, Bottlebrush and the giant Coral Porterweed.

I too have observed the zig-zagging - it is amazing, like a high speed ballet and they like to perch in the top of my oak trees as well, but also on dead twigs on a pine tree branch just above the firespike.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2007 at 11:14AM
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I'm very glad to see that you two from West Palm Beach have hummers. Clearly there are some ruby-throats that winter in southern Florida. My impression is that they go as far south as Homestead, or perhaps a little further south and as far north as southern Osceola County.

I haven't seen a hummer since the beginning of Ocotober or the end of September. I'm in Central Florida, just west of Disney. I have tons of hummer plants blooming, but no hummers. I do have lots of butterflies, which is different, since they generally disappear in the winter.

Hummers here come with the general migration. I probably won't see any until mid March. I did see one at the Miami Metropolitan Zoo on December 23rd. It was a thrill.

Enjoy your hummers!

    Bookmark   January 22, 2007 at 10:03PM
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lynn1027(9a Florida)

You know, after reading all the posts about people who have yet to see a hummer, it occurred to me that perhaps they weren't looking at the right time of day! I have noticed that "my" hummers have a regular route, and they are at my yard and feeders and plants at only certain times of the day. And they are very regular! Also, when the females are sitting on nests you won't see many at all - at least in my area, the males go on to other areas. When the hummer moms hatch their brood and they fledge, they bring the kids around. And then next year, those adults and last year's kids who survive will come back to your area. They have great memories! Hope this helps

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 8:16PM
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I love Hummers I only get 4 a year. Mine come in May and stayed til the middle of Oct but then I live in Kansas. I have all kinds of flowers for my hummers and butterflies and I do keep my feeders filled and fresh. My pet peeve is the ants and wasps like the solution also and I seen my butterflies sipping also. It's an enjoyable site to watch them all.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2007 at 10:09PM
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Lynn1027 - What time of day do you see them and where are you in Florida?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2007 at 8:07AM
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vireyafl(710 FL)

Do you still have your hummers? I just participated in the Great Backyard Bird Count and included the 2 ruby throats that I still have here and was asked to confirm this, as they said they are unusual here at this time of the year. But they are here! Perhaps they know the weather is not too good further north!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2007 at 10:59PM
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I'm a bit late to this thread. I'm originally a long-time Florida resident, and I, too, have never seen a hummingbird until I moved to Texas a year ago. However, my mom, who still lives in Central Florida, near Deltona, has seen a few in her garden last year. I don't believe she has a hummingbird feeder, but she does have flowers all over her yard.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 4:04PM
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I live just north of Orlando and have lived in and around Orlando for more years than I care to tell. I have had hummingbird feeders everywhere I have lived and had them visit every one. Even in downtown Orlando, all you have to do is put out a feeder or a favored flower and they come.

Buy an inexpensive hummingbird feeder, use sugar water instead of the red stuff (red stuff has dye not good for bird)5:1 mixture, in other words five cups water to one cup sugar or in my case I use two cups of water to half cup of sugar), place feeder in yard and watch. They will come.

I usually don't see them in the winter, I think they go farther south since I live just at the frost line north of Orlando. This spring, in April I had not gotten around to putting the feeder out so I got one out and prepared the water and hung it about an hour before good dark. I figured it would take a day or two before see them come to it. My daughter was on the deck when I hung it and I went on into the house. A hummingbird almost ran into her on its way to the feeder (not ten minutes after it was hung). Proves how smart they are, doesn't it.

You too can enjoy hummingbirds in Florida. Florida is a great place for hummingbirds even though we don't have the many varieties they have in other parts of the world. Enjoy!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2007 at 1:54PM
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sos940(z9 centralFL)

So sad that so many people never see hummers. I have many in my garden & a friend who saw mine went to Home Depot to buy a feeder & they actually told her there were NO hummers in Florida! Well she new that was bunk 'cause she saw one with her own eyes in my yard!
I was born & raised in Florida and have always seen hummers. I grew up near Clermont & the hummers would visit the red Aloe flowers outside my bedroom window. So when I got my own house I started planting hummer plants!

I've also seen hummers at a garden in Zellwood, at my office in Maitland at 17-92 & Horatio (definitly not rural there!) and also at Leu Gardens in Orlando.

I now live near Mt. Dora and have had several families of hummers nest every year. I think what attracted them to my yard was the Indian Head Ginger. It grows to about 8 feet and has bright orange flower heads. (If you want some let me know - I have plenty to share!)

At first they NEVER visited my feeders. Then I stopped using that Red store-bought stuff. I mix up a ratio of 1 cup suger to 3 cups water. No boiling, just mix and pour into feeder. The racoons kept stealing the nectar out of my feeder when it was on a shepards hook, so now I use a feeder that is suction-cupped to the window where racoons can't reach. Added plus is I can see the hummers up close! It is in the shade of the house & I change it about every 4 days. Now they visit the feeder about every 15 minutes throughout the day!

I see them at all times of day, sometimes they are more active than others. You can tell if they are "frisky" and ready to start another brood and are buzzing & yapping all over, or when a new crop of babies flies the nest. Youngsters seem to investigate EVERY flower until they learn what they like. Usually though, AM & PM is most active.
I usually see the first male around March & then they leave in October.

The hummers are super quick flyers and are easy to miss. I usually HEAR them before I see them. Once you recognize their chirp they are easy to see. That is how I spotted the one at Leu Gardens. I was with about 8 other people & none of them saw the hummer! Maybe there is a place online that has a recording of their chirps.

Here are my hummers top 5 favorite flowers.
#1 - ANY color of Porterweed, purple, blue, coral, red - they like them all.
#2 - Indian Head Ginger
#3 - Shrimp plant
#4 - Dwarf Powder puff
#5 - Cuphea (mine is pink with purple tips!)
They also like all colors of Salvias & Sages (blues & purples included), Agastache, Passion Vine. Plumbago & Butterfly Ginger. I just planted some purple firespike, I hear they like it too.
Sorry for the long post :-)

    Bookmark   June 1, 2007 at 6:03PM
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I had feeders up for a few years but gave up on them a couple years ago. Decided I had enough flowers to keep the hummers happy. They are here all the time so I must finally be doing something right!
I agree with the list above. I don't have the Indian Head Ginger but I do have the rest. The porterweed is a great plant and the hummers can't stay off it. But I think fire spike, firebush and coral vine get even more visits from the little birds.
Whatever we need to do to get them to come to the yard is worth it!

    Bookmark   June 4, 2007 at 6:28PM
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I've just moved from the UK to Plant City Florida and I'm hoping I can attract Hummingbirds, especially after seeing my first ones at a friends house in Tennessee, so finding this thread has been very informative..

    Bookmark   June 6, 2007 at 9:00PM
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Hi, Anyone with hummingbird plants to share please get in touch with me. I'm trying to get a garden started. Thanks

    Bookmark   September 7, 2007 at 9:24AM
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I lived in orlando roughly 28 yrs.and I maybe saw one humming bird that whole time(which i figured was possibly migrating?),additionally I have spent endless hours in the woods at many locations just outside the orlando area and have not seen any others.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2007 at 1:01PM
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I live in Oviedo (just outside Orlando) and have been trying to attract hummingbirds for about 5 years. I think they are here, it's just a matter of being in the right place at the right time. This summer I started seeing one every once in a while. Then I started seeing a tiny little bee hummingbird. Found out they are from Cuba. They liked my red pentas. Fascinating and amazing creature. They show up mostly just at sunrise. I also do the butterfly "thing". I have released about 400 butterflies since July.


    Bookmark   November 21, 2007 at 6:59PM
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I live just north of Gainesville, and have had hummingbirds here in my yard for years. In summer (April thru Septmember) we have Ruby-throated hummers, and around November we start seeing Rufous hummers arrive. They leave about the same time the wintering Goldfinches do in Spring. I've had "mine" banded a few times, usually in Dec-January, and they've all been Rufous (Hummer-Bird Study Group). The researcher told me he's banded at least 7 hummer species in Florida (mostly along the Panhandle, but he goes all over). It was pretty cool when I got to hold a little female in the palm of my hand...she just sat there calmly until the guy gently bumped the back of my hand and she flew away. He marks the birds with a flourescent dot on their crown, and they've always stayed around all season, didn't seem to bother them at all to be captured and handled, banded, measured, weighed, and photographed.

There's only about a month's lull between the RT's leaving and Rufous arriving, and vice versa in Spring. Sometimes I have both at the same time, overlapping, depending on the year and what kind of weather patterns we've had.

I first noticed the winter (Rufous) hummers when my red camellia started blooming (2001, when I moved to this location). It always blooms around Christmas and continues into early Spring. I have several nectar feeders now (1 part sugar to 4 parts water). I get Baltimore Orioles visiting the ones with perches attached, too. I also have a bottlebrush tree (young, not a lot of bloom yet) and a Duranta with purple blooms that they seem to like; red crepe myrtle in summer and several red to orange blooming vines keep the birds around too. I'm gradually adding more...had pineapple sage for a couple of years, but lost it when we had a slew of hurricanes come through the middle of the state in 2004 (Frances did the most damage here).

I would say keep looking and providing an attractive environment for the hummers, and hopefully they will find you!

    Bookmark   November 23, 2007 at 2:19PM
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After 10 years, I FINALLY attracted hummingbirds. I was so happy. I wouldn't give up if I were you. Just keep trying. I only live an hour from you so I know you'll get them.

    Bookmark   November 24, 2007 at 1:17PM
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I just wanted to let everyone know that I finally got a hummer in my garden. All the hummer nectar plants and the hummingbird feeders finally attracted them to my yard. I posted several videos to YouTube of my cute little hummer. I believe it is either a female or juvenile male hummer.
So we DO get them here on the east coast of Florida. My bird has been around for over two months (that I am aware of). I first saw it in November and it is still here. YAY!

Copy and paste these links to the address bar to see the video of my hummer:

Enjoy! And know that YOU, too, can attract hummers to your garden here in Florida!

    Bookmark   January 17, 2008 at 10:07PM
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I just moved here from Arizona where hummers were plentiful and all species since it is a migration path to Mexico. But now am hoping I'll see many if I put a feeder out in my garden. Do any of you think I will have any luck? I will certainly appreciate any suggestions you may have. Thanks!

    Bookmark   January 18, 2008 at 10:56PM
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Hi ljsousa, First thing I noticed about your post was that you can't be too far from me, I am in St. Pete. I am sorry to say I still have not seen a hummer, but I am not going to give up. I did see them when we visited JAcksonville, and I hear stories all the time, so they are out there somewhere. I also noticed your name.."sousa", that can be a POrtugese name; are you Protugese?? I am, and don't know many in Florida. My great grandparents came from the Azores, and my grandfather on my mom's side, all the rest since have been born here. Well, hope you see a hummer soon, ME TOO! Take care, Marilyn

    Bookmark   January 22, 2008 at 3:46PM
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ljsousa - Here is a great website with lots of ideas of how to attract hummers:

If you and marilynP live on the west coast of Florida, you probably have a high probability of seeing and getting hummers to come to your yard. Try some of the suggestions from this website. It took me 3 years to finally get a hummer. (Or at least to finally see one in my yard.) Good Luck!

    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 10:07PM
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And here is an awesome webcam of hummers. Click on the photo to start the video:


    Bookmark   January 27, 2008 at 11:27PM
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I have lived in Florida for 50 years and never saw a hummingbird until January 19th at 2:30PM. I couldn't believe my eyes, even though I have been planting for hummingbirds for the past year. I ran in the house and told my daughter sounding kind of like a kid that just saw Santa Claus. I guess I never really thought I would see one here in Fort Lauderdale. It sort of rose up behind my firebush, then flew to the firespike and started sipping from the flowers.
I haven't seen one since because my garden is so new I probably don't have enough to keep them here, but it has strengthened my resolve to have hummingbirds in Fort Lauderdale. Now I know it can be done, so if you are trying, don't give up, and do lots of research on plants.
I didn't want to put up a feeder before (because I guess I didn't believe they would come) but now that I have seen one hummer I'm thinking about putting one out there. I've also bought more plants. Just bought some verbena today. Good luck to all...Terri

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 7:29PM
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Terri - Put a feeder up in the area you saw the hummer. They DO come back to their feeding areas. With a feeder as a constant source of nectar, it will show up more frequently. Mine must be sitting high in my backyard Oak tree and watches when I clean out and refill the feeders. Within 10 minutes after I hang the feeders back up, it's out there checking it out and enjoying breakfast. I see it come back throughout the day and often sits on the perch of the feeder and eats to it's heart's content. That timing first thing in the morning is what has allowed me to video tape my little visitor. Shows up like clockwork every morning for the first feeding of the day. I have read that the 1st long feeding is 25% of it's daily intake of food. Hopefully, your plants are close enough by that you can watch for a while to see if it shows up.

Happy Hummingbird watching!

    Bookmark   January 28, 2008 at 10:19PM
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I just checked back and saw your post. The only thing keeping me from putting up my feeder is that I have lots of ants in my yard. They aslo seem to enjoy the nectar from the flowering plants. How do you keep the ants out of your feeder, and how often do you change the "nectar?"
Thanks for that webcam link. You can hear them too, and I had been wondering what they sound like...Terri

    Bookmark   January 30, 2008 at 3:50PM
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Hi Terri - You can do one of two things that I find is helpful to avoid ants. You can move the feeder around to different locations that are still nearby each other or you can buy a small "Ant Moat" that attaches to the top of the feeder. I have both. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don't which is why I often move the feeder around. I bought the small black plastic ant moat from Wal-Mart last year for a $1. I wished I had bought more. I haven't seen them for sale at Wally world this year yet.

If you are creative, you could make your own ant moat:

Or purchase one online (Copy and paste into your address bar):

Good luck!

    Bookmark   February 1, 2008 at 9:00AM
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rowdy13(9a Valrico)

Perhaps I can be of some help with this topic. I found this list of posts while googling myself in hopes of quickly finding the address to an old Webpage of mine. I created the Florida Hummingbirds Web Page that is referenced in a couple of posts from a couple of years back.

You are most likely to see a hummingbird anywhere in the state during migrations (March-May and August - September) but you will only see that bird one or two days and that's only if you're looking when it passes through.

It is best if you can attract a wintering or summering birds because then they continue to return to the yard every day and multiple times per day and that increases the likelihood of being seen. Summering (breeding) birds are less likely the more south you go and very unlikely south of Tampa. Wintering birds are less likely the farther north you go but still possible throughout the state and into the states to our north.

I strongly recommend maintaining a feeder in view of an area that is often monitored. The flowers attract the birds to the yard but the feeder will guarantee that they will have a reliable food source and one that is easy to fill up at in the evening as well as on a cold early morning. It will also bring them to you where you're looking. Flowers will still be a preferred food source of the hummingbirds but the feeder will assure their staying around.

Another important aspect of a good hummingbird territory is growth. Unfortunately, clean cut well manicured gardens will not necessarily be chosen hummingbird habitats. They need cover as well as open perches for overseeing their territory. I provide a mix of heights of shrubs and trees for sitting as well as the flowers for feeding. I've also broken my yard up into territories, providing safe patches of flowerts (plus feeders) that can't be viewed from one high area in the yard. This allows for more than one hummingbird to reside in the yard. They are very territorial and will not share a territory. They are a bit more forgiving out west where they have to get along due to a lack of territories and an abundance of birds but here, where there are so few, they can be very vicious.

For the past year and a half, I've been maintaining a Website with a blog of the hummer activity in my Valrico (20 miles east of Tampa) yard at:
I've also got links to photos of my yard and past gardening adventures. Feel free to visit my Webpage and/or e-mail me with any questions.

Here is a link that might be useful: Yard Hummers

    Bookmark   February 16, 2008 at 9:33PM
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Here on the farm in Costa Rica we have 7 species of hummingbirds visit our garden. The Ruby throats arrive in Oct and are here until March.
I have found their favorite shrub is Portersweed, Stachytarpheta, either in the purple or coral. Good for both hiding in and perching on the dead flower stalks.
I know Portersweed thrives in Florida, but I don't know whether it blooms all year.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 3:10PM
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rowdy13(9a Valrico)

The pink (coral) Porterweed is one of the best hummingbird plants here. I have a purple one that also does well. They tend to just flower in the winter months which is perfect for the birds I have here. I also have a small red one that doesn't get as much use and is less cold hardy. My opinion may be skewed by its placement as well. I've got it out in the open more than the others and it's somewhat dwarfed by a Lion's Ear. We've got plenty of the native blue porterweed but they aren't as good because they only hold a couple of open flowers per stalk.

I've got a pink porterweed just outside my livingroom window that is growing just off the sidewalk so the plant is essentially only half of a bush. I keep it trimmed off at the sidewalk so I can watch inside the bush. I've got a birdbath on the ground at its base with a dripper that drips into the bath and a sprayer that sprays into the upper portion of the plant. This allows for great views of the birds bathing and showering. It's a favorite plant of the hummingbirds and they will often sit on an exposed branch in the top of the bush and shower in the spray.

I've used a similar plan in the backyard with a line of citrus where I planted them in a zigzagged pattern, too close together, with a path cut through the middle. I've got some red Pentas and a tall Bottlebrush with them as well and it is the favorite territory of the female Rufous (here for her 5th winter).

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 5:51PM
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I've had hummingbirds since December at least thats when I noticed them. They may have been here before but I would have had no clue since like you I have NEVER seen a Hummer here. I live in Hialeah which is Miami. It seems like they are nesting in an umbrella tree in my yard but I can't be sure. Thats where it appears that they are coming out of.
They fly up and down on top of that tree, go to all three feeders and attack my fire spike.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 6:31PM
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Glad to see you posting here, rowdy13! The email that you sent me was very helpful. I, like Janellelee, have at least one hummer that is still here since November. I don't know if it is one bird or many. But I believe it to be the same bird because of the behavior it exhibits each day.

I know that someone from Vero (just 15 minutes south of me) had a hummer all summer (June - August). Is it possible that on the east coast of Florida for some of these birds to be residents year round?

I will be noting and watching the hummer activity as the year progresses. I have heard so many different stories of birds that are here or not here during the summer months. I know that they definitely come during winter now that I have had hummers for 4 months. It will be interesting to see what happens from March on through the summer.

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 10:31PM
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We just moved to Ocala from NC where we had many Hummers visit daily about 6 months of the year. We saw the first Hummer in our yard in March. They are easy to spot, despite their tiny size, once you become familiar with them. Think of them as "hover craft" floating from one branch to another, or even backing-up...a trick unique to Hummers. Always a delight to spot our tiny friends!

    Bookmark   June 23, 2008 at 12:01PM
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fighting8r(10 Fort Myers Florida)

Hello all,
I see this thread is inactive since last year and thought I'd see if I can get it going again this summer.

I too have lived in Florida all of my 40 years. Growing up in Fort Lauderdale/Davie I don't remember EVER seeing one. I guess I figured they were like unicorns.
Living in Gainesville I remember seeing a couple, but did not have a lot of outdoor time in those years, between work, school, and, well, other indoor activities popular in the 21-year-old range.

Then living in Tallahassee for a few years, one day I had one of those "what was that" moments, where "that" turned out to be a hummingbird. I mentioned it and my roommate had a feeder still in the box, so I got it out and they were all over it! They'd swarm it while I was trying to hang it up after cleaning and re-filling. So don't let anyone tell you to stay away from them or you will scare them. They are fearless! Probably because they are so fast and can move in any direction they are pretty safe.

Well I've been back in South Florida now for several years, on the west coast now (Fort Myers), and have yet to see ONE hummer. And I have extensive butterfly gardens around the house, and have lots of butterflies, bees, etc. Have all the plants and vines mentioned in this thread, lots of RED around, have even tried the feeder route. Have yet to see one.

Anyway, lets hear from everyone on where they've been spotted this year. What say you??

Thanks really enjoy reading everyone's input.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 1:39PM
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I saw one this morning! It hung around the Firecracker plant for a while. First one I've noticed this year...but I'm sure it could have been around before. I was so excited!

    Bookmark   August 1, 2009 at 8:01PM
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Just saw a hummingbird flying by our pool.
I live in lakeland.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 12:45PM
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Orlando has plenty of hummingbirds, but I for one don't think you should use feeders here. The sugar solution in the feeders spoils so quickly, you can't keep up with changing them out.
One surprising place to visit and see hummingbirds is Disney World's Colorado Springs Resort. It's been landscaped to look like the southwestern dessert and the plant materials selected really attract them.

    Bookmark   August 3, 2009 at 9:12PM
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We recently moved from near Orlando to the coast near Titusville. The past five summers I spent in AK as a fishing guide and was amazed to see hummers of several varieties that far north. Our place has about an acre of land and lots of native plants. I decided to buy and hang a hummer feeder. In 24 hours, I saw our first hummer and everyday since we have seen a few. Today we had a baby come to the feeder. It was about half the size of the regular hummers and instead of flying about the feeder 100% of the time, it would land, sit for a few seconds and then fly again. Talk about being tiny!!!WOW:

Does anyone have a list of the varieties of hummers that are likely to be spotted in our area?

    Bookmark   June 9, 2010 at 6:04PM
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rowdy13(9a Valrico)


A list of species seen in Florida, and a few that have been observed in neighboring states can be found on my Species page at

Ruby-throated is the only/most "likely" species to be seen anywhere in the state. Rufous and Black-chinned are the next likely to be seen during the winter months with increasing reports of Buff-bellieds and Calliopes. Sightings of the other species listed would be very rare.

Steve in Valrico, FL

Here is a link that might be useful: - Species Page

    Bookmark   June 27, 2010 at 12:43PM
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I live in Hialeah and I get lots of hummers from November through April / May. I have FireSPike planted along with a few feeders


    Bookmark   July 12, 2010 at 10:32AM
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hi,I have lived in Florida all my life and am a master gardener. We have hummingbirds almost year round in my gardens. they especially come to the Plumbago at dusk and right after dawn. They also adore the jasmine varieties we offer them. Plant lots of Plumbago to see them visit daily in abundance. Enjoy and I hope you have beautiful garden days .

    Bookmark   January 15, 2011 at 2:45PM
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I don't know if mimosa trees grow in Florida but I have one in my backyard in PA and the hummers love it! I see many on it everyday in the summer.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2011 at 1:38PM
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. April 4th, we saw our first Hummingbird in Lake Worth Florida...this is the first year we have ever seen one..It lookds like a Ruby Throated Hummer...he sat on a dead branch in our Royal Poinciana tree and thankfully there is one bunch of red flowers still on the tree...he was going for them..We have Firecracker Plants all over the yard, but will watch and see if he goes to them....hope he comes back again and not just passing thru...we have lots of them in Bryson City N C and will be leaving soon for a few weeks... thanks for listening...Ruthie aand Bill

    Bookmark   April 5, 2011 at 12:09PM
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I'm new to this forum and decided to join as the information contained herein seems to be very useful. I'm from England and moved near to Jacksonville FL late last year to marry my fiance, and am very excited about seeing new wildlife that I've never had the opportunity to encounter before.
Just today in homage to it being spring I brought a very basic hummingbird feeder, filled it with a suitable feeding liquid and hung it outside.
On a hunch, I decided to come inside and research other ways to attract hummingbirds to my garden, only to discover that the birds migrate and I would have been better off hanging the feeder out in February/March *sob* And yes, I feel like a silly donkey for not doing my homework in advance.
Is all lost, or can I hope to see some straggling hummingbirds over the next few weeks?
Many thanks

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 5:19PM
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It doesn't matter when you put out your feeder, if they are in your area - they will come. Your best odds are having the right flowers in your yard, they may already be there!! I've lived in Orlando, and they do spend their summers there, so you'll most likely get residents and not just migrants. Keep your eye out, they are very small and fast!! You can usually hear their very faint chatter, that is what I usually hear first. You're welcome to open a new thread, this one is quite old and very long :) Christy

    Bookmark   April 22, 2012 at 7:41PM
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I live in the Brooksville, Florida area and have many hummingbirds which come to our feeders and flowers. It is important to change the feeder fluid every couple of days when it is very warm outside to keep the hummingbirds healthy.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:37PM
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We have many hummingbirds which come to our feeders and flowers in the Brooksville, Florida area.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:40PM
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Hummingbird at our feeder in Brooksville, Florida

    Bookmark   August 19, 2012 at 9:47PM
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FloridaHummgbrdLovr - Does Fred come to band in your yard in the winter? I know he often stops there on the way to Lakeland? Are you seeing many now? Do you have them year round?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 12:31PM
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Floridaredcoat, You could hang a feeder at any time and hummingbirds would come. You should add hummingbird attracting plants too.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 6:46AM
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FloridaRedCoat - I think Florida is different from many states as far as when to see hummers and certainly it appears that new species are showing up with more consistently than once thought.

What we do know for sure is that we get many more birds during migration and that SOME parts of Florida have hummers year round while others do not. And what is even more interesting is that even within a small area in one person's yard, hummers will be seen year round, yet just a mile or so away,, another person who also hangs feeders and has a yard full of plants that attract hummers in the winter will NOT have them in the summer. It appears that some of these year round birds aren't migrating. Most are females and an occasional male will be seen. This one gal has seen hummers year round now for two years. She thinks she may have seen babies this summer but a male has not been present faithfully as the female has.

For us in Lakeland, we start seeing migrating fall birds about the end of Aug. through early Dec. Then we start having birds hang around till April ish time frame. We start getting spring migrating ones before that but they only stay a week or so then move on. If we see them in May then it is pretty much thought that they are nesting somewhere close. As I said, parts of our town have them more of the year than others.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:31PM
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I live in Land O Lakes, FL about 20 miles north of Tampa. I had buttetly weed, firecracker, red and pink salvia and red mexican sage behind the pool area and hung a hummingbird feeder for over an year. In June had thrown some sun flower seeds and zinnia a seeds and they all bloomed beautifully. But, I never saw one single hummingbird.

While redesigning the land scape, the original flower bed was removed (just have torenia in a single line) and moved the humming bird feeder to about 6' away from its original place and planted firecracker, red and pink salvia and red mexican sage around it. They are hardly blooming and I didn't even fill the feeder thinking that the humming bird would never visit.

Placed a bird feeder with bird feed for Cardinals and Song birds on 8/30/2012 in the afternoon and and started seeing lots of cardinals by late afternoon. The next day at about 2:15 PM I noticed something (at that time thought it was a butterfly ) checking on my empty bird feeder and after checking all the 4 openings, it drank nectar out of pink salvia and flew away. Immediately I went and refilled. Also bought many more humming bird plants(fire spike, hamelia patens, etc..) and have hung 3 mire feeders and have been patiently waiting .. no sight of that tiny fella..

Will he ever visit that feeder again? what a shame... he visits me for the first time in my life and I had an empty feeder :( What should I do to make this tiny creature visit me again? I am not even sure if was a regular visitor before and I had not noticed or if he was just migrating bird and I may never see him again...

The fist time ever I saw a humming bird was in Costa Rica in Spring of 2011. That was when I bought my first hummingbird feeder!

    Bookmark   September 3, 2012 at 9:10PM
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Yup. This photo was taken about 2 days after I installed the Hummer feeder. The picture was taken by my friend, Diana. The location in Miami is S.W. 117th. ave. and Sunset Dr.

    Bookmark   November 27, 2012 at 9:27AM
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Hi everyone.....yet another thread that started over six years ago and I'm only just reading it! I'm new on here but have read many posts without commenting. I love all your comments. I live in Kissimmee Florida, we have around 2 1/2 acres with many oaks and a river running through it and it has always attracted many four legged visitors along with the birds, I even had a river otter trample on my toes in his hurry to get to the water, I must have looked like a tree or something as I didn't unnerve him at all lol. Been in this home ten years now and due to it's size I leave most of it to nature (well that's my story and I'm sticking to it!) anyway....I used to put up a hummer feeder right outside our kitchen window and sure enough within days saw a couple of hummers. Now I just plant loads of red colored flowers which draws them here and along with Zinnias/Pentas/milkweed/pineapple sage/blue porterweed etc etc all in a bed no bigger than about 30 feet long and yesterday I had my best visit yet......FIVE hummers all at once darting over my head all fighting for the little patch of said plants, mainly the one sage plant which is ablaze right now. They were all arguing over who could feed first. Don't ask me how I managed to count them all but I did and there were 5! My kind of heaven :o)

    Bookmark   December 15, 2012 at 4:08PM
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I have red shrimp plants in front of my front porch. The hummers love it. They'll make dozens of visits in the time it takes me to read the newspaper. They do migrate because they disappear at certain times of the year, but right now, they're plentiful. I live on the border between Deltona and Osteen, which is between Orlando and Daytona on I-4.

    Bookmark   January 12, 2013 at 7:55AM
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Hello, all. I'm "late to this party," so to speak... but wanted to add my two cents worth. I live in Titusville, Florida... in a subdivision. I have 3/4 of an acre, with a very small "canal" running (and I use that term loosely... it's sorta stagnant) behind my property. I see hummingbirds (I don't know what kind) from Spring through Fall. It is always at dawn and dusk, which makes them harder to spot. For me, they are most attracted to my Cape Honeysuckle, Camellias, and my Aloe when it's blooming. I have Firebush, Firespike, Porterweed, Pentas, and many other plants that are said to attract hummingbirds, but I only ever see them on those three. After years of having them visit, I still see one out of the corner of my eye and think it's a bee until I turn and look right at it. You kinda have to already be outside and sitting still before the sun fully rises or JUST as it's about to disappear to see them. They are VERY nervous little guys. Mine haven't gotten used to me yet, so even turning my head can scare them off.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Hello, all. I'm "late to this party," so to speak... but wanted to add my two cents worth. I live in Titusville, Florida... in a subdivision. I have 3/4 of an acre, with a very small "canal" running (and I use that term loosely... it's sorta stagnant) behind my property. I see hummingbirds (I don't know what kind) from Spring through Fall. It is always at dawn and dusk, which makes them harder to spot. For me, they are most attracted to my Cape Honeysuckle, Camellias, and my Aloe when it's blooming. I have Firebush, Firespike, Porterweed, Pentas, and many other plants that are said to attract hummingbirds, but I only ever see them on those three. After years of having them visit, I still see one out of the corner of my eye and think it's a bee until I turn and look right at it. You kinda have to already be outside and sitting still before the sun fully rises or JUST as it's about to disappear to see them. They are VERY nervous little guys. Mine haven't gotten used to me yet, so even turning my head can scare them off.

    Bookmark   January 14, 2013 at 8:49AM
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I grew up here and have been back for 19 years. I've seen a grand total of 2 hummingbirds in that time. Last year we had one - for one day - working over the coleus that was in bloom. I think he was either lost or just passing through.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2013 at 8:05AM
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I found a Herb they love dearly,and if you protect it in the winter,you will have lovely flowers that the hummingbirds love. Its called pineapple sage, I find it in nurserys,Lowes,home depot and Ace Hardware stores.Its almost like the firecracker,only with light green leaves. Any red flower they love.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2013 at 3:31PM
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marilyn_fl(zone 9 Florida)

I am hoping that my hummingbird plants are going to be enough to attract them. The development where I live does not allow feeders. I have just planted about a dozen plants, and hope by fall they will be large enough to attract some hummers.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2013 at 3:42PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Keep in mind that regular visitation by any animal
is a function of the degree to which it needs or wants what your yard offers.

Tasty plants or a feeder are no special attraction where hundreds of other yards
also have them. (Yours would draw if they vastly outnumbered everyone else's.)

Frequency and duration of animal visitations also are a function of comfort level.
Noise, smoke, predators (real or perceived), openness vs cover.
Such factors apply not only to your yard but also to the route(s) to it.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 4:57PM
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I live in Hollywood fl and I get returning hummingbird every year. Right now I have 4 and one I know for sure came last year because he perch in the same branch and only likes the feeder. The other 3 hits mostly flowers. Here is list of top plants in my yard and I spend a lot of time watching them zip on all the flowers so cool :)

1.Firespike any color
2.Chinese Hat
3.Cigar Plant
4.Hummingbird flower aka rabbit ears
5.Cape Honey Suckle
6.Porterweed pink and purple
8.Cardinal Creeper vine
9 Firecracker plant

  1. Red Shrimp plant
  2. Heliconia
  3. Bolivian sunset

I also read they like Hong kong orchid tree

    Bookmark   December 28, 2013 at 12:01AM
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I have had hummingbirds in my yard for years and my female stays year round. I have had the young male stay one winter. But, my female always stays. I make sure she has food year round.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2014 at 11:29AM
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zzackey(8b GA)

We only have about 2 ruby throated ones visit us. I bought an ant control thingey at Lowe's last year. It worked great. It goes between the hook and the feeder. I just saw one at Ace I like every better. It attaches the same way, but you just keep the thing full of water and the ants won't cross it. The other one had to be replaced every year. Ours are here from March to Sept. They need a tree to perch in nearby, when they get startled or tired. I found the feeders with the big flowers on the side and the perches below are the ones mine prefer. We had one sit for 15 minutes at least one time on the perch. it must have been exhausted. My Golden dewdrop is the favorite place for mine. I can stand next to the plant and look at them about one foot away. It's so awesome! Their wings beat so fast it sounds like a small plane buzzing. I don't use the colored nectar. That is bad for them.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 6:03PM
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Zackey ,I noticed you said that the red nectar is bad for them. Why? We have a feeder with red nectar and at least three hummers.I use the ant guards, too.
We watch one that sits on a certain tree limb way up in the back yard. He sits in that tree and watches for another hummer to head toward the feeder and then chases him away. It is so funny to watch him.
They also love my orange blossoms . I , too, see them at the morning dew drop along with birds, bees and butterflies ! Again why is the red nectar bad ?

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 4:24PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Because of the red dye. Many sites will tell you this. If the feeder is red and the flower is red they will still come to it.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2014 at 5:50PM
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why are all the nectars sold red?

    Bookmark   July 26, 2014 at 10:34PM
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We have a house in the Lower Florida Keys we have had a curious little hummingbird visit our screen porch almost everyday around lunch time.

    Bookmark   February 10, 2015 at 4:20PM
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Korey Phillips-Meyers apparently this is wide spread in the US as well. I know I have lived in Florida for over 30 years. Plants work better than feeders in my experience however, Florida has a very very large population of outdoor and feral cats which has deleted the parakeets, which would line the telephone lines by the hundreds. Now you don't see the parrots much or other tropical birds much anymore. Between the trappers and cats it is getting harder and harder to find them.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2015 at 12:17PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

Mary Ann, I honestly don't know why.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 12:11PM
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Research says that although red dye has not been proven to be harmful to humans, they do not know if it is dangerous to the hummingbirds. It is though, one more chemical that is not necessary and therefore should be avoided. Natural nectar in flowers is not red and it is not believed to be necessary to draw in the birds. The red on the feeder is enough. Besides, hummingbirds use other flowers that are not red as well as those that are. It is the level of sugar content in the nectar that is important and attractive to the birds.

Companies think that coloring the nectar is a selling point. I am surprised though that they continue to do it, although those new to hanging feeders may feel it is an advantage, those who have been doing it for awhile know to just throw it away if it is included in the feeder.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 5:24PM
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Just wanted to come back and say that I am mboston from some of the older posts. I noticed that I first posted back i n 2007, when I first started seeing hummers. Since 2009, I have been hanging feeders and planting more hummer plants, many of which are also for my butterflies.

Since 2009, Fred Bassett has some each year and banded here in Lakeland and in my yard.

He comes in mid Jan and usually captures and bands 2-3 birds, with more in the yard that won't go in the traps. He has also recaptured the same bird from previous years. Plus, I have had 3 Rufous banded since 2009, the first was an immature female, who he recaptured the next year, and 2 immature males. One of those was this winter. We think that I have had a Black Chinned who has returned for visits from previous years. This year was pretty good - I had the Rufous, a female Ruby, 2 adult male Rubies, and the questionable Black chinned stay the winter. My migrating birds show up from Aug till Dec when birds start staying. As of now, I still have a female Ruby, one of the adult male Rubies that was banded from those who were here all winter. I have a couple others who I think are migrants from there behavior. They tend to stay a few days then leave. My Rufous disappeared for several days, returned then left for good.

I don't usually see any from mid April on unless its a late migrant. But I have a friend here who lives about 3 miles away and she has them all year round. She lives near a lake and an orange grove, perfect setting for nest building. Another friend who lives close to her sees them off and on all summer but not staying in her yard. They could be the ones from the other friends house, which is just a half mile away or so.

Glad I got the notice that people are still posting here. There is a hummingbird facebook group hosted by Steve Backes, is anyone is interested. Also Journey North maps migrations during the fall and spring.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 5:42PM
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Hey, Mary, it's good to see you posting again and even better to see that you are having so much luck attracting hummingbirds. It's impressive that you see so many over the winter months, especially the Rufous and the Black-chinned. I only had one or possibly two this winter, both male Ruby-throateds.

I believe that I have two now, both males, and at least one I think is from the migration. I typically have one or two males here starting now until August or so and at least two females--but they tend to stick around with their young until late September or early October.

There are a lot of flowers in bloom now, but I think their favorite is the coral honeysuckle, which is in full bloom. Probably the best overall plant in my garden for attracting hummingbirds is the cuphea Schumannii.

Mary, did the one I sent you grow?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 8:39PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Tom, what would say is the butterflies' collective opinion of your
Cuphea schumanii?

    Bookmark   March 17, 2015 at 11:12PM
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The Schumannii do get visits, but mostly by butterflies with a long proboscis like the yellow butterflies. For me the best nectar plants for butterflies are the pentas, especially the large red ones that one usually cannot find in the large box stores. The next best grouping of nectar plants for me are the porterweeds. The large purple ones are also excellent for hummingbirds. I would say that the large purple porterweed (Stachytarpheta frantzi) is probably the best plant in the area for combined butterfly and hummingbird use. They both love this plant.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 4:35AM
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Good morning, Tom. I am sad to say that I didn't get the cuphea you sent me to live. I think I was away for a couple of weeks just afterwards and it dried out and never came back. They are not easy to find here.

Both hummers and butterflies love the Coral Porterweed. The only problem with it is that it grows on such long stems (has big leaves compared to the purple), so its not compact as the
purple one can be if you keep it trimmed. i have the two side by side and the purple one is
covering that side of the window now.

I think one of my best butterfly plants is the Jatropha, Coral tree. Nearly every species loves it and it is so unique looking, very tropical. Ths Spinach tree is also a favorite with a variety of butterflies and the salvias are very popular.

I will try to upload a picture of my Rufous from this winter. He came as an immature and grew up to a big boy quickly.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 5:29AM
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Such a handsome young fellow, Mary. Congratulations on getting him to visit you.

I have a jotropha that is in part shade and the butterflies really like it, even though it doesn't have as many flowers on it as it would if it were in full sun. I got rid of the coral porterweed after a few tries. It got very large and it only bloomed part of the year and provided too much shade for other plants when it wasn't blooming. The hummers really did like it, though.

What's a spinach tree? I have to look that one up.

I'm going to start some Schumannii cuttings soon. Let me know if you want me to send you some.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 7:22AM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Thanks to both for information about Porterweeds. I'll try to get a purple.

My giift Jatropha mutifida (rooted small offshoot) became a tall thick branchless many-leaved stalk that made one flower at a time at top.
Plenty of sun.
In pursuit of more flowers, I cut stalk low in order to force multiple stalks.
Ten offshoots ( it took forever), one of which grew. Now 2'.
Three-year setback, nothing achieved.
I am thinking that I started with something that is generationally so distant from a seed-grown original that little productive potential remains.
My thinking is based not only on above-described behavior, but also on that of its that of its four offspring grown from its seeds : they just plain stopped at 1 ' . Alive and forever stagnant.
Is my understanding of plant genetics, reflected here, even accurate?

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 10:35AM
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Tom, the spinach tree is Cnidoscolus aconitifolius, also called Chaya. The leaves are edible if well cooked but poisonous if not! Not taking any chances there. its hardy for 9b, 10a and 10b. Four - the Jatropha I mentioned is Jatropha Multifida. They grow like crazy here. I think the germination rate here is 100% for any seeds that fall. Its not uncommon for us to pull 10-20 out from under the big trees. If you are close to Lakeland, you care certainly welcome to come get baby ones and or seed. I have never had the need to take cuttings. It is hardy in zones 10-12 but does okay here in 9 if the winters aren't too cold. We didn't lose any the last 3 winters and babies popped up throughout the winter.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 11:21AM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Not close, but I feel like going someplace, so I'll make a little day trip.
And deliver Tom's cuttings to you if he wants me to swing past to get them.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 12:29PM
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Thanks, that would be great - you are welcome to visit.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 1:06PM
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zzackey(8b GA)

My most visited hummingbird plant is my Golden Dewdrop bush. I can stand about a foot away and one will come up and buzz me and feed on the flowers. The berries are poisonous to dogs if eaten.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 7:05PM
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You can always have cuttings, just let me know. I don't know if it is appropriate to leave one's email here. Without that I'm not sure we can get in touch with each other outside of this forum.

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 8:55PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

I still have your email addr from when we wrote a few times.
it would take me a long time to find Mary's, because it was much longer ago when we wrote.
Members can communicate outside the forum, within the site,
if they enable messaging. (Can disable again thereafter.)

    Bookmark   March 18, 2015 at 11:35PM
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Thanks. It would have taken me forever to find that myself. When I click on your name it doesn't show me your email address. I believe that you can email me now.

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 4:51AM
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I think anyone can email me through here but Tom, you should have my email address.

Four - did you say that we have emailed before? Was it under a different name?

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 1:22PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Mary, no one can until you configure your public profile accordingly. (see the instructional graphic that I posted above). Tom did so, and now his public profile contains the button "Message" which is used by others
to contact him.
Send him a message. Also send one to me if button is in my public profile (we do not get to see it in our own respective public profiles. I poked at the designers to correct that flaw.).

    Bookmark   March 19, 2015 at 2:01PM
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I can't find your email anymore, Mary. Can you send me a message?

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 3:52PM
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Four can you tell me how you created that instructional email? If'it's too much work don't bother. Hope to meet you soon.

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 3:59PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

Too much to write. Easier when spoken, easiest when shown hands-on, either /both of which I will do gladly.

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 5:03PM
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Leave me a message with some info so I can contact you by telephone or text.

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 5:17PM
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four(9B (near 9a))

I did so in my reply (sent " 1 hour ago", it says) to your message of 15:44.

    Bookmark   last Thursday at 6:08PM
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