Outside of my studio is a water fountain which plays host to many birds throughout the day. I often have my easel set up there as well and nothing is more fun than to hear a loud helicopter type sum right next to you ear. Usually they are attracted to the bright colors on the canvas. That's when I turn into a statue and just freeze to glance from the corner of my eye at this brightly colored, tiny guest.
My neighbor has a hummingbird feeder and I recently learned that although the red dye in the sugar water is attractive to the birds,the food coloring is very damaging to their bodies and can lead to birth defects. It is best to buy the clear solution for the feeders.
If you like to make your own sweet nectar mix 4 parts of water to 1 part sugar. Boil the water and stir in the sugar until it dissolves. Store in fridge until ready for use. If the temperature outside is 80 degrees or higher, the sugar water will last 2 days, if temperature is between 70-80 degrees 3 days and 60 degrees or less 4 days.
The store bought kind last a bit longer and can usually be mixed with warm tap water.
The other option would be to make your garden hummingbird friendly by attracting them with the right plants and flowers:
Trees and Shrubs
* Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
* Cape Honeysuckle
* Flame Acanthus
* Flowering Quince
* Red Buckeye
* Tree Tobacco
* Turk's Cap
* Coral Honeysuckle
* Cypress Vine
* Morning Glory
* Scarlet Runner Bean
* Trumpet Creeper
Some may be annuals or perennials depending on climate.
* Bee Balm (Monarda)
* Cardinal Flower
* Coral Bells
* Four O'Clocks
* Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
* Little Cigar
* Beard Tongue (and other penstemons)
* Various Salvia species
* Shrimp Plant
NOTE: Japanese Honeysuckle attracts hummingbirds, too, but it's an invasive and troublesome exotic species that's no longer recommended.
List via Hummingbirds
Photos: Copyright Enzie Shahmiri
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