25 perfect plants for hummingbirds

Categories: Wild Bird


Columbine for hummingbirds

A humming bird feeds at a columbine flower on a misty morning.

Every bird fancier knows that certain species are attracted to certain plants – whether for food, protection or a place to roost overnight. For hummingbirds, plant selection is especially important since they have evolved to feed in a very specific manner. They require sugary nectar to keep their wings flapping and their metabolism running at the speed of a jackhammer.

In nature, that means they seek out plants where they can harvest this nectar — usually from trumpet- or tube-shaped flowers. As humans, we’ve also helped these little birds along with Perky-Pet® Hummingbird Feeders. The ideal backyard habitat, however, includes a mix of feeders and flowers, and with a little gardening know-how, you can open up your yard to a steady parade of hummingbirds.

Setting aside time and space to develop such a welcoming habitat isn’t as difficult as you think though. All you need to do is plant a few bushes and flowers and let nature do the rest. For the most part, hummingbird-friendly flora requires only a few hours of maintenance a year.

Hummingbirds favorite color

Hummingbirds don’t naturally prefer red colored objects — humans have trained them to associate the color with nectar.

 

Hummingbirds and the color of attraction

The first thing you need in any hummingbird birdscape is color. You’ve probably noticed that every Perky-PetⓇ Hummingbird Feeder has splashes of red. That’s because many hummingbirds have learned to investigate red-colored objects. The Wild Bird Journal Blog Team has read reports of the little guys zipping up to people wearing red shirts, investigating a flickering wind spinner  or even carefully examining red-handled garden tools.

Sure, hummingbirds are curious about other colors too – oranges, purples and yellows – but red can really entice them into a yard and a hummingbird feeder or two is the best all-season way to do it. After all, feeders don’t wilt in the sun or fail to bloom after a frost. Unlike plants, feeders are around for good and offer a steady supply of food. The only way a feeder can fail is if the homeowner forgets to refill them.

That’s where you become an important part of a hummingbird’s life: Once a hummingbird finds a “garden” of well-maintained hummingbird feeders it’s going want to stick around.

At that point, it’s also helpful to make your yard an inviting birdscape. You want your yard to be the perfect home for a hummer, and you can do that by offering shelter and additional sources of food. The more comforts you have available, the more hummingbirds will visit your feeders.

Perfect plants for hummingbirds

Making a natural habitat for hummingbirds is key to enhancing their stay.

That means you’ll want plenty of plants for them to use as food sources and a place to roost and rest.

Our list below includes four divisions of hummingbird-friendly plants. The first section covers flowers — these are mostly annuals that you’ll need to replant each year. Next are shrubs and bushes, which work great as ornamental features around the home. Third we offer a short list trees that hummingbirds can use as food sources. Finally, the list includes a variety of vines that can be planted near a trellis, fence or arbor.

Hummingbird flowers

Hummingbirds naturally seek out trumpet-shaped flowers, like these Hollyhocks, for their nectar.

 

Azaleas for Hummingbirds

Azaleas bushes provide plenty of feeding opportunities for hummingbirds.

 

Perfect plants for hummingbirds

Honeysuckle is a great plant for bringing hummingbirds to your yard.

BirdWatchers.com offers this thorough list of 25 hummingbird-friendly plants:

* Several species are suitable for hummingbirds

Not all of these plants will be perfect for your temperature zone and specific climate. It’s best to check the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map and find out which of these plants are best for your area.

Likewise it’s important to remember that most hummingbirds stick to a very limited climate zone of their own. The vast majority stay west of the Rockies or in a band from Texas to California.

East Coasters, on the other hand, will want plants that specifically attract the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, the only hummer that regularly travels east of the Rockies.

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How the Hummerbar® found a home at Perky-Pet®

Categories: Product Spotlight

Hummerbar inventor

The inventor of the Hummerbar® developed the design of the revolutionary feeder in his yard.

Greg H., the man who would become the inventor of the Perky-Pet® Hummerbar®, had a problem we would all love to have: There were too many hummingbirds visiting his feeders.

It all started about four years ago after Greg realized he had a lot of hummingbirds to feed, and, as a result, a lot of feeders to clean.

“We had a hummingbird feeder set up that attracted hummingbirds, and always had two or three waiting to feed. We put another up and that brought in more. Just for fun, we put up a third. We kept putting up more and more feeders and more came.”

The problem, Greg explained, was that filling and cleaning was too much for all those feeders. It was a time drain, but he still wanted all those hummingbirds to visit.

“We tried to figure out a feeder that could feed them all at once,” he said, noting there would be a lot less cleaning involved with a single feeder that served more hummingbirds
That notion was the start of the project where Greg and his son, Steven, would soon develop the Perky-Pet® Hummerbar®, a revolutionary horizontal hummingbird tube feeder that permits tens of hummingbirds to feed at one time.

The first hummerbar

To build the feeder, the father-son team first had to come up with the right design. Some were discarded along the way but it really seemed to mesh when they dreamed up “a long tube with a cap on each end.”

“We had some success with that design, and it was the dawn of the Hummerbar®,” Greg explained.

With the basic idea in his head, Greg said he had some work to do. “I did about a year’s worth of research on hummingbirds — the length of their tongues, calculating angles and determining positioning. I also wanted to make sure the birds could see over the tube.”

He explained that in many other feeders, the hummingbird instincts kick in and they frequently to check for danger because the reservoirs can block their views. With the Hummerbar®, the hummingbirds drinking from it have a clear 360-degree view of their environment.

Other ideas for the multi-bird feeder didn’t make it to the final version. “We made a window version,” Greg said. “We tried making it into a triangle or a square.”

Ultimately though, the final design was dictated by a basic rule of manufacturing, he said. “The easiest way to get it to market was to keep it simple,” Greg explained.

The earliest versions also looked a bit different than what you can buy at birdfeeders.com. One of the first had a stripe of red paint along the top of the feeder. Others had their flowers painted on with puff paint to give them a three-dimensional look. Another version was painted to look like a branch with flowers.

Ultimately, the final version came together: A clear, horizontal tube with stoppers at each end and suspended by cords.

The clear tube was chosen to help monitor nectar levels, but it ended up having an added benefit, Greg explained.

“The clear tube magnifies your view of the action of the hummingbird’s tongue. They dart out 20 to 80 times a second. Now you can really see it,” Greg said.

With the final design in place, Greg said his Hummerbar® became a neighborhood hit.

“Once we created it, many of my neighbors and friends said they wanted one,” Greg noted,” I live at an apartment complex and have people park their stroller and sit and watch it.”

With that sort of interest, he knew he had something special and took the next step. “I went through patent process. Then I researched bird feeder companies and I knew that Perky-Pet® had the broadest penetration in the market.”

He also appreciated that Perky-Pet® has been a trusted brand in hummingbird feeding since 1958, he felt confident the company would be the best partner to bring his hard work to market.
Not long after, Perky-Pet® and Greg reached a deal on the feeder and the Hummerbar® was put into production and debuted in Spring 2015.

Advice for inventors

Greg, who works in sales, marketing and consulting, has some advice for other inventors.

“I’m a real big advocate for inventors to keep advancing the process,” he said. “Focus on the passion of the project and for every cool idea you have, you need to make it. Go to Home Depot and assemble it from the parts from there. You can do it.”

He added that planning is really important. Be prepared to make dozens of versions and do it economically.

The Hummerbar® wasn’t the product of a massive workshop either. “We did it in our apartment and out in the patio.”

Once your final design is set and you’ve had your patent approved, “Come up with something close and let a manufacturer like Perky-Pet® see it. The most important part of a new product is to demonstrate the utility of it, and that’s what you have to be prepared to do.”

The patent is absolutely vital as a manufacturers such as Perky-Pet® won’t look at designs without a patent in place.

Now that Greg has his new hummingbird feeder in production, he’s realized he’s a victim of his own success.

“I go through a gallon of hummingbird nectar a day with my 2-foot Hummerbar®.”

Feeding with the Hummerbar®

The horizontal design of the Hummerbar® allows more hummingbirds to feed at once.

The Hummerbar®

Perky-Pet® introduced the Hummerbar® in Spring 2015 after working with the inventor and the company’s engineers to make it manufacturable. Two versions of the unique hummingbird feeder are now available. The 2-foot Hummerbar® has 22 feeding ports and the 4-foot version has 44 ports. Once the horizontal feeder is leveled, the Hummerbar® is easy to fill, just remove its plug and add hummingbird nectar.

The Hummerbar® is designed to simulate the angles and depth of the nectar flowers the little birds love so much. By mimicking these features, hummingbirds can reach the bottom of the Hummerbar® tube with their long tongues.

Visit birdfeeders.com to purchase the Hummerbar® that’s best for you.

Do you have any questions about the Hummerbar or hummingbird feeders? Leave a message in the comments below or visit us on Facebook.

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‘Into the Nest’ is a fascinating look at bird behavior

Categories: Product Spotlight

 

 

"Into the Nest"

“Into the Nest” looks at the mating and nesting behavior of a variety of North American birds.

Most of people have a fairly limited exposure to birds. People see them when they are visiting bird feeders or when they flit around our yard.

“Into the Nest,” a new book by bird experts Laura Erickson and Marie Read, shows us another critical aspect in the lives of birds — their mating and nesting habits as well as the growth of chicks into fledglings.

Taking a selected list of bird species, the authors explore a variety of bird behavior and each bird is selected because of its unique story. Likewise, the species chosen are limited to North American birds, and that makes it all the more interesting to bird feeder fans — these are the birds we see on a regular basis, not some strange species from Asia or Africa. Those same bird feeder fans will gush over the copious illustrations too because inside we see some gorgeous photos of some of our favorites — including Blue Jays, American Goldfinches, Northern Cardinals and several varieties of hummingbird and oriole.

The chapter on the Northern Flicker is a good example of how interesting this book is. In just two pages, it covers the basics of the how the species selects a mate, creates a nest in a wood cavity and then raises a family. It’s chock-full of facts too — did you know a female Northern Flicker is an “indeterminate layer”? That means she’s a bit like a chicken — she’ll keep producing eggs if she doesn’t have one to incubate.

The photos within each section are just as helpful. You’re treated to a shots of eggs, nests and baby birds in each stage of their growth. This is especially helpful when you spot a recently fledged bird that hasn’t developed its adult feathers just yet. Juvenile Cedar Waxwings, for example, don’t have the sleek look of their parents, but they do have the black band on their eyes. The sheer volume of gorgeous photography dedicated to each species is definitely a major plus.

That being said, it should be noted that this book isn’t just a collection of pretty pictures. It’s packed with high-quality information that you wouldn’t get from a regular coffee table book. Inside, you’ll learn the particulars of hummingbird mating displays and why Brown-headed Cowbirds leave chick-rearing to other species. If those tidbits are something you find interesting, then you’ll love “Into the Nest.”

In the back of the book, the publisher provides some additional resources — maps of all the featured birds’ ranges, a glossary of certain bird-specific terms and a bird anatomy chart to help you understand their markings and physical structure.

If you’re even a casual bird lover, “Into the Nest” is still a handy, informative book. The pictures and fact boxes are great for quick reference. The text isn’t a dry biology lesson — more like a fact-driven Discovery Channel special in book form.

 

 

Into the Nest Goldfinch Page

“Into the Nest” features a variety of North American birds, including the American Goldfinch. Click here for a better view of the page!

 

About ‘Into the Nest’

 

 

Into the Nest Northern Flicker page

“Into the Nest” teaches readers about the birds in their backyards, including the Northern Flicker. Click here for a better view of the page!

 

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5 tips for bird window strike prevention

Categories: Bird Feeding Basics

Suction cup hummingbird feeder

Bird feeders that attach to your windows are a great way to reduce window strikes by birds. The feeder breaks up the illusion of a safe flight path.

One of America’s favorite pastimes is enjoying the sight of colorful wild birds flitting from feeder to feeder and zipping across any open space. For some, it becomes a morning ritual to sit by the breakfast table and enjoy a bird oasis on the other side of their windows. But for birds, those windows can be a source of danger.

On average, approximately 300 million to 1 billion birds die each year from collisions with glass on buildings. Most of these collisions happen around large glass-covered office buildings, but they can also happen at homes too.

What causes these collisions? The primary issue is that wild birds are unable to recognize that glass is a physical barrier. Birds often mistake the outdoor scene reflected on the window for a safe route to travel. When they are startled, they may attempt to flee to the apparent safety presented by a window reflection.

Bird window strike houseplants

Birds can confuse houseplants on your windowsills for a safe place to hide when predators are near. They don’t realize there’s a pane of glass between them and your houseplants.

So, what can you do to help reduce the likelihood of window strikes at your home? These five tips for window strike prevention will help you keep your feathered friends safe during their visits to your yard.

1. Move Your Bird Feeders Closer

If you’re worried about window strikes, we recommend you take steps to move your favorite bird feeders closer to windows. By selecting a window feeder or changing the feeder location so it’s nearer to a window, you will be taking the first step in window strike prevention. By moving feeders closer, it means a startled bird won’t be flying into a window at full speed, which limits the severity of the collision.

2. Distort The Reflections

Suspend branches, use bird screens, silhouette stickers, or even plastic wrap to lessen the reflections birds see in windows. The leading cause of window strikes is because of a reflected scene in the window. Birds assume that the reflection of a backyard habitat is a good source of cover when attempting to flee from predators. By breaking up the reflection seen from the outside of the window, you can help to keep wild birds safe and healthy.
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Bird Migration: Birds of the Pacific Flyway

Categories: Wild Bird

Pacific Flyway migration map

The Pacific flyway migration route traces the West Coast of North and South America.


The West Coast has a certain allure to it — the sunsets over the Pacific and the fame of California — are just a few of the features that we humans love. For many birds, hummingbirds in particular, it’s a vital region that stretches from the southern points of Mexico to the entirety of Alaska. Those hummers, and many other bird species, use this strip of land as their primary migration route, which is called the Pacific Flyway.

Bird Migration: Pacific Flyway

The states generally covered by the Pacific flyway include Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada, Montana, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

A portion of Canada is also included in the flyway. The provinces and territories these birds head toward include Alberta, British Columbia, Northwest Territories, Nunavut and Yukon Territory.

Some birds will fly even farther — into Eastern Russia — for the summer.

The other flyways of North America include the Central, the Atlantic and the Mississippi. Flyway maps on other sites can be slightly different than the one you see above — showing fewer states for each flyway. We opted to be more inclusive in which areas to include in the Pacific Flyway. (more…)

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