Tuesday’s Tips — Hummingbird Chicks & Gardens

It’s been such a thrill to see our Mama Hummingbird as she cares for her eggs. I wrote last week about finding her nest and promised to keep you updated on the latest. Well, drumroll please…both of her eggs have hatched!

Last Tuesday and Wednesday I noticed Mama spending more time than usual in her nest. On Thursday she left her perch long enough for me to take a peek and I saw two funny-looking little gumbys laying in the shattered remains of their eggs. One baby was all curled up and the other bobbled it’s noggin, beak up, looking for it’s Mama.

I was able to grab a couple more shots on Saturday at which point the two little babies started to look more like birds than tiny aliens. You can see that they are starting to get their feathers.

I haven’t been able to get any shots this morning, but as soon as I do I’ll add it the to this post.

Below are some tips on how you can create a garden that hummingbirds will love to call home.

Provide Food and Shelter

Hummingbirds eat flower nectar and small insects (which is what they feed their babies). They also will eat a sugar and water solution from a feeder (1 part sugar to 4 parts water – NO RED DYE, no honey), but you must be diligent about keeping your feeder clean by washing it with a brush and warm water (no soap) every 3 – 4 days. I don’t keep a feeder because when I do the ants always find it and it’s a terrible mess.

Plants provide food, shelter and nest-building materials for hummingbirds and all manner of small creatures in your garden. And don’t be such a neat freak — our Mama Bird used lots of spider webs to build her nest, which is why I leave them all over the place (not really, I just never get around to removing them).

I’ve been watching Mama Bird as she makes her way around my garden. Two of her favorite stops are the lavender and the jasmine. Hummingbirds prefer red and yellow flowers, but will visit others as well. As you see on the list below, you can (and should) plant plants that will provide nectar for most of the growing season.

  • Azalea
  • Bee Balm (Monarda)
  • Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
  • Canna
  • Cardinal Flower
  • Cape and Coral Honeysuckle
  • Columbine
  • Coral Bells
  • Currants
  • Firespike
  • Flame Acanthus
  • Flowering Quince
  • Four O’Clocks
  • Foxglove
  • Fuchsia
  • Gooseberries
  • Hosta
  • Hummingbird Mint (Agastache)
  • Lantana
  • Lavender
  • Lupine
  • Manzanita
  • Monkey Flower
  • Penstemons – especially red and yellow
  • Scarlet Runner Bean
  • Salvias
  • Summer Holly
  • Trumpet Creeper
  • Weigela
  • Yucca

Many of these will plants attract and feed other pollinators, like bees and butterflies, as well.

Provide Water

A reliable, clean source of water is another thing birds look for when deciding to build nests. The bees will thank you too. Did you know that bees drink water? They do — check it out.)

NEVER Use Pesticides

I use only organic or mechanical means of pest control and I leave some of the bad bugs in the garden so the birds (and beneficial bugs and lizards) have food. Pesticides will kill all the small bugs that hummingbirds eat for protein. Pesticides can also make birds sick, or could kill them.

Our babies should be in the nest for a couple of more weeks and I will, of course, be sharing more pics. Then they’ll be out on their own and hopefully coming back to my garden when it’s time to build their nests.

4 thoughts on “Tuesday’s Tips — Hummingbird Chicks & Gardens

Add yours

  1. This is marvelous, Barbara, thank you so much for posting this! Just yesterday I mentioned on my blog about how I’d love to attract hummingbirds and here is this marvelous post!

  2. Those pictures are priceless!! I’ve never seen little baby hummingbirds before. Hard to picture the beauties they turn in to from those little critters. Thank you for posting.

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