Traveling to Hummingbird Heaven: My Trip to Joy Creek Nursery
If there is a garden visitor welcomed by virtually every gardener, it’s the hummingbird. Its brilliant colors, start-and-stop flight and light-speed lifestyle seems to appeal to everyone.
Attracting hummingbirds is one of the easiest and most satisfying way to bring wildlife into the garden. Not long ago (late fall 2012) I visited Joy Creek Nursery 18 miles north of Portland. JC had a wonderful collection of late flowering hardy fuchsias and lots of penstammons so I knew we would see hummingbirds galore.
Here is a video and a list of plants that are guaranteed hummingbird magnets. Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
Facts About Our Jewel-Toned Garden Visitors
Here are some fun facts and tips about hummers:
Don’t dye the sugar water! Everyone knows that bright red attracts hummingbirds. But, some people still dye their sugar water bright red. It’s not necessary. All that’s needed is a little flash of bright red near the feeder to bring them to the sugar water.
Don’t stop the feedings in winter. I think most people know now that if you start to feed hummingbirds for the winter, you should continue to do so until spring. Remember though, that “feeding” also involves cleaning the feeding tubes and warming them when we get our day or two of freezing weather. Hummers lower their body heat and their systems at night to conserve their food energy. But, come morning, they rev up and need to feed, so keeping a mess of Christmas lights on the feeder. Even a hand-warmer packet will work most nights—up to 7 hours, according to the Washington Department of Fisheries and Wildlife (WDFW).
Hummingbird nests are small. About the size of a golf ball, in fact.
Cats eat hummingbirds. So, try to provide the birds with flowers that are up off the ground or higher.
Toads eat hummers. Near my floating home on the Willamette River, we have a large pond that is adjacent to the parking lot. It is chock-full of toads. Many nights when I come home, the toads have staked out a particular path light, where they can sit and lazily catch plenty of insects without having to hunt. Hummingbirds have to drink a lot of water. That’s probably where the toads gets their chance to catch a hummingbird. I guess to Mr. Toad, a hummer is just a very big fly.
Hummingbirds are an easy and fun way to have moving color in the garden.