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Old 06-08-2012, 07:19 PM   #1
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Default Disappearing Hummingbirds

This was our first year putting out a hummie feeder and the next day we had a male. Then in a matter of days a handful where chasing each other off males and females, so I put up a second feeder. They didn't seem picky at all, like some birds. Just feisty toward one another.

I ended up back down to one feeder because we've got nesting Barn Swallows on front of the house and want to minimize any reason to go into the front yard. The Swallows have done this every year, but our activity drives them away. So far so good, we think they are now laying eggs as they only sit on it for short periods.

Well, Tuesday was our last day spotting any hummies. Should we just take down the feeder for the summer, putting it back up at migration or keep changing it out? I am not as familiar with these birds.

Oh, here is a picture of one of the little dears. I was standing about four feet from the feeder at the time. They are bold little things.
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Old 06-08-2012, 08:42 PM   #2
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I think instead of a feeder, plant natives that hummies like, like honeysuckle, cardinal flower, wild cloumbine. That will help them more then the feeder will.
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Old 06-08-2012, 09:36 PM   #3
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Great photo.

I don't usually put out hummingbird feeders as I don't want to have to maintain them. I'd much prefer to have enough native flowers to provide nectar for them throughout the season...but I'm not there yet. (Although this year my columbine, Aquilegia canadensis, is really starting to make a sizable colony...now I've got to spread it to various spots to have several colonies.)

Congratulations on the barn swallows...I'd love to have them here.

Anyway, I'm sure someone who maintains sugar water feeders will share some advice with you.
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Old 06-09-2012, 05:18 PM   #4
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Thanks for the responses. Yes, I'd like to get to that point of having flowers for them, but all we've got at this time are the cardinal flowers which are not in bloom yet. Besides this and the columbine, what other flowers will hummies take to? Especially for early in the season. Our first hummingbird arrived on May 11.
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Old 06-09-2012, 08:51 PM   #5
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Spreading Jaccobs Ladder, Honeysuckle., Passionflower ( not sure If its native to MN)
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:36 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birding Bunch View Post
Thanks for the responses. Yes, I'd like to get to that point of having flowers for them, but all we've got at this time are the cardinal flowers which are not in bloom yet. Besides this and the columbine, what other flowers will hummies take to? Especially for early in the season. Our first hummingbird arrived on May 11.
Yes, Lonicera sempervirens sempervirens, or any of its cultivars, will have them hanging out in your yard. Indeed, a couple of these plants with the normal amout of native plants that folks at this site grow, will have them nesting in your yard. i see hummers in my yard every day; it's rare when I don't see one or two.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Birding Bunch View Post
Thanks for the responses. Yes, I'd like to get to that point of having flowers for them, but all we've got at this time are the cardinal flowers which are not in bloom yet. Besides this and the columbine, what other flowers will hummies take to? Especially for early in the season. Our first hummingbird arrived on May 11.
Just today I looked out the window at just the right time and spotted a hummer at a lone Penstemon digitalis I added to the flowerbed outside the bay window. (I have more in various spots in the yard, but I can't wait to have large colonies of it.). So that is one that is blooming now. Another that comes to mind for early blooms is Iris versicolor. I'm sure there are many more, but my brain is shutting down for the night.
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Old 06-09-2012, 09:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jack View Post
Yes, Lonicera sempervirens sempervirens, or any of its cultivars, will have them hanging out in your yard. Indeed, a couple of these plants with the normal amout of native plants that folks at this site grow, will have them nesting in your yard. i see hummers in my yard every day; it's rare when I don't see one or two.
I just bought a Loncinera sempervirens this spring...no flowers yet, but I'll be thrilled to see the hummers at it when it does bloom (probably next year). I've also added another native azalea...and want more sheep laurel (I only have one). I want to add mountain laurel...and I can't wait until my Rhododendron maxima(s) get large enough to bloom. There are plenty of others I'll need to add, but jack has me exited about having them *nest* here! Now that would be exciting!

Oh, and aside from what I mentioned above, I think they go to blueberry flowers as well. So, think shrubs as well as wildflowers. I guess my mind is waking up...here is another suggestion for later in the year: touch-me-not/ jewelweed.
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Old 06-10-2012, 07:51 AM   #9
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Curtain ferns.............. hummingbirds use for their nests, Cinn fern comes to mind.
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Old 06-10-2012, 08:41 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dapjwy View Post
I just bought a Loncinera sempervirens this spring...no flowers yet, but I'll be thrilled to see the hummers at it when it does bloom (probably next year). I've also added another native azalea...and want more sheep laurel (I only have one). I want to add mountain laurel...and I can't wait until my Rhododendron maxima(s) get large enough to bloom. There are plenty of others I'll need to add, but jack has me exited about having them *nest* here! Now that would be exciting!

Oh, and aside from what I mentioned above, I think they go to blueberry flowers as well. So, think shrubs as well as wildflowers. I guess my mind is waking up...here is another suggestion for later in the year: touch-me-not/ jewelweed.
Yes, I agree on the jewelweed. Last year I moved some from way back where it is still, to my shame, adulterated with the likes of multiflora rose, etc and I dug up a few plants of jewel weed, making sure to water it diligently. Well, though I heard it reproduced at a prodigious rate, I never expected what I have found this year - entire swaths of the hedgerow are lined on the ground with jewelweed.

It hasn't flowered yet this year, but I know that these hummingbirds that I'm finding numerous here, will glory in that favorite flower. Plus, I don't mind the jewelweed being so prolific, as it is only replacing the creeping charlie that I was waging war with.

Dap, you are also correct about them nectaring at blueberry flowers. I've watched them go from flower to flower, and I imagine that, precise though they are with that beak of theirs, that they are also pollinating the flowers as they go.
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