This Broad-tailed Hummingbird vigorously defends its new favorite feeder!
Do you love the sight of hummingbirds flitting about in your backyard? If not, you will after reading this article! In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about attracting these glittering beauties to your home. We will cover the different types of hummingbirds that can be found in North America, as well as the plants and feeders that are best suited for them. So get ready to bring some hummingbird magic into your life!
Which red-throated hummingbird is in my yard?
Depending on where you live, you have likely experienced a red-throated, emerald-backed hummingbird species that might be challenging to identify if you are new to the large diversity of birds in North America. Learn a few of the common species of hummingbirds of North America and where they are found!
The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is found in the eastern United States, southeastern Canada, and through the south-central provinces of Canada. The Ruby-throated Hummingbird's range reaches the eastern edge of the Great Plains. The range may be expanding north and west during the breeding season, and many more individuals are wintering on the Gulf Coast.
The western doppelganger of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the Broad-tailed Hummingbird. This montane species is found in the intermountain west of the United States, with a handful of records in southwest Canada. This hummingbird is found outside of the mountains during migration, but during the summer, your best chance to enjoy this species will be near the wildflower-laden mountains and meadows.
The Black-chinned Hummingbird is another common hummingbird of the west. This purple-throated hummer is found across the western states and southern British Columbia. However, during migration and wintering seasons, this little gem is found all over the eastern United States.
The final common hummingbird species is the Rufous Hummingbird. While the breeding range of this red hummingbird is restricted to the northern Pacific Coast states and provinces, its migration and wintering grounds are spread across the majority of North America.
Quick identification of common hummingbirds
The male hummingbird of each species is not difficult to identify from the others with a bit of practice. However, if you are looking at females, you might be in for a pretty big challenge (here is a good guide for the two)! The male Ruby-throated and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds are often confused by backyard birdwatchers, but a quick study of their gorgets (iridescent throat area) can offer a quick ID! The gorget of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is red with a black chin, and the Broad-tailed Hummingbird has a rosy-red to rosy-magenta gorget. The chin of the Broad-tailed Hummingbird is rosy-colored, leading up to white. The Black-chinned Hummingbird gorget is purple, though it can appear black based on your angle! The final hummingbird from the previous section is likely the easiest male to discern from the rest of the bunch. The Rufous Hummingbird is mostly orange and rufous, with a beautiful orangeish-red gorget.
Supplement your yard with native flowers for hummingbirds
If you want to attract Ruby-throated Hummingbirds to your backyard and garden, you should plant the native flowers that they love. These beautiful creatures are attracted to blooms with a lot of nectar, so make sure to choose plants that will provide plenty of sustenance for them. Some good options include trumpet creeper, cardinal flower, and honeysuckle. Not only do these flowers provide ample nectar for hummingbirds, but they also brighten your yard up!
Garner the attention of the Broad-tailed Hummingbirds by planting native flowers that this species recognizes and appreciates. Some of the native wildflowers that Broad-tailed Hummingbirds prefer to feed on include penstemons, red columbine, and larkspur. However, like the Ruby-throated Hummingbird, this species prefers red tubular flowers. Scarlet gilia is another favorite, though you may know it as scarlet trumpet.
Fill your hummingbird feeder with nectar
If you want to make your own hummingbird food, it can be done in a simple fashion. Combine four cups of water with 1 cup of refined white sugar. Gently boil for a brief time, then let the nectar cool before filling your hummingbird feeder. Surplus nectar can be stored in the fridge. NEVER use dyes or food coloring in hummingbird food.
If making your own hummingbird food is not an option, check out Birds Choice Hummingbird and Oriole nectar pouches. This is a safe and fast way to make hummingbird OR oriole food. Our hummingbird food comes in a resealable pouch of hummingbird and oriole nectar and contains nectar defender, a micronutrient that is already consumed by hummingbirds in their natural diet to keep the nectar fresh longer.
Regardless of the method you use to fill your feeder, make sure to monitor your nectar. During warmer temperatures, nectar should be replaced every 2 to 3 days, and it should be replaced sooner if the nectar has molded. During mild temperatures, nectar can hold for 3 to 5 days. Fresh nectar is critical to keeping hummingbirds safe for our vibrant visitors.
Choosing a hummingbird feeder
When selecting a hummingbird feeder, two considerations need to be prioritized: color selection and nectar storage capacity. Most hummingbird feeders are red, which is critical for attracting all hummingbird species. However, some hummingbird manufacturers will add yellow or white flowers to the feeding ports, which does not attract more hummingbirds, but these colors can attract insects like bees and wasps. The capacity of a hummingbird feeder can range from 72 ounces to as little as one ounce.
At Birds Choice, our hummingbird feeders come in red without the colored flowers that can attract bees, wasps, and other insects. Our design maximizes the attraction of hummingbirds while minimizing the attraction of undesirable insects. Additionally, Birds Choice carries feeders from 32 ounces to 3 ounces. Most hummingbird lovers do not need more than 12 ounces per feeder, as most food will spoil before being consumed.
Create a colorful space for and from hummingbirds!
The best way to bring hummingbirds into your backyard is by providing the right plants and feeders. To increase your probability of luring a hummingbird, first, learn which species are most likely in your area. Next, learn the habitats, behaviors, and preferred flowers of each species residing in your area. Finally, keep clean and freshly filled hummingbird feeders available as a supplemental food source for hummers wanting a quick drink! Combining these important ideas will ensure a yard humming with excitement!