Wild Birds Unlimited – Omaha, NE

March 27, 2015

Fascinating Hummingbirds

Filed under: Uncategorized — wbuomaha @ 2:32 pm

00000964 (2)     Hummingbirds are one of nature’s most fascinating bird species to observe and attract to our backyards.  Most of us know that the hummingbird is the world’s smallest bird.  But were you aware that hummingbirds are able to fly forward, backward, shift sideways and even stop in mid-air?  Small, yet quick, hummingbirds can reach speeds up to 60 miles per hour with their wings beating 78 times per second during regular flight and up to 200 times per second during a dive.  The hummingbird’s heart beats up to 1,270 times a minute.
With this speed in mind, it is not surprising that an average hummingbird consumes half its weight in nectar each day.  Providing nectar is a great way to attract these popular birds to your backyard.”
Often referred to as “nature’s jewels” due to their beautiful iridescent colors, hummingbirds feed on flower nectar and insects, but also love a solution of sugar and water.  To attract hummingbirds, place a feeder filled with a sugar-water solution in your yard.  The solution can be made by combining one part sugar and four parts water and should be mixed well so the sugar dissolves completely.  Note that you should boil the water if you are going to make extra solution to store; allow the mixture to cool before filling your feeder, and refrigerate any additional solution.  Also, never add honey, artificial sweeteners or food coloring to the mixture.
Hummingbirds do not have a sense of smell.  They rely on eyesight to locate their food.  The color red (and its variations) is a powerful attractant to hummingbirds as a visual cue that food is available.  But never add red food coloring to the nectar solution.  Instead,  put the solution in a red – colored feeder, or a feeder with some variation of red at the opening.  Hummingbirds are bold creatures,
so place the feeder near a window to enjoy the brilliance of nature’s jewels up close.

Hummingbird Mint
You can supplement your feeder by creating a hummingbird garden with a combination of annuals, perennials and vines such as Beebalm, Beard Tongue, Butterfly Bush, Cardinal Flower, Columbine, Coralbells, Delphinium, Penstemon and Trumpet vine — that will also help in attracting these delightful birds to your yard.  Hummingbirds are also attracted to water.  By placing a mister in your yard, you may see hummingbirds dart playfully through the water, often bathing or drinking.
Eighteen species of hummingbirds can be found in North America.  Eastern Nebraska and western Iowa are within the breeding range for only one – the Ruby-throated Hummingbird.  We are on the western edge of their range, and this is by far the most common species in our area.

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