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Hummingbirds: How to attract them with nectar, plants

May 2nd, 2019 | Category: Animals, Food

by Grow Northwest

Hummingbirds are a beautiful little sight to behold. They can fly 25 to 30 miles per hour, dive up to 60 miles per hour, and flap their wings approximately 70 times per second. When diving, they can reach 200 times per second!

Hummingbirds eat nectar, as well as small insects, larvae, insect eggs and spiders. They love nectar-producing flowers, and stopping to drink at feeders.

A hummingbird visits a feeder. PHOTO BY CAROL KILGORE

A hummingbird visits a feeder. PHOTO BY CAROL KILGORE

It’s easy to make nectar at home, providing a healthy and digestible source of food for these small friends. You will need plain white sugar and water. Combine 1 cup of sugar with 4 cups of water in a medium pot over medium heat (or any ratio of one part sugar to 4 parts water; this is closest to the sucrose levels of the most popular flowers). Allow the mixture to heat for several minutes to dissolve the sugar, then remove from heat. Cool the mixture before filling feeders.

Store any extra nectar in the refrigerator. Do not use honey, molasses, dyes, or other ingredients. Use vinegar and hot water to wash your feeders regularly, and change the nectar in a feeder every few days. This will ensure the hummingbirds will visit and return for fresh nectar.

To learn more about plants that attract hummingbirds, try the Designing a Four-Season Hummingbird Garden class on Saturday, May 25. Instructors Sheila Pera and Skagit Audubon Society members will cover scientific facts about hummingbirds, garden design and plants that are a magnet for these beautiful birds throughout the year. The cost is $8. The class will be held 10:30 a.m. to noon at Christianson’s Nursery, 15806 Best Road, Mount Vernon. To register, call 360-466-3821.

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