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trey77

Do your hummers prefer flowers or feeders?

trey77
16 years ago

I have three feeders, a hummingbird garden, a honeysuckle vine on the fence, and pots of red petunias scattered around the porches. I have atleast 6 differnt hummingbirds visiting, but I only see them on the feeders. I have only saw one at the honeysuckle once, and one on a hosta. They come and fly around the petunias but never drink, they are ignoring my salvia greggii and other "hummer" flowers. The strange thing is that I see them on my neighbor's plants wich are the exact same as mine, thats how I got them is through cutttings.

I'm just interested in fiding out these birds habits in other areas.

Comments (22)

  • trey77
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    No the habitat gardens I have are totally organic, I have plenty of toads for pest control. I actually put rotting strawberry's in my garden to attract fruit flies for the hummingbirds to eat. As far as annuals, I have those red bedding salvias, petunias, impatients, and new guinea impatients. I think all the red is attracting the hummers to the yard but they quickly find the feeders. I have pots of petunias under all my feeders. It worked they found the newest feeder in about an hour after I put it up. I'm not complaining I'm just finding it curious that they are prefering man made to a natrual food source.

    I wish the songbirds would do the same and stop eating my berries and spend more time at thier feeding stations.

  • sqlguy
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well, water is a major attractant, particularly a mister. But then again, you've already got the birds present. I usually hear the reverse complaint, that they visit the flowers but not the feeders. This from photographers like me, who want a predictable place for the bird to come, or from folks who want the birds to come to a feeder by the window so they can watch more easily from a window.

    That said, why does it matter? Just curious.

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  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm having the same experience as you, Trey. At least, I think I am, although I should probably spend more time watching the flowers before proclaiming this for certain. The only hummer that I saw at a flower was this spring. It was a male at my bleeding hearts on May 2. He was my first sighting for the year, and my feeder was inside at the time for refilling. It might be interesting if you would take your feeder(s) inside and watch the garden and see what the little hummers do. You wouldn't have to do it very long because you wouldn't want them to abandon you. Just do it for a half hour or hour and see if that will encourage them to go to your flowers.

    I have maybe three or four birds (hard to tell since they come one at a time!) and I see them at the feeders all of the time. Meanwhile, in the garden, I have red petunias, native columbine (that has been blooming for weeks), Salvia coccinea, and annual impatiens all in bloom. I have tested all of them, and they definitely are all producing nectar. My Agastache "Pink Panther" has just begun to bloom, and my Agastache "Big Bazooka" should be coming along soon. My Monarda "Gardenview Scarlet," is also just starting to form flower buds.

    And yet, with all these flowers around in bloom, it seems like they're entirely or mostly coming to the two small feeders that hang in the window. It's a little disappointing because I have put money, time, and my back into expanding the garden, and yet they barely seem to use it. Again, I must admit that I don't watch the flowers for visits as much as I could. It's much easier to sit inside and watch the feeders. Since they come and go so quickly, I could be missing visits. It will be easier and interesting when the Monarda comes into bloom, because they are right under the window that has the feeders. I should be able to easily watch both feeders and flowers at the same time. There are also some oriental lilies and some orange daylilies that will be coming into bloom and will be visible from this same window.

    Here's one other thought that may be of interest. Late last summer was when my peach-colored trumpet vine first started to bloom. It frames our dining room window, and I was just delighted to see female birds and young ones visiting its flowers. So, to further encourage the birds, I decided to put out my first feeder. To my surprise, and slight dismay, they mostly abandoned the flowers for the feeder. My nectar mix late last summer included a small amount of soy protein powder, so I don't know if that made a difference in the bird's preferences, but I doubt it. I think the major reason might just be pure laziness on the birds' part. When they visit a feeder, they can get all they want from one visit. Flowers typically do not produce as much nectar, and it seems to me that the birds need to visit several flowers before they are filled up. The energy requirements of hummingbirds are so extreme, that I guess it shouldn't surprise us that they take the easy route by going exclusively to feeders. That's my best explanation.

  • ghoghunter
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I have a feeder right next to my penstemons and I have never seen the hummer visit the feeder. I can see both the feeder and the flowers as they are right in front of my window. I was wondering if there was any way of attracting the hummer to at least try the feeder. I guess maybe I shouldn't worry! I sure wouldn't want the hummer to abandon all the flowers I have. I know he/she uses the flowers. I don't always see the visit I do catch glimpses now and then. I am hoping after school lets out this coming Tuesday I will be around to watch more often to see him/her visiting. After going to all the trouble of getting the feeder and filling it I sure would like to see it used at least a little though!

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Perhaps I spoke too soon. Early this afternoon, I brought my feeders in for cleaning for about an hour. When I finished my post to this thread, I went outside, hung them by the window, and stayed outside to water my snapdragon window boxes. I was about 15 feet away from my native columbines and turned to admire them. Their graceful blooms were illuminated in sunshine, with a dark shady background behind them. How lovely, I thought. Too bad those darn hummingbirds won't visit them!

    Just then, (you guessed it!) in zipped a little female hummingbird and took a sip from several flowers. She had to fly underneath the flower and point her bill straight upward. How delightful! She didn't stay long, but she definitely used them. I think the fact that I had my feeders inside may have driven her to feed there, or maybe she's been doing it for weeks and I just never looked at the right time.

    She disappeared as quickly as she came, an amazingly tiny creature into a vast world.

  • birding_nut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    First off, in my experience with hummers (Ruby-throated included), petunias are not highly attractive. When I lived in NY, I never saw a hummer visit petunias over at least 6 years. That said, the honeysuckle should attract them as it is a reliable nectar source. But, given the fact you do not have a wide variety of nectar plants, they are most likely relying on the feeders as their reliable food source. In my yard, I have never seen the hummers go to the feeder I have up. I get Rufous, Calliope and Black-chinned hummers, although not in large numbers. The last two years they never visit my feeder. Instead, they visit the Penstemon barbatus, Croscosmia 'Lucifer', Red-hot Poker, Agastache 'Desert Sunrise', Agastache cana, Coral Bells, perennial Gladiolus, and Mondarda. Notice that these are all perennials, not annuals. Annuals, in my opinion, are visited far less than perennial plants. In fact, most good hummingbird attracting plants you find listed in books and on websites are perennials. Some of the better annuals are red bedding salvia, impatiens, and Nicotiana (flower tobacco).

    Don't forget, hummers are just like any other animal, they will exploit a good food source, even if it is artificial. Also, they may be visiting your flowers, but you just might not see it.

    BN

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I know I've already posted twice, and I don't want to hog this thread, but I did feel it necessary to comment. You mentioned, BN, that Trey does not have a wide variety of nectar plants, but I don't think you read the post carefully enough. You implied that Trey's garden might not be attracting hummers because of deficiencies in the offerings, but are not seeing that there may be more plants in Trey's garden that just didn't get mentioned. I agree that petunias are probably not all that attractive, and you acknowledged the honeysuckle, but didn't notice that Trey mentioned having "other 'hummer' flowers." Trey didn't say what. We also don't know how many plants Trey has. A huge patch of honeysuckle and Salvia greggii might not be a diverse offering, but it should still be highly attractive to the birds. I would think large numbers of these plants, or a large honeysuckle could still draw the birds away from the feeders--this, in spite of your experience that they always prefer quality, natural offerings over artificial sources.

    You do raise a good point that Trey may be missing visits. They do zip in and out very quickly. However, your experience notwithstanding, I have still noticed a tendency for hummers to favor feeders over flowers--and that includes quality offerings. That your hummers don't ever visit your feeder is rather nice, but incredible to me. It is not necessarily because you have selected hummer nirvana type plants. Perhaps there is something unattractive about the placement of your feeder, your nectar mix, or something.

    It would be hard to find a flower more attractive to hummers than my trumpet vine. It's a perennial, a native species, and provides huge amounts of nectar. In spite of this, the birds readily switched over to the feeders last summer when I hung them. If hummers are so attracted to natural sources over feeders, how do you explain this?

    This year, I've got (in rough order of blooming) Bleeding Hearts, native columbine, Impatiens, Agastache, Monarda, Cardinal Climbers, Lobelia cardinalis, and Trumpet vine. I also have possibly lower quality offerings like oriental lilies, snapdragons, geraniums, Dianthus, hostas, daylilies, zinnias, verbenas, petunias, and four o'clocks. It will be interesting to see if they abandon the feeders for the flowers. So far this hasn't been the case, but some of these flowers are not yet blooming. My bet is that although they will probably visit the more attractive flowers, they will still spend lots of time at the feeders. That's my guess. The foraging energy is lower for them at feeders, and that's why I think they use them so much.

  • sqlguy
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Could a toad catch a hummer? Yeech. I know that a mantis can.

  • trey77
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Ok wow, so it looks like there are alot of opinions thanks. Ok as far as the garden goes I have: a huge honeysuckle vine, two columbines, 3 cardinal flowers, a flat of red impatients, a flat of red bedding salvias, 4 new guinea impatients, 4 nicotiana, 3 salvia black and blue, 1 salvia greggi (unknown cultivatar hot pink blooms), 2 foxglove, 1 monarda jacob's cline, lots of petunias, 3 hostas, 1 texas firecracker, too many azaleas, some wild morning glory vines the birds planted, and tons of tiger and day lillies more for appereance. And a small birdbath I don't have a mister, but its on my to-do list.

    Anyway I'm not really into gardening just a few herbs and vegtables, but I love wildlife so I did all the work and I would just like to see the birds more naturally. I do enjoy them at the feeders of course but would love to get a few photos in the garden. I just added some parsley to the garden when I saw butterflies and now have two black swallowtail cats and I have lots of toads under the hosta foliage and placed some ground water and I can see a toad bathing every dry night. Also I planted a songbird garden and saw a scarlet tanager for the first time. So I am pretty happy its just hard to figure out these hummingbirds. I do have a feeling when the lobelia blooms I will have the action I'm looking for.

  • birding_nut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Trey, thanks for clarifying that you have other plants planted as well that are good for hummers. Time will tell if the birds will visit them. I guess the only sure way to get them to visit the flowers would be to remove the feeders or drop down to just one. One bird could end up dominating the one feeder forcing the other birds to use the flowers or at worst, go somewhere else. Or, just enjoy them at the feeder! LOL. I wasn't criticizing your selection of flowers, just wanted to point out that petunias are not visited often in my experience and may explain why they aren't visiting yours.

    Kristen, I was just answering Trey's question in the heading line. The hummers that visit "my yard" prefer flowers. I wasn't saying that was the case for all hummers everywhere. Sheesh. In NY, Ruby-throats would use my feeders even when good flowers (Monarda, trumpet vine) were in bloom. Here, I use the standard 4 parts water/1 part sugar solution in my feeders. Maybe it is the placement, or maybe birds here aren't as experienced with feeders. Hummers are just like other birds, if they become accustomed to an artificial but reliable food source, they take advantage off it. I would! LOL.

    BN

  • jenny_in_se_pa
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I agree with BN - I think patience may be the key. I have been slowly adding plants that are on the "recommended" lists and just from my last year's experience with just a few (bleeding hearts, "Red Prince" weigela, Goldflame honeysuckle, Mandarin honeysuckle, B&B salvia, Jacob Cline monarda, agastache "Tutti Fruiti", pineapple sage, heuchera 'Firefly', scarlet runner beans), I found what flowers they did go to and in my case, it was all of those to some degree. This year, they came early enough to go to my lilac and I have added many more plants (coral honeysuckle, Agastache rupestris, penstemon 'Starburst Ruby', Salvia guaratica 'Purple Majesty', Salvia microphylla x greggii 'Red Velvet', Salvia cocinnea 'Lady in Red' & 'Hummingbird Red', pentas, crocosmia 'Lucifer', and some annual vines like cypress vine, hyacinth bean vine, etc). As these bloom, I'll see what they like.

    In fact ironically enough, just as I was composing this message, a hummer flew in, went to the Salvia coccinea "Hummingbird Red" that I have in a windowbox right next to the feeder, dropped down just below that to the B&B and nectared on the couple flowers that recently opened on that, swerved backwards to peck at the couple blooms on my just-now blooming Agastache rupestris, rose up again and flew off to the east along my rail, taking a peck at an annual dianthus along the way (first time I saw the dianthus used). LOL! Everything I have is in containers.

    As I understand it, there are certain times of the day when the nectar in flowers is at its greatest and also certain ages of a flower that might yield the best nectar. Unless you have a hummer-cam recording them or have access like I do (balcony) to see them up close and personal, they may well be buzzing around the flowers more than you think. I always considered them using the feeder as a way to get water, with the bonus of some sugar for a quick energy boost as well. In fact, a number of us have posted in the past about how we have seen a hummie take long long drinks when there is fresh chilled sugar water in a feeder - especially on a hot day.

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I, too, was glad to hear a fuller description of Trey's garden. My only quarrel with you, BN, was that you didn't read Trey's post carefully enough and just assumed that Trey's offerings were inadequate, and then went on to describe your garden and all the wonderful plants in it. It seemed like you might be a little patronizing towards Trey, and I didn't like it. It seemed like you were saying, Trey's garden is inadequate, and mine is so wonderful that my hummers don't even bother with the feeders! I'm glad you clarified your thoughts on this, and I also realize that I probably overreacted. It's hard, sometimes to read tone into words on a page. I felt frustrated that your comments, although worthwhile, didn't feel like a fully responsive answer to Trey's question, because you made what turned out to be false assumptions about Trey's garden. As it turns out, there are lots of good hummer plants in Trey's garden, and it remains a mystery to me, why some of us (like Trey and me) observe hummers showing a preference for feeders over flowers, and others, like you, experience the reverse.

    It might not seem like it, BN, but I did feel that all of the information you shared was very helpful--including your experience with petunias, and the hummers visiting your flowers but never the feeder. Given my experience, though, it still does surprise me that your feeder sees zero use. I agree, too, that it's easy to miss when birds come to flowers. I would add, also, that it's relatively easier to notice them at feeders, which may account for observational bias. Trey actually might be getting more plant visits than he (she?) realizes. The same could perhaps be said in my garden, but doesn't account for my trumpet vine experience last year.

    You also raise an interesting point when you suggest that your birds might not be as experienced with feeders. You obviously live out west somewhere. Is it a rural or semi-rural area? I'm very close to Pittsburgh, so perhaps our hummers are more urban and feeder savvy.

    I agree that Trey might get more flower use if he (or is it she?) were to take some or all of the feeders away. The columbine visit I mentioned earlier, occurred right after I'd had the feeders inside for an hour.

    I hope you're not too irritated with me. I just felt the need to step in because I didn't think full communication was occurring.

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I, too, was glad to hear a fuller description of Trey's garden. My only quarrel with you, BN, was that you didn't read Trey's post carefully enough and just assumed that Trey's offerings were inadequate, and then went on to describe your garden and all the wonderful plants in it. It seemed like you might be a little patronizing towards Trey, and I didn't like it. It seemed like you were saying, Trey's garden is inadequate, and mine is so wonderful that my hummers don't even bother with the feeders! I'm glad you clarified your thoughts on this, and I also realize that I probably overreacted. It's hard, sometimes to read tone into words on a page. I felt frustrated that your comments, although worthwhile, didn't feel like a fully responsive answer to Trey's question, because you made what turned out to be false assumptions about Trey's garden. As it turns out, there are lots of good hummer plants in Trey's garden, and it remains a mystery to me, why some of us (like Trey and me) observe hummers showing a preference for feeders over flowers, and others, like you, experience the reverse.

    It might not seem like it, BN, but I did feel that all of the information you shared was very helpful--including your experience with petunias, and the hummers visiting your flowers but never the feeder. Given my experience, though, it still does surprise me that your feeder sees zero use. I agree, too, that it's easy to miss when birds come to flowers. I would add, also, that it's relatively easier to notice them at feeders, which may account for observational bias. Trey actually might be getting more plant visits than he (she?) realizes. The same could perhaps be said in my garden, but doesn't account for my trumpet vine experience last year.

    You also raise an interesting point when you suggest that your birds might not be as experienced with feeders. You obviously live out west somewhere. Is it a rural or semi-rural area? I'm very close to Pittsburgh, so perhaps our hummers are more urban and feeder savvy.

    I agree that Trey might get more flower use if he (or is it she?) were to take some or all of the feeders away. The columbine visit I mentioned earlier, occurred right after I'd had the feeders inside for an hour.

    I hope you're not too irritated with me. I just felt the need to step in because I didn't think full communication was occurring.

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Didn't mean to post that big long thing twice! Don't know how or why it happened!

  • birding_nut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    No problem, Kristen. I just wanted you and Trey to know that isn't how I was coming across.

    I live in a rural area on the edge of a medium size city. Most of my hummers that come through starting in mid summer are females or this years young I am presuming since I don't see any males. If I get a lot of first year birds, it could explain why they don't use or know about feeders.

    Interesting that Jenny brings up the point of nectar production. Even certain flowers produce nectar differently depending on if they are pollinated by hummers or bees. Penstemon barbatus (red flowered narrow tube) is designed for pollination by hummingbirds since large quantities of nectar are produced to satisfy the energy requirement of the birds, but is only produced once or twice a day. In contrast, blue flowered penstemons with wider floral tubes are pollinated by bees and the flowers release nectar in small quantities but many times during the day to facilitate cross pollination by bees. Thus, it is important to have flowers that have evolved hummingbird pollination syndromes in one's flower beds since they produce nectar quantities that the birds require and hence will be more attractive. Some of these are Penstemon, Cardinal flower, Mondarda (bee balm), Agastache (longer flowered varieties), Silene (catchfly), Columbine, etc. In addition, they are all native. I try to emulate this in my garden, but admit to planting some non-native perennials as well such as Tritoma (red-hot poker), Croscosmia, etc.

    BN

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Thanks, BN. No problem. I had a feeling you might be in a more rural area, and am wondering if this could mean there are fewer feeders, hence less familiarity for the birds.

    This year, I have at least one male coming, and at least one female. There could be more, but it's hard to tell. Last summer, when I first started putting sugar water out, I had at least four birds. At least two of them appeared to be immature males. I wonder if their mother showed them how to use my feeders, or if they figured it out themselves. As I mentioned before, they began with the trumpet vine flowers, but then quickly switched to feeders when I started putting them out.

    Here's a picture of the feeder. I don't know if the design is particularly attractive to them, or what, but it does have a giant fake salvia flower.

    How do I know if I have a longer flowered variety of Agastache? This is my first year trying them, so I'm not very experienced with them. I have a single "Pink Panther" which is just coming into bloom right now, and two "Big Bazookas" which aren't yet. My "Pink Panther" flowers are a little more purplish than that feline in the cartoons!

    I just went outside and measured the length of the flower. It is about 23mm from the very base of the flower to the tip of the upper petal. If you count the exerted stamens, maybe 25mm total length. Does that make it a long or a short flowered Agastache? Medium, perhaps? I'm getting silly, I know, but I really am interested. Our local perennial nursery had several Agastaches, and I didn't know which one to get, so I got two different kinds, figuring it would increase my chances of hummer satisfaction.

  • trey77
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm kind of proud of myself, my first post on garden web has this much intrest. Kristen, I'm a guy. Oh and I never thought Birding Nut was being rude, but thanks for coming to my defense. I'm actually happy he, you, and others are responding.

    Really the purpose of my post was more scientific to relate to the hummers behavior and I think we starting to get there a little bit, especially when we talk about urban vs. rural etc. I live in complete surburbia but not in a new development we all have decent sized yards with lots of trees and shrubs and there are natural woods and a stream in back. I think I figured the birds in mine and my neighbor's yard out for the time being. My garden is pretty new except for the azaleas, honeysuckle, morning glory and the hostas, but I always have fed the birds. My neighbor's garden is older and closer to the woodline. I believe the hummers nest by the stream and come up and visit thier flowers then come to my feeders and it could be a path they have been following for years. If I am correct when the young leave the nest they will be more curious and not know that my yard is the "feeder only" place and will love the garden especially when the lobelias start to bloom. This will also explain the humer that comes from the woods across the street, those woods are sunnier and have trumpet creeper, columbine, tiger lillies and a few other flowers and he flies straight to my front window then straight back across the street and probally does not know I even have a garden.

    As far as missing them at the garden its a possibility but I can find a hummer in my yard every 5 minutes or the neighbor's every 10. My garden is positioned so I can look over it from the deck where we spend lots of time. I often see the dominate male of the back feeder perch on a oak branch that overhangs the garden. He could care less about the garden but he has a great view of "his" feeder from there.

    By the way I really am now expecting to look out the window and see a swarm of hummers at every flower in bloom. Nature loves to prove me wrong.

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Yes, it is good to have this sort of interest, but perhaps a little less squabbling would have been good--I say, a bit sheepishly.

    The only other Trey I ever heard of was also a guy, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. The question remains, is BN a guy? I don't know of any non-female Kristins, and I am, indeed a gal. Isn't it nice we got all of that straightened out?

    I had a feeling there was more to your garden than you originally described, and from the beginning I suspected that's why you were so puzzled by the birds' behavior. At an earlier stage in the discussion I was frustrated that appropriate conversations were being missed in favor of the Trey's garden doesn't have much to offer hypothesis. I, too, am glad to see the discussion turn to analysis of behavior. A number of good thoughts have been expressed already.

    I figured your "other hummer plants" referred to significant additional plants, but even I was surprised by how much your garden has to offer. It also sounds like there are similarities between our gardens and where they are situated. The garden I speak of is actually at my mother's house in suburban Pittsburgh. Like yours, it's an old suburb, with lots of woods and streams nearby. Also, except for the trumpet vine, lilies, and daylilies, all of the hummer plantings are new this year--Agastache, Monarda, Aquilegia canadensis, Lobelia cardinalis, Salvia coccinea, Petunias, Verbenas (both annual and perennial), snapdragons, impatiens, and cardinal climber in a pot. Of these, only the Aquilegia, Salvia, petunias, verbenas, and Agastache are currently blooming.

    I wonder if Jenny's suggestion about patience may be in order for us. Perhaps simple habit is the key here, and it will take time for the hummers to get used to the fact that there are good, natural food sources in our gardens. Still, I think I may be onto something when I say that feeders are easy. Once the hummers have figured them out, they are like fast food. I hate to use that analogy, but I think it's apt. Feeders allow them to come in, feed, and get out quickly, with very little expenditure of energy. Feeders don't, however, provide the traces of extra nutrition that may be present in flower nectar. That is why it disturbed and surprised me last year when the hummers so readily switched from the trumpet vines to my feeders. It was nice having them at the feeders because it made them easier to see, but I couldn't help but worry if I were doing them a disservice, like opening a McDonald's. To combat this, I resolved to plant more flowers this year, and have done so. So far, I'm seeing the same thing as you--feeder preference over flowers. Interesting that when I took both feeders in for cleaning, and had them inside for an hour, I first saw the female at the columbine. Let me know if you decide to experiment with bringing your feeders inside. Are your feeders situated in your garden in plain view of the flowers? I couldn't quite figure that out from your description of you and your neighbors' yards.

    There also seems to be some difference in opinion about what we can expect from young birds and their behavior. On the one hand, with no feeder experience, you'd think they would be more likely to use natural sources. My experience, though, was that they, too, immediately abandoned the trumpet vine for feeders. I posted the picture of my feeder, because I wonder if the design is easier for them to acclimate to than some of the other types. I modelled one of them after a cardinal climber flower, and the other after a Salvia. Perhaps they're similar enough to flowers that it's simple for even young birds to catch on. Who knows. Maybe I'm a "victim" of my own feeder making skills.

    That said, it's awfully hard to arrive at conclusions about why these little birds do what they do. We could run years of carefully controlled scientific studies and we'd no doubt learn something, but still wouldn't be able to explain some of their behavior with certainty. I believe they are also capable of quirky, individual behaviors that are hard to analyze.

  • trey77
    Original Author
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    Well I have a feeder on a front window, a feeder at one side that I'm looking at now and a feeder in the back and the garden is on the other side with no feeder but the birds know its there because I see them fly by. Oh I'm in suburban Raleigh, NC by the way. What really started this is that I have 6 different feeders for the other birds as well and I have plenty of them, but they all prefer natural food over the feeders. There are always songbirds, finches, jays, etc. in the habitats I set up for them so I find it very intriguing how different birds act. The reason I have not put a feeder in the garden is I would really go crazy to see them at the feeder in the garden right next to the flowers. I feed the other birds the same I have plantings for them and feeders a little bit away.

  • birding_nut
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I'm a guy.

    And Kristen, the 23 mm long agastache blossom would be a long flowered one since it is pretty close to an inch (0.9). Mine aren't in flower yet, but I think my Agastache 'Desert Sunrise' has flowers about that long...definitely too long to be pollinated even by bumblebees, but perfect for hummers.

    BN

  • kristin_williams
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    I can relate, Trey. Imagine my frustration when I first hung my little feeders up last year, right on the trumpet vine. Until I hung the feeders, they were just buzzing around, happily feeding from the trumpet vine flowers. The flowers were so large that the birds pretty much disappeared part way inside. It was cute to see the way their foreheads got dusted with pollen. They turned out to be efficient pollinators, too, and I ended up with lots of big seed pods. Imagine my surprise to see them switch preferentially to the feeders, with yummy trumpet vine flowers just inches away. Go figure!

    Thanks for the feedback on the Agastache, Mr. Birding Nut. They certainly look like hummer flowers to me. The "Pink Panthers" that are just coming into bloom now are about 30" tall. The label on the "Big Bazookas" says they're more like 36-40" so I guess it will be a little while longer before they grow to their full height and begin blooming. I'll be keeping a close watch for any activity. Right next to the Agastaches are some Lobelia cardinalis, and from what I've heard, I have high hopes for them. We'll see. I'm finding it hard to predict the actions of these little rascals!

  • gw:deb_h_3-day
    16 years ago
    last modified: 7 years ago

    One plant that was very popular with hummers in a previous yard of mine was a Red Yucca. I've attached a link to a website that actually shows a hummer hovering near the flowers. The hummers in my yard rarely came to the feeder, but loved the yucca. This thread has reminded me of this and now I think I'm going to have to invest in a Red Yucca for my present yard.
    Deb in PA

    Here is a link that might be useful: Red Yucca