Hosting hummingbirds

Luring hummingbirds back year after year

Credit: Carolyn Jones

Every year I welcome hummingbirds back to my flowerbeds

I’ve played host to two hummingbirds for over several years. Because they are so territorial, I have one feeder at the front of my townhouse and one at the back.

In winter, I keep the feeders thawed with a low-voltage light, wrapping feeder and light in aluminum foil. I saw the hummer arrive at this contraption, hover a bit as if considering what it was, and then settling down to feed as usual.

This spring, my “front” hummer nested in a large Pyracantha close to my front door. Wonderfully, a second female nested a few doors down in my neighbors’ Cornus kousa. I often lay in bed last March and listened to the pouring rain, thinking of her in her wee nest of lichens and leaves. She had one baby hummingbird, which fledges in April, after what seemed like forever.

Then they vanished, probably to the local park where there were plenty of flowers. Now she is back intermittently, checking out the fuchsias, Phygelis, Crocosmia and Eccremocarpus scaber that I’ve planted for her and her family. In winter it’s Mahonia ◊ intermedia ‘Charity’ that they like. And of course a clean feeder with sugar water sans red dyes.