Few things are more relaxing than sitting at a window seat inside your home or outdoors on a garden bench and enjoying a natural scene. If you're like many people, you've become entranced by hummingbirds and would love to find ways to encourage them to spend more time in your backyard. Fortunately, it's easy to attract hummingbirds if you follow a few simple steps designed to create the type of environment that appeals to them. However, it's also important that the birds are kept as safe as possible -- it's not a good idea, for instance, to intentionally attract birds of any type into your outdoor living space if you've got outdoor cats that are allowed free range of your property. This is cruel because it places your feathered friends in danger.
Putting a loud bell on your cat's collar may provide birds with enough of an advanced warning to allow them to slip away from predatory felines, but keep in mind that unless your property is secured by a very high fence, neighbor cats may be attracted to your property if you establish a bird habitat. Following are three more things you should do if you're seeking to create a backyard environment where hummingbirds can flourish.
Plant the Right Flowers
Hummingbirds feed off the nectar of blooming flowers that they access through their long beaks and grooved tongues. Their beaks are designed to fit into funnel-shaped flowers such as trumpet honeysuckle, bee balm, fuchsia, and hummingbird sage. Stick with native varieties as much as possible, and make sure you plant species with different bloom times to ensure food sources during all parts of the season -- hummingbirds need to eat almost constantly to fuel their extremely high metabolism. Also, keep in mind that hummingbirds are attracted to bright shades of red, orange, and yellow.
Provide a Source of Clean Water
Hummingbirds also need a consistent source of clean, fresh water to drink as well as to bathe in. Hummingbirds are particularly partial to water sources that are equipped with misting devices. Make sure your water source is elevated high enough off the ground so that it can't be accessed by neighborhood cats.
Hang an Insect-Proof Hummingbird Feeder
Hummingbird feeders are particularly important during the spring and fall migration periods when natural food sources are low. Be sure to hang your feeders in the shade to prevent the sugar-water feeding solution from fermenting, and hang several of them in various parts of your yard. Choosing an insect-proof hummingbird feeder keeps insects such as ants and wasps away. Hummingbirds are losing habitats for a variety of reasons, so consider urging your neighbors to join in your efforts.
To learn more or to buy wasp-proof hummingbird feeders, contact a garden store.