Happy Spring! Here’s a re-post (with tweaks) from a couple of years ago. May the hummers and refunds be with you. 😉

~Kathy

Welcome to April 15th, that time in the U.S. where adults pore over forms, tax software, receipt scraps, and forgotten resolutions to keep better track this year.  Sitting in front of our computers is the last place we want to be, with the sunshine and cherry blossoms beckoning to us.  Sigh.

But April 15th makes me smile, and not just because it’s hubby who does the taxes. *waves to my honey*

In our neck of the woods (mid-Atlantic states), it’s time to put out the hummingbird feeders.  

Yep, they’re ba-a-ack!

hummer composite2

For those of you who’ve followed my posts for a year (or more…thank you!), you KNOW how excited I get about the hummingbirds returning.  If not, you can check out my post here, where I share pics and cool facts about hummers.  And, by the way, I actually took the pictures above.  Neat, huh?

There’s only one species of hummingbird that lives east of the Rocky Mountains – the Ruby-Throated.  Still, one species is enough, when you consider the effort these little guys are making in their twice-a-year migration between Mexico (winter home) and the United States (breeding area).  You have to admit that’s quite a trek for a summer visit, especially the part of the journey that involves a 500-mile non-stop flight across the Gulf of Mexico.

Have I mentioned how much I love hummers?  Oh, right, I did.  😉

To attract hummers to your garden, there’s just a bit more involved than filling the feeders with sugar water.  You have to set things up with a “hummer’s view” in mind.  I like to think of it as preparing a landing strip.  Instead of blinking lights, I use flowers, and I make the flowers visible above the fence line at both corners of the backyard.  Since Zone 7 in April is still a bit of a frost-risk, I put out only a couple of hanging flower baskets and place them near the feeders to get the hummers’ attention.  I’ll go back and fill in my garden later, in May.  (That’s why things look really bare in the pics below).

Here's the basket by the side fence...

Here’s the basket by the side fence…

Nice and close to the feeder.

Nice and close to the feeder.

This basket can be seen from outside the back fence.

This basket can be seen from outside the back fence.

Hummers are attracted to more than red; purple and pink are good colors to lure them, too.  They like the deep-throated flower shape – a good match for those long beaks – but they’ll try to sip nectar from any kind of flower, really.  And wow, are they parched after a long migration!  Can you imagine how welcome the sight of some nice bright flowers would be to a hummer?  Once they get that territory thing sorted out (which can be fun to watch, too), you’ll have regulars at your feeder all summer long.  As you can see from the pictures, I like to use both red and purple in my garden.  Hummers seem to especially like dipping into the petunias.  One of these days, I’m going to get a picture of a hummer doing that.

I typically don’t see one of these flying jewels for the first couple of weeks after I put out the sugar water, but who knows?  Maybe this year, they’ll surprise me.

For anyone who’s interested, here’s a link to a Spring 2015 Ruby-throated hummingbird Migration Map, with info on how to report first sightings to add to the map. Wow, they are in my area already! Better get my feeder up.

What spring ritual do you look forward to every year?  I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time,

Kathy

 

 

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