The drought that has gripped much of the United States is impacting hummingbirds as they begin their migration south, an annual event that usually goes from July to October. Once they move to the southern United States, they fly across the Gulf of Mexico to their winter home in Central America.
But their natural sources of food, mainly native wildflowers, have been hit hard by the drought that has hit many states. This means that they are in search of food and water sources.
You can help by providing these in your garden. Here are some ways to provide migrating hummingbirds with the food and water they need:
1. Plant flowers that attract the hummingbirds. Typically, these are native flowers that have the nectar that the birds are looking for. While they are attracted to red flowers, you donít have to limit yourself to red. The birds also like orange and yellow. Regardless of color, they like flowers that are tubular shaped. Just make sure to plant things that have plenty of nectar like salvia, bee balm, columbine, coral-bells, and penstemon.
An added benefit for other birds of the plants you grow is that insects are one of the biggest food sources for birds, so the plants you grow become a source of insects for them. The birds will help keep the insects under control. You will also increase the appeal of the garden for birds by eliminating the use of pesticides and gardening organically.
2. Put in hummingbird feeders, making sure to put several around your property because hummingbirds are very territorial and do not like to share feeders. And, because they like red, consider getting a red bird feeder, or add a red ribbon or red piece of material and hang it on the outside of the feeder so they can see it. However, avoid commercially prepared hummingbird mixes that have red coloring added to them, since they use artificial dyes that are not good for the birds. Instead, make your own, and fill your feeders with one part sugar and four parts water.
3. Provide a water source, preferably one that has movement, because the hummingbirds are attracted to moving sources of water. A fountain with moving water or a waterfall-type feature works well.
4. Create a place for them to find shelter. Even though they donít rest long, they do need a place to rest as they make their migration south. So make sure thereís a safe and covered area for them.