All About Hummingbirds

Learn all about these swift flying visitors and how to attract them to your garden.

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

Photo By: Image courtesy of Peter Crosson

©2011, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Attracting Hummingbirds to Your Backyard

Hummingbirds are all around you. Although these fast, tiny birds are often difficult to spot, there are many ways to entice them to your outdoor spaces. Here a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird shows off his flashy colors.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird

Over much of the eastern United States, the Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the only species found. During winter months, these hummingbirds migrate to Central America.

In Constant Motion

Hummingbirds flap their wings up to 80 times per second. They are the only birds that can fly backwards and they have the highest metabolism of any animal.

Hovering Specialists

Hummingbirds can hover in one place longer than any other bird species. This makes feeding off of plants much easier than having to land on delicate petals.

Territorial Boundaries

Despite their size, hummingbirds are very territorial and aggressive when defending their space. Larger hummingbird species tend to dominate at feeders. Here a Rufous hummingbird (right) and a Black-chinned hummingbird tolerate one another at the feeder.

Largest U.S. Hummingbird

The largest hummingbird in the United States is the Blue-throated hummingbird (right) measuring an average of 5 inches. The average size of hummingbirds is 3 to 5 inches. The Broad-billed hummingbird on the left is approximately 4 inches.

True Colors

A variety of hummingbird species live across all areas of the United States. The males tend to be more vibrant than their female counterparts. The males have specialized throat feathers called gorgets that reflect light, creating a myriad of colors. Here a Magnificent hummingbird (left) looks much more spectacular than the Black-chinned hummingbird on the right.

Desert Hummingbirds

The greatest diversity of hummingbirds is in the Southwest. Here a Costa's Hummingbird perches upon a mesquite bush branch.

Feeding Time

Hummingbirds are naturally drawn to the color red. Thus many  commercially available feeders will have red bases. Hummingbird food is  sometimes tinted red as well. Here a Broad-tailed hummingbird rests between sips of sugar water. Try making your own hummingbird food.

The Imposter

Often mistaken for a hummingbird, this hummingbird moth mimics the movements and feeding patterns of hummingbirds.

Foxglove

Foxglove requires two growing seasons to bloom, yet produces lovely tall flowers that provide perfect food for hummingbirds.

Coneflowers

Also known as echinacea, this lovely bloom comes in a variety of colors. It is perfect for the middle of garden beds and is a readily self-seeding perennial.

Butterfly Bush

Butterfly bushes have brilliant plume-shaped blooms and attract a variety of butterflies and hummingbirds.