Guest Author - Sheri Ann Richerson
We all know that water has a way of soothing and refreshing us. We know that birds are attracted to water, but did you know that hummingbirds are attracted to water? Research has shown that although a hummingbird seldom bathes in the way a larger bird would, the sound of dripping water is still a definite attraction for them. What hummingbirds enjoy most is the mist surrounding the water. They also prefer to bathe by rubbing up against wet foliage.
It is truly amazing to watch them fly around in the mist with their tiny wings outstretched beating so rapidly you can hear a low hum. Sometimes these tiny creatures appear to be suspended in mid-air.
Creating a soothing retreat that will attract these fascinating birds is easier than you might think. The best way to accomplish this is to put up a mister specifically designed to attract hummingbirds, although you will find other birds that enjoy it too. Many of the small misters on the market are very discreet and do not require anything more than a garden hose connection and a couple twist-ties to use them. Positioning the mister so that the drops of water fall into a pond or bird bath will create a soothing sound that will help to attract hummingbirds. Occasionally they will splash around in trickling water or play in a stream of water. The more natural the setting, the more they will like it.
Choosing the proper plants is the next essential step in the planning of your hummingbird water garden. The top ten plants that attract hummingbirds are Salvia elegans (Pineapple Sage), Salvia guaranitica (Giant Blue Sage), Ipomea quamoclit (Cypress Vine), Justicia brandegeana (Shrimp Plant), Albizia julibrissin (Mimosa or Silk Tree), Lantana camara (Shrub Verbena), Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush), Hibiscus syriacus (Rose Of Sharon), Digitalis purpurea (Common Foxglove) and Cuphea ignea (Cigar Plant).
Other favorite hummingbird plants are Campsis radicans (Trumpet Creeper vine), Asian Lilies, Aquilegia Canadensis (Columbine), Pestemon, Pentas and Lonicera sempervirens (Trumpet or Coral Honeysuckle). I also noticed the hummingbirds in my garden being attracted to Lamb’s Ears when they were in bloom.
If you decide to put a pond in or use an existing pond, try adding Water Hyacinth, Cannas or brightly colored Water Lilies to your pond. Hummingbirds prefer red or orange colored flowers.
Although you may feel that adding a water feature to your hummingbird garden is not necessary to attract them, it does help. They truly enjoy playing in the mist and it helps to clean the pollen from their bills’ and feathers. Besides why would they want to nest elsewhere if everything they need is already in your yard?
The combination of a leaf mister, the proper plants for hummingbirds and a feeder kept full of fresh sugar water should ensure the happiness of your feathered friends as well as keep them coming back to your yard and possibly even encourage them to build their nest in a shrub or tree close by.