Best Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
Ruby-throated Hummingbird, Anna's Hummingbird, Black-chinned Hummingbird, Rufous-tailed Hummingbird, Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Long-tailed Sylph, Sword-billed Hummingbird, Bee Hummingbird, Giant Hummingbird
Hummingbirds are small birds belonging to the family Trochilidae, known for their iridescent plumage, rapid wing-flapping, and extraordinary agility in flight. There are over 300 species of hummingbirds that are native to the Americas, with the highest species diversity found in South and Central America.
Hummingbirds have the highest metabolism of any bird species, requiring them to consume large amounts of energy-rich food daily. Their heart rate can exceed 1,200 beats per minute, and they take around 250 breaths per minute while at rest. To fuel their high-energy lifestyle, they may consume up to 50% of their body weight in nectar daily.
They have a specialized diet that provides them with the energy and nutrients they need to sustain their high metabolism and active lifestyles. Their diet primarily consists of two main components: nectar and insects.
Nectar: The primary source of energy for hummingbirds comes from the sugar-rich nectar of flowers. Nectar is composed mainly of glucose, fructose, and sucrose, providing them with the quick energy they need to fuel their rapid wing beats and hovering abilities. Hummingbirds have an exceptional ability to digest sugar rapidly, which allows them to extract energy from nectar within minutes of consumption. They can consume up to their body weight in nectar each day to meet their energy needs.
Insects and spiders: While nectar provides hummingbirds with the necessary energy to sustain their active lifestyle, it lacks the proteins, fats, vitamins, and minerals that are essential for their overall health and growth. To meet these nutritional requirements, hummingbirds consume small insects and spiders. These make up a smaller portion of their diet, but they are crucial for muscle and feather development, as well as reproduction. Examples of insects they may eat include fruit flies, gnats, aphids, and small beetles.
Hummingbirds have also been known to visit sugar water feeders and eat tree sap, fruit juice, and even ashes and sand to obtain essential nutrients. However, these sources are not a replacement for their natural diet and should only serve as supplements.
Creating a garden that attracts hummingbirds can be a rewarding and enjoyable way to interact with these fascinating creatures. By incorporating a variety of nectar-rich plants, you can provide a valuable food source for hummingbirds while also creating a beautiful and colorful garden. Here is a comprehensive list of plants that attract hummingbirds:
Trumpet vine (Campsis radicans): This vigorous, climbing vine produces large, trumpet-shaped flowers in shades of orange, red, or yellow. The tubular flowers are filled with nectar, making them a popular choice for hummingbirds.
Coral bells (Heuchera): With their delicate, bell-shaped flowers on tall, slender stems, coral bells are a favorite among hummingbirds. The flowers come in various shades, including red, pink, and white.
Bee balm (Monarda): This perennial features showy, tubular flowers in vibrant red, pink, or purple hues. The fragrant foliage and nectar-rich flowers of bee balm make it a popular plant for attracting hummingbirds and butterflies.
While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.