Living in the Pacific Northwest we are familiar with the annual visits of the migratory Rufus Hummingbirds who come north for the summer. These fiesty little birds arrive in the spring – entertain us with their flight antics; have their families and when the nights start to chill they return on their epic journeys to warmer climates.
Flowers to Attract Hummingbirds
Each year we plant several varieties of fuschia, impatiens, and a few other colourful flowers to attract the hummingbirds to our yard. We also grow several trumpet vines and the ever popular Scarlet Runner bean, the flowers of which seem to be a major attaction for the hummingbirds. The beans flower over such a long period of time – as September draws to a close there are usually many bright orange flowers on the vines as well as full grown beans. We have always had a small bird bath with running water which is also a big drawing card for all species of birds and insects.
But the birds have flown for another year.
The Hummingbirds Story
A few years ago, after a month long vacation, we arrived home December 1st along with the snow and cold. Sitting at the kitchen table having morning coffee we noticed not one but two beautiful small hummingbirds flitting between the hanging baskets in the morning sun – feeding off the fuschias which had not died yet, and was concerned as we thought the birds had missed their migration!
A hummingbird feeder was made up and put outside immediately. The two small birds came right away and there began the most wonderful winter for us – they stayed in the big fir tree close by and several times a day came to feed and rest in our yard.
I put out fresh clean feeders every day – sometimes twice a day when the liquid in the feeders chilled and thickened. We took some photos and identified them as Anna’s Hummingbirds and were so happy to have them with us every day that winter (2010). They put on the most incredible aerobatic displays at high speed flitting between the trees and buildings. We had several feet of snow that year and temperatures went down to minus 17 celsius and these amazing little birds were such a joy to watch.
We had a small ‘lily of the valley’ tree outside our family room window and they would sit there in the sun – especially when the weather was very cold and wondered if the attraction was the warmer air close to the house.
Evidently there are approximately 600 pair of Anna’s Hummingbirds living permanently in this part of North America. It was sad when we sold the property and moved away. I consider our family as one of a privileged few to have shared in these fascinating birds’ lives.
- Personal observation: each year there seem to be less and less migratory hummingbirds visiting us
- Even with a small yard it is simple to grow flowers to attract hummingbirds such as scarlet runner, hostas, snapdragon, foxglove, trumpet vine, etc.
- Before we moved we asked our neighbour to watch for this pair next winter just in case !
- More information and how to identify Anna’s and and other hummingbirds
- Wikipedia on Anna’s Hummingbird
- Wikipedia on Rufus Hummingbird
I realized that If I had to choose, I would rather have birds than airplanes.
Charles Lindbergh, Aviator, 1902 – 1974