For those that have attracted hummingbirds over the years, you know the value of hummingbird feeders. The mature birds key in on them because they are guaranteed to have an ample supply of nectar that mysteriously seems to never run out. The mature birds have had their whole lives to pick and choose between the limitless sources of food that blanket the continent. Their criteria will depend on a few factors - flavor, availability, and quantity. Over time they figure out which flowers are abundant and worthy of a second or even third visit. Because of their need for a large consumption of nectar and their characteristic ADHD, it doesn't take long to solve the mysteries of which flowers are a lifetime keeper. They also learn that after just a single visit, those feeders will top the list.
For young hummingbirds such as this one, color is like a candy land for kids. They are new from the nest, and those bright, brilliant colors that magically appear across the landscape will provide the addictive nectar that will consume the lives of every single hummingbird for the rest of their lives. In the early stages from the nest, every flower will get tested for quality control. Time and practice will eventually eliminate many flowers from the return list, while many flowers will get repeat visits and dominate their attention. Up until the time where young hummingbirds finally figure out the mysteries of the bright red feeders, the flowers will remain most important. That is exactly the reason for planting not just flowers, but top notch flowers that provide sufficient nectar worthy of making the return flight time and again.
For a shortlist of worthy flowers to plant in your hummingbird garden please go to http://www.therubythroat.com/flowers.html
This young Ruby-throat sat on the Clematis vine and stared into the newly oped Bluebird.
N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. August 16, 2018.
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