I know I have stressed the value of feeders and flowers to attract hummingbirds, but there are multiple things necessary in creating a perfect all-round hummingbird paradise. Once you've attracted hummingbirds to your garden with food sources, they will thoroughly investigate your entire garden. They will seek out trees, bushes, or structures to perch and rest. They will also search out water sources, one of the greatest attractions for birds, and yes, even hummingbirds. Water is an absolute necessity for birds. You may think that because hummingbirds drink nectar that they'd have no need for water, but that's not the case. Hummingbirds will bathe frequently if water sources are available. They take great pleasure in rain baths, where they'll perch on a branch and splay out the wings and tail to catch the falling rain, or even sit in a cupped leaf that's captured the water. Hummingbirds are much like other birds in that they choose a preferred time of day to bathe. My Ziggy would bathe 2 times a day, but early morning around 6:30 am was the most consistent time. I believe he chose times when all the other birds wouldn't use the fountain. Often times it was just above freezing by a few degrees when he'd show up and take advantage. The cold temperature of the air or water wasn't an issue for him. I managed to capture many images or videos of him making use of every feature of our fountain. One thing was always important to him - the water had to be 1/3rd of an inch deep or less. Those are the locations on the fountain that he trusted. If you have water sources in your garden, make sure you have flat areas where the water blankets the surface with some movement. Moving water gets their attention, whether flowing, misting, or showering. Shallow water allows them to touch the bottom with their feet in order to feel safe from drowning.
There are fountains galore out there that have features for hummingbirds with shallow areas, but if you feel creative and want to build one of your own, the hummingbirds won't snub your lack of professionalism. My fountain tends to change a bit each year, as I find new features to add to the project. Keep the shallow or slightly cupped ideas in mind as you build your fountains. You may find many small birds using your it as well as the hummingbirds, and trust me when I say this - you will be over the moon excited when you see a hummingbird using your fountain. And...just because you don't spot one at your fountain each time you look at it, doesn't mean they don't use it when you're not looking.
The water feature imaged has a deep rock about the size of a curling rock. It is hollowed out. The deep water allows every size of songbird to bathe. As the water fills the rock, it flows gently around the curve of it, and then flows back into the drum below it. This is only one of several parts of the water feature that is displayed. There are other flat surfaces with the fountain spout coming up the center of it to gently spill water over all the rocks. I have placed cupped out rocks in various places to capture water, and every one of them attracts bathing and drinking birds.
I can assure you that the amount of birds that start to show up in your garden because of a well designed feature will amaze you. Give it time to attract them, and they will return.
Ziggy, the adult male Ruby Throat hummingbird. N.E. of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. June 18, 2018.
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