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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Naperville Gardener – It’s spring and here come the hummingbirds


The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird is the only hummingbird of 325 hummingbird species that comes to the Midwest. To attract hummingbirds to your gardens, plant native flowers such as trumpet honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens), scarlet beebalm (Monarda didyma), cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis) and trumpet creeper (Campsis radicans).

If you want to put out hummingbird feeders, you must commit to cleaning them every few days or the poor little things can get sick. Here is a recipe for hummingbird nectar from the Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center. Mix one part sugar with four parts water and stir until the sugar is dissolved. You don’t need to boil the water, but heating the water helps the sugar dissolve faster. Do not ever add red dye! It will harm the birds! Let it cool and fill the feeder. Store extra nectar in the refrigerator. Again, you must clean the birdfeeder at least every three days.

Little known facts about hummingbirds

  • Only male Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds have the red throat.
  • A Ruby-Throated Hummingbird weighs about as much as a penny and grows to about three and a half inches.
  • A flock of hummingbirds has several names. Call it a “bouquet,” a “glittering” or a “shimmer” (they do glitter and shimmer in the sun!), a “hover” or a “tune.”
  • Hummingbirds don’t really hum. It’s the sound of them rapidly beating their wings more than 50 times a second that you may hear.
  • The feathers of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird’s gorget, or throat, have no pigment, so in the sun, they appear red, but in shade may appear black. Don’t be fooled like some less-informed bird watchers and add the Black-Chinned Hummingbird to your bird list! The Black-Chinned Hummingbird makes its American home in the west. So, if you see our hummingbird magically change its throat from ruby-red to black, that’s why.
  • Hummingbirds sometimes will hover right in front of you, which some feel is a sign that a loved one is near or that challenging times are over and brighter days are ahead.

May hummingbirds visit you soon!

News from the Naperville Garden Club

We are hosting a Plant Sale on Thursday, May 11 and Friday, May 12 from 9AM to 4PM at 9 S. 131 Chandelle Drive in Aero Estates. For details or any changes due to unforeseen circumstances, visit napervillegardenclub.org.

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Marilyn Krueger
Marilyn Kruegerhttp://www.napervillegardenclub.org
Marilyn Krueger is an avid local gardener and member of the Naperville Garden Club.


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